hybrid cloud

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How can businesses avoid the complexities of the hybrid cloud?

While the public and private cloud models both have their strengths and weaknesses, the hybrid cloud model is now being the preferred choice for most organizations today, especially for those dealing with sensitive data.

As adoption rapidly grows, Gartner predicts that global end-user spending on public cloud services alone is expected to exceed US$ 480 billion by next year. Gartner also predicts that public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending by 2026.

In the Asia Pacific, the cloud has emerged as a core foundation of renewed tech focus. IDC reports public cloud services spending growth of over 38% to US$ 36.4 billion in 2020. China will be the largest market for public cloud services in 2020 amounting to 53.4% of Asia Pacific’s total. Australia and India will be in second and third place respectively in terms of cloud spending in the region driven by fast adoption across enterprises and the presence of major global cloud providers of this technology in the region.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian region is also seeing increased cloud adoption. According to Catherine Lian, IBM Malaysia Managing Director, the growth of the cloud computing market in the ASEAN region is mainly driven by the fact that it costs less, coupled with the greater awareness of data security and the underlying technology.

“In terms of cloud migration, at IBM we see Malaysia’s enterprises are moving in tandem with other peers. The number of initiatives by the government ensures that Malaysia is seen as a ‘cloud-first nation, not only from an infrastructure perspective but also in terms of associated policies, standards, and best-in-class talent pool,” said Catherine.

Referring to an IBM survey, Catherine added Malaysian respondents said that 19% of their IT spend is allocated to the cloud and they plan to increase the share of spend on a hybrid cloud from present 36% to 46% by 2023. Enterprises in Malaysia need an application development platform that can run on any cloud, workloads that can execute seamlessly across multiple clouds, and a comprehensive orchestration capability that spans across clouds.

The complexity of the hybrid cloud

With organizations embracing both a hybrid and multi-cloud framework, they need to adopt a unified approach to manage their cloud’s performance. This allows organizations to keep established IT in place, while also benefiting from the flexibility and agility provided by new cloud capabilities.

“Organizations today deal with complex IT environments that have data and workloads scattered across clouds, and applications that range from traditional monolithic to cloud-native to containerized. Some are struggling with harnessing the full capabilities of their cloud environments and a lot of application modernization programs are stuck. Legacy is one of the major changes that organizations face on their journey to hybrid cloud and how to modernize services,” explained Catherine.

Catherine highlighted that the best approach for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments depends on several factors including security, governance, and orchestration. She added the best approach to workload deployment is on an application-by-application basis, and enterprises must consider unique security requirements, application characteristics, and dependencies in addition to the users, targets, and audiences.

Apart from that, modernizing the IT infrastructure that applications run on is also an important piece of the puzzle. Instead of simply moving applications from one environment to another, modernizing infrastructure and application architecture can create better access, control, and communication between workloads.

A successful digital transformation means that the mission-critical applications must be running and fully integrated with newer cloud-native applications, utilizing technology like machine learning and AI to streamline processes and deliver real business value. They need to know how to build a fully harmonized and integrated approach to ensure communication among applications.

Avoiding the pitfalls of the cloud

“A hybrid cloud architecture is a better approach as it will allow organizations to access innovation wherever they can find it so they can draw innovation from different platforms. As an open architecture, it will allow them to have a single integrated fabric across traditional, private, and public. It enables them to have a consistent security, and a consistent operating model. This architecture is really an important part of what the choice needs to be successful around the cloud,” said Catherine.

At the same time, organizations need to choose the right partners in this transformational journey which is far from easy. Catherine believed that many cloud projects failed because they were led by an organization that lacked skills and products in terms of hardware infrastructure (compute, network, and storage), an organization with no experience in legacy applications, or an organization that did not know new operational aspects introduced by the cloud computing model and how such aspects influence the existing enterprise operations.

Operating a hybrid cloud also means organizations will have to keep track of multiple vendors and platforms and manage them between two computing environments. This is, of course, doable. They simply need to have clear workflows and processes and a solid team of managers and administrators to coordinate vendors and services and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Organizations can establish tools to manage their hybrid cloud in real-time and discuss options with their cloud partner to see how these tools work before they migrate critical workloads that are vital.

With data growing exponentially and customers demanding better services, organizations need to be sure their cloud services can ultimately deliver that. The hybrid cloud prioritizes workloads based on the organization’s need, be it on-premise or in the cloud. Understanding how it works best for their workloads and having the right infrastructure in place will only make things easier for businesses.