In a fast-changing digital world, hybrid cloud has become an extremely popular option as it gives enterprises the ability to gain the best of both worlds–on-premise and public cloud. This model uses both on-premise and public cloud models to store data and applications, while simultaneously allowing organizations to take advantage of new opportunities at a lesser cost. As more choice is offered to enterprises by multiple cloud providers, hybrid cloud adoption is expected to increase further. Research firm, Gartner, for instance, predicts that by 2020, 75% of organizations will have deployed a multicloud or hybrid cloud model.
That said, hybrid cloud poses a unique set of challenges for enterprises. A hybrid IT infrastructure consists of multiple and sometimes disconnected IT infrastructures, which can cause service disruptions. Enterprises also need to have a proper governance framework to ensure that processes are standardized and tools for monitoring and governance can work across multiple cloud providers and on-site platforms. This is critical for ensuring easy and reliable access to on-demand services besides ensuring scalability and elasticity. In hybrid IT environments, there is also a challenge for seamless data integration across the on-premise data center and the cloud service provider.
Why managed data centers are critical
As data centers keep on growing in scale and complexity, it will increasingly become difficult for enterprises to manage them cost effectively. To handle the increasing complexity, enterprises are preferring data center models that can be deployed, managed or monitored by a third-party data center provider or Managed Service Providers (MSPs). MSPs can help in deploying, managing or monitoring hybrid IT infrastructure effectively while delivering better reliability and performance.
Some significant benefits include:
Maximizing availability and efficiency: By deciding to outsource to an MSP, enterprises are better placed in trusting their IT assets to IT professionals who are well experienced in the latest technologies to implement best practices to take utilization and efficiency to a different level.
Easy monitoring: MSPs can help enterprises get clear and transparent visibility of their data center infrastructure across multiple clouds and on-premise infrastructure and networks. This may include management of servers, operating systems, storage systems and networks. Service providers assign dashboards for clients that can help them have complete visibility with respect to network connectivity, data center, server or storage.
Simplifying migration: For most enterprises, migrating a server from an on-premise data center to the cloud is a big challenge, as this depends on factors such as the applications involved, time to migrate, impact on the business, and the size of the data to be migrated. MSPs follow well-defined templates and have the experience and capability to move data and applications without service interruption.
Managing complexity: In a multicloud environment, enterprises need to test the applications in both on-premise and cloud environments. MSPs can use the latest tools and techniques to ensure that applications work in both environments. MSPS are also well-placed in handling complexity with respect to integration and deployment.
Ensuring agility: The digital age requires firms to ensure that the IT function helps enterprises launch new initiatives or business models. MSPs can help enterprises in quickly launching new applications on the cloud, while maintaining the hybrid IT environment that runs core applications and workloads.
Ensuring compliance: While regulatory and compliance issues are one of the most common reasons for considering a hybrid cloud option, several enterprises have a challenge in ensuring compliance according to different regulatory standards. For example, for adhering to GDPR compliance, enterprises may decide to store information about European Union residents in a specific data center in the region, while choosing to store other data in a different public cloud. As MSPs work with multiple clients and are constantly updated with respect to policy issues, an MSP can help enterprises in minimizing the risk for storing sensitive information.
Proactive security: In the case of a hybrid IT environment, as data moves in between on-premise and cloud-based platforms, it increases the risk to data. With adequate experience and trained professionals, MSPs are well-placed to proactively address all possible and potential vulnerabilities at every access point across on-premise and cloud environments. MSPs also regularly review security policies and ensure that software updates and patches are applied regularly. MSPs can also help in providing a single sign-on solution to bring about a consistent user experience for both on-premise and cloud-based applications.
By Nitin Mishra, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer, NTT-Netmagic