Six Steps to Building a Successful Hybrid Cloud

By: PK Saji, Vice President, Delivery and operations of Tata Communications’

Cloud is impacting businesses at all levels. Users want access to the latest cloud apps; developers want the latest cloud development tools; the Board wants to see a cloud IT strategy reduce cost and optimize time-to-market; and IT wants to take advantage of cloud-based infrastructure to meet these demands. With so many competing needs and platforms to integrate, the risk of things going wrong in the migration is increasing.

In one of our recent blogs, we highlighted an impressive statistic stating that 93% of organisations use cloud services in some form today and this is growing! According to recent Forrester Research, 59% of respondents are adopting a hybrid cloud model.
One of the big challenges facing IT teams today is building the right cloud migration strategy and avoiding the risks of it going wrong, which can result in technical difficulties, downtime, reputational damage, security threats and data protection issues. Not only do IT teams need to choose the right tools – they must make the right plans and decisions to succeed. IT teams need to be aware of the factors that can derail a migration project and know how to avoid them.

As Gartner states: “Any cloud migration decision is an application or infrastructure modernization decision and needs to be approached in the broader context of related application portfolio management and infrastructure portfolio management programs.”

So, how do you minimize these risks and making sure it’s a successful transition?

Start with the big picture
Look at the business strategy, the present and future workloads. You will typically find that legacy infrastructures don’t have very good application zoning. This requires analysis of existing workloads and, more importantly, anticipating business expansion needs to ensure the right choices are made.

Consider all the platform technology options

When it comes to platform selection, you have lots of options. For example, some workloads fare better on VMware, some are better suited to Hyper-V and some to KVM. We believe it’s important that service personnel work closely with the application team to suggest multiple options and help the customer make the optimal choice.

The right tools for the job

The biggest challenge you need to consider next is business disruption. Regardless of what platform you’re moving to, the data conversion and migration will always be a challenge. You can use various tools to ensure a seamless transition and the tool you select will depend very much on the application. This decision shouldn’t be made lightly and needs to be informed. Explore all the available options to find the best choice that avoids downtime and any data conversion issues.

Connecting with end-user needs

Cloud deployments can fail because little or no consideration is given to how end-users interact with it. Thought needs to be put into how you provide a ‘uniform and easily updated business-facing tool’ and this starts by understanding the needs of the business units that will be using it.

Continuous refinement

It is important that the build teams with a detailed understanding of your platform continue to manage it. Then if you encounter live service problems, they can transition their knowledge into the new environment. This should be supported by continuous service improvement. For example, if there is an incident or problem, then the management of these issues, by default, will result in improvements being made.

Supporting the enterprise beyond the initial journey

Once your hybrid cloud platform is in place you need to extract management information that works across the whole organization. For example, when considering IT, one might include current initiatives being worked on as well as innovations that are happening in the industry. Business leaders want to see that they are getting return on investment (ROI) and have the optimal solution for the business. So again, we share different management information.
To summarise: for a successful transition to the cloud, you need to have the right technology, processes and people in place as well as a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude.

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