Solving the challenges of hybrid cloud computing

Businesses are increasingly opting for a hybrid cloud model, in which they use both their own virtualized private set up as well as systems hosted by other providers. There are a number of clear benefits, but also challenges, to this arrangement.

On the plus side, with a hybrid cloud setup companies have the opportunity to keep particularly sensitive data within their data center's own four walls, ensuring security, and allowing rapid system customization where required. Those same companies can push less-sensitive data out to a public cloud, allowing a host company to affordably handle spikes in traffic and manage some of the infrastructure.

Mitigating the challenges

There are also a number of issues associated with managing a hybrid cloud setup, and these require specific solutions. Firstly, businesses favoring a hybrid cloud need to be extremely clear how their public and private clouds serve them and what the differences are in the design. In many scenarios there are some significant disparities between businesses’ private and public cloud architecture and processes, even if they have taken time to carefully choose the most appropriate public cloud for them.

Having clear methodology and rules is important, allowing businesses to be as certain about how they manage their public clouds as they are about their own infrastructure. A strict adherence to common methodology such as ITIL can be very useful here, because this ensures that companies catalogue and manage their setup properly.

With the right management planning, businesses can ensure that they correctly configure a new cloud environment, whether it is public or private. As a result, hybrid clouds rely on clear best practice being set for creation, implementation, and changes or patches, with a strong library of production images. On occasion, some of these images will not work in both situations and it must be made clear to which clouds they can be applied.

As shown in this recent study, security remains of the utmost importance, and again the right management strategies must be in place. Clear policies and technology to support access control and data encryption need to exist across the company, covering the entire hybrid IT setup.

Indeed, all of the rules governing a typical public cloud setup must also be applied to hybrid networks, in addition to existing policies being applied to internal IT. These public cloud rules include ensuring strong terms and conditions with your cloud host, including for uptime, latency and security. Equally, while many public cloud setups offer high elasticity (the ability to increase and decrease bandwidth) this also brings potentially high costs, and it is wise for firms to closely assess any capacity that is unused.

How monitoring enables you to manage the private cloud

Public clouds, and therefore hybrid setups, can bring with them a certain loss of control for the IT department, especially if other departments are connecting to their own solutions. The IT department must remain an enabler of this technology, and retain control of important provisioning, network, security and technology management policies.

The only way that the IT department can properly succeed in these areas is when it is armed with the data to do so. Proper monitoring tools enable you to monitor how your hybrid cloud setup is being used, to check security and to enforce key policies.

Companies are wise to ensure they have real-time full monitoring, raising service desk alerts as soon as there is any outage, including on the public cloud part of their hybrid setup. This is particularly important for any customer-facing or business-critical sites or processes. It is vital that companies are not only able to repair their own infrastructure quickly, but when there is a problem in a public cloud that they can also ensure the provider fixes it fast and that an interim solution is in place.

Opsview's IT monitoring software offers companies an unparalleled opportunity to easily monitor and ensure the correct running of their hybrid setups. Simple and informative dashboards in Opsview clearly show business processes, event timelines, performance gauges, devices on the network, and the running of applications, the network, servers, virtualized private cloud architecture and public clouds. Opsview delivers clear, intuitive monitoring with easy to use functionality and rapid auto-discovery, as well as capacity planning and problem resolution, no matter the size of your business.

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