Post-Covid, enterprises should capitalise on hybrid cloud

Aju Sebastian | Updated on July 29, 2020 Published on July 29, 2020

The hybrid cloud environment provides security for mission-critical workloads, elasticity for delivery, and high performance to match the ever-growing need for constant innovation

Benjamin Franklin, inventor and scientist among many other things, famously remarked: “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” Enterprises across the world today face an unprecedented crisis, something that they cannot sidestep. What if they can see this adversity as an opportunity to amplify collaboration horizontally across their business units and functions; to eliminate data silos that obstruct data movement and sharing; and to make their numerous data repositories and systems talk to each other? All this can be made possible with a modern hybrid multi-cloud architecture.

The post-Covid world presents an opportune time for those enterprises that have not yet moved to a hybrid cloud architecture. A shift to the hybrid cloud provides security for their mission-critical workloads, elasticity for delivery, and high performance to match the ever-growing need for constant innovation. For large enterprises, adoption of a hybrid cloud strategy allows them to customise their framework and deploy a model that best serves their business objectives, critical workloads, and future initiatives to serve their customers even better.

For enterprises looking to keep their data protected and private even as they meet the demand for business agility, a hybrid cloud would be a perfect choice. However, to be an agent of change, choosing the right technologies is highly crucial. What are the hybrid cloud technologies enterprises should consider as they plan their environment?

Building a hybrid cloud

To enable innovation and avoid the pitfalls of vendor lock-in, enterprises should embrace open-source software like Linux. For virtualisation and orchestration to package their applications with their software dependencies and to accelerate development and deployment, they can look at technologies such as containers and Kubernetes. When it comes to an infrastructure-independent common operating environment that can enable the portability of applications across hybrid cloud environments, they can look at open-source Kubernetes platforms like Red Hat OpenShift.

Open-source and security should be the two most important priorities when enterprises want to bring their hybrid cloud strategy to life.

While building hybrid clouds, as a precursor, enterprises need to put in place cost optimisation mechanisms, ensure security, and manage complexity.

Cost optimisation: Budgetary constraints can restrict the plans enterprises may want to pursue. While transformative change is not free, there are cost-saving efficiencies that enterprises can leverage with a hybrid cloud environment. More importantly, enterprises should use open-source to minimise software costs and avoid lock-in to cloud vendors, drive application mobility through containers and Kubernetes, optimise workload location choices for efficient execution, and reduce system administration costs through reliable, scalable centralised systems.

Ensuring security: Enterprises simply cannot compromise when it comes to the security and privacy of data and customers. They need a secure hybrid cloud that protects them from various existing and emerging threats while making them ready for data explosion and enabling regulatory compliance. However, not all vendors may use a secure-by-design approach. Hence, they need a secure hybrid cloud, which encrypts 100 per cent of the data, both at rest and in-use and protects, stores encryption keys, and localises data on-premises in a private cloud to meet privacy regulations. The hybrid cloud must also secure application environments to run trusted workloads and extend data privacy beyond the host server and across the cloud.

Managing complexity: To enable collaboration across the board, enterprises should consider investing in infrastructure-independent common operating environments that run anywhere, from the data centre to multiple clouds to the edge. Enterprises should consider building cloud-native applications using multi-architecture containers and deploy across them the hybrid cloud using Kubernetes. Above all, they should leverage multi-cloud management to ensure the best use of resources and gain from the many benefits of hybrid cloud deployment.

Hybrid cloud benefits

A hybrid cloud environment gives enterprises the choice of how and where data is stored within their organisation and enables the protection of data wherever it resides. It empowers enterprises to rapidly deploy applications to match customer demands and exploit business opportunities thus making them agile. A hybrid cloud environment allows the development of new cloud-native applications using containers, so they can be hosted on the private and public cloud. Deploying such applications using Kubernetes can help enterprises manage cloud complexity while minimising cost.

Another key benefit is that it removes data silos so that the core business data and applications can fuel new development and surface new insights across the business. It facilitates an optimised placement of workloads and sharing of resources, thereby minimising predictable costs such as a data centre, software purchases, and licensing costs and the cost of supporting spikes in demand.

A modern hybrid cloud perfectly aligns with the future of work in the post-Covid world as it empowers employees, spurs innovation, and enables transformational projects during a time when change is constant. A hybrid cloud strategy is a huge advantage for data-driven enterprises and with the right team, goals, and solutions in place, they can benefit from cost reduction, simpler data management, and faster time to market. Simply put, it is time for the hybrid cloud.

The writer is IBM Cloud Platform Leader, IBM India/South Asia

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Published on July 29, 2020
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