How to Get Started With Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud holds significant promise: unprecedented scalability, the flexibility to keep data and applications where you need them, and it’s more cost effective than public or private cloud alone. There’s also a lot of hype around it, so, it’s hard to know where to start with hybrid cloud. We’ll look at a few ways IT organizations can build early success with hybrid cloud.

You want quick wins when you’re investing in any new platform. Start by looking for data and applications with a low transition cost and clear benefits. Some of the immediate benefits that you can get with hybrid cloud: lower data access costs, better performance than cloud, stronger security and compliance, and a single namespace for your data.

There are some clear places to start: Production applications and data, pre-production (e.g. development, QA), BC/DR, or archival data are all potentially strong candidates for hybrid cloud if you can streamline a business process or reduce costs. The same holds true for overall workflows that benefit from having the flexibility to run in multiple locations — such as DevOps or data analytics.

Here are four specific areas where it’s easiest to get started with hybrid cloud and see it pay off quickly:

  1. Long-term Archive or Backup Data

Hybrid cloud makes an ideal target for backup/archive data, thus resolving the perennial data management challenge: the cost and complexity of data protection. The hardware costs often don’t seem that bad, but backup and archive processes have high overhead, are inefficient and very complex.

While tape is low cost — at least for the hardware — it don’t solve the complexity problem, and is notoriously difficult to use in a recovery or compliance request. And if you have data spread across multiple sites, the problem gets much worse.

Hybrid cloud lets you eliminate the complexity and inefficiency of backup and archive. A single namespace means you have a single backup target, but the infrastructure is distributed across both on-premise and cloud datacenters for better capacity management, speed of data transfer and recovery, and resiliency. It also lets you keep more recent data accessible on-premise, reducing the costs of data retrieval from the public cloud.

And best of all, hybrid can be implemented as a drop-in: the most popular backup solutions now support the needed connector out of the box. Veritas, Commvault and Rubrik all have S3 interoperability, which means you can easily select a hybrid cloud as a backup target.

A note on how to configure Veritas NetBackup with Cloudian can be found here.

Hybrid cloud is perfect for: archive versions of application data, backup retention, and storing compliance data.

  1. Data Analytics

Everything from IT system event logs to sensor data or transaction data from retail stores gets collected on-premise. The data needs to be analyzed, the results shared with distributed teams, and the original data itself stored for reference.

Instead of building out additional on-premise infrastructure to support analysis and long-term storage, consider using the compute scale of public cloud to run the analysis and the cost-effective archival storage services to retain.

Here again, solutions are available out of the box: Hadoop and Apache Spark have long supported the S3 API, providing easy access to hybrid cloud storage.

A note on using Cloudian with Hadoop can be found here.

  1. Content Distribution

Media, oil and gas exploration, chemical, engineering, pharmaceutical and many other industries develop large project files and other content that need to be shared with global teams. A hybrid cloud makes it easier for you to take content produced at one location and leverage cloud infrastructure to create an efficient distribution network.

Casale, a chemical research firm, uses hybrid cloud to store terabytes of data and share project content from its headquarters in Switzerland with users around the world. A case study on this deployment can be found here.

In addition, many popular media asset managers support the S3 API, such as Adobe, Elemental, and VizRT. A solution brief on media applications can be found here.

  1. Data Access for Remote Offices

If you have branch offices, chances are you have local SAN or NAS at each one, and replicate files from corporate or regional headquarters. As your overall data footprint grows, this gets to be less and less efficient.

A hybrid cloud lets you use private cloud to store data at larger offices and extend that storage infrastructure to remote sites just about anywhere in the world by leveraging public cloud access points. This gives you the economics and scale of cloud for all sites with a single namespace for your corporate data, and lets you finally phase out SAN and NAS systems — not to mention the secondary and backup storage tied to them — at remote sites.

Look for Quick Wins

Recent surveys show that hybrid cloud storage is picking up steam. Since hybrid cloud is still evolving, look for opportunities where you can streamline an existing workflow, reduce infrastructure costs and see quick a quick return on your investment.

Once you’ve proven out hybrid cloud in one or two areas, you’ll be able to extend the benefits across your organization.

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