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Lessons from AWS: The Power of a Hybrid Cloud Strategy

Posted by Dan Ryan | 3/14/17 4:57 PM

On February 28, a simple typo from Amazon Web Services stalled roughly 150,000 sites for hours, hobbling countless companies around the world. The mishap hit brands like Airbnb, Business Insider, Expedia, News Corp, and many other major global companies, stalling productivity for those businesses as well as all those who rely on their services. To say the least, it was a rough day for AWS and the many, many organizations its services touch.

This monumental mishap brought to light a number of lessons for those businesses relying on the cloud for critical business functions. And as we shared in our recent blog post 5 Reasons the Digital CFO Loves the Cloud, 95% of businesses are using the cloud in some capacity (according to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud report).  

Following the incident, it has been brought to light that the source of the mistake was due in-part to the rate of growth AWS has experienced. Struggling to keep up with its explosive growth AWS has been unable to truly test its contingency plans, a fact that caught up with it with relatively minor (when compared to what the outcome could have been) consequences.

So, how can other businesses grow in the cloud, but avoid the risks? First and foremost, it’s important to understand the cloud is not a salve to heal all business challenges. It is a tool that simplifies a multitude of business processes. It makes life easier, but implementing the tools that exist in the cloud still require strategy and planning, which brings me to a key lesson from the AWS outage: One cloud strategy does not fit all and in many instances there is a benefit to not putting all of your eggs in the public cloud.

In this post I’d like to take a closer look at the power of the hybrid cloud strategy.

Public vs Private

To understand the benefits of hybrid, you first have to understand the pieces. So first, a few definitions:

  • The public cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, service, and interfaces owned and operated by a third party for use by other companies or individuals.
  • A private cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, service, and interfaces owned and operated by an organization for the use of its employees, partners, and customers.

The Hybrid Cloud Strategy

That brings us to the hybrid strategy. In a hybrid cloud (aka multi-cloud, aka blended cloud) environment, an organization combines services and data from a variety of models and service providers to create a unified, automated, and well-managed computing environment including public and private cloud setups.

There are several obvious benefits of this, the most apparent being that it’s generally a good practice to not keep all of your apps in one place, or eggs in one basket, as it were. To put that in the context of AWS, a public cloud service, more tier one applications running on a single vendor can reduce complexity, but also raise risk. It seems obvious, yet without a proper cloud strategy in place, simple, small details like that can be overlooked until they become a problem.

That’s not the only reason to use the hybrid approach. Variety in your cloud services can also ensure that your business critical processes are running to the best of their ability. Some clouds are better suited than others for a particular task.  For example, an enterprise cloud might be best suited for your top tier applications and can offer the right mix of hardware, software, networking, compliancy, and redundancy to optimize your fault tolerance and serve your workload needs. It can also leverage software-defined networks and direct connections to steer traffic to the fastest parts of the network.

So Which Model is Right for You?

There are a number of approaches to such a strategy, for example, ManageForce partner LightEdge Solutions offers a hybrid approach called Flex Cloud. Dan Kurtz of LightEdge Solutions explains: “Flex Cloud is a dynamic data center environment that provides a practical approach to migrating existing IT infrastructure to the cloud. By leveraging your existing equipment with strategically consumed hosted components in our LightEdge data center, a flexible path to data center migration is created.”

The multitude of options is why having an expert who truly eats, sleeps, and breaths the cloud on your team is of paramount importance. A cloud advisor can assist with planning your cloud footprint, migration, governance, and management strategy to match your needs with the appropriate solution, then ensure proper redundancy and compute federation are in place and managed so that cost and complexity do not rise.  You need a partner that can bring the people, processes, and tools (cloud management apps) to handle that.  

Many cloud vendors get tightly focused on specializing in a particular type of cloud offering.  If your cloud migration strategy has hit a wall because your current application environment isn’t a good match for your vendor, it’s time to find an experienced migration partner that can bring the appropriate cloud solution together for you with full service dedicated support.

We’d love to learn more about how we can help you develop a cloud strategy that can get your business on the road to success. Schedule a free 15-minute cloud consultation today: ManageForce Consultation

And learn more about how ManageForce can help you with all of your cloud operations in this complimentary brief: 

Download our Cloud Services Brief


Topics: Cloud Strategy, Cloud

Written by Dan Ryan


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