There is a massive shift happening to hybrid cloud services. Firms enjoy mixing and matching on-premises systems, private cloud resources, and public cloud services.
More firms are discovering they don’t have to trash their old systems just to enjoy using new cloud apps. They can have both through hybrid integration. Hybrid cloud approaches can provide good cost savings, scalability, flexibility, and control.
You don’t have to put your confidential files or sensitive information in the cloud, either. Hybrid integration can let you use secure on-premises systems alongside cloud apps.
Hybrid integration brings together data from diverse sources as a seamless resource. Sources may include:
- Your company’s on-premises systems (often, data centers behind the firm’s firewalls.)
- Your company’s private cloud services.
- External, public third-party cloud services.
- Edge computing systems—distributed IT systems that process data at the network’s periphery, near the source. They differ from traditional computing, which transports all data to a central data center and processes it there.
Why optimize hybrid integration?
1. Create the best possible data service
To optimize means to make something as good or effective as possible. So, the first reason to optimize any hybrid integration is to ensure your people get the best use from the systems you are bringing together.
Is the new system user-friendly? Is it quick, easy, and accurate? Is it delivering the information you need in a better way than before?
An optimized integration will help make it happen.
2. Control costs
An excellent reason to optimize is to avoid overspending on entirely new systems. You can economize by using what you already have, in tandem with selected new systems or components.
Also, in the drive to digitize and modernize systems, there may be hidden costs. For example, in the haste to have a hybrid solution, you might overspend by buying more cloud computing capacity than you need.
You may even invest in the entirely wrong hybrid solution for your needs due to a lack of proper knowledge or advice. A decision like this can mean a big hit in your IT budget.
An optimized approach can avoid that.
3. Ensure your solution is the best fit for your needs
Each enterprise is unique. This means there is no single best way to craft the perfect hybrid integration of systems. Different organizations will need differently designed computing systems depending on the existing state of their IT, their new needs, and their business goals.
So if you’re considering a hybrid approach, you first must know precisely why you need to go this way. Ask yourself:
- Do you need a hybrid approach because of new business operations? New technologies you want to use? New government or state compliance rules that a hybrid approach will help you meet better?
- Will a hybrid approach give you cost, control, or performance advantages?
- Will the hybrid integration help you achieve your core business goals?
If it’s clear a hybrid solution is best, you can compare different solutions. Analyze which integration option will best serve your business. And bear in mind your possible future data-crunching needs.
Tips for optimizing your hybrid integration
1. Get the basics right: Good data and cloud governance
Automate the management of your resources to shrink waste.
According to Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report, 55% of the surveyed enterprises said understanding the implied costs of software licenses was a top cloud challenge.
Check what you’re paying for carefully. For instance, don’t always pay peak usage fees for desired cloud apps if you don’t need to do this. Also, remember that the resources you’ll have to pay for include more than just memory and processors. Costs also include data transfer speed, network, and storage.
You may choose to have a detailed cloud governance policy, especially if your cloud architecture has many layers. The more layers you have, the harder it is to ensure they are configured consistently. And inconsistent configurations are hard to optimize for cost, performance, or security.
Good control and oversight of multi-cloud solutions can save you money. It’s wise to have good data and cloud governance policies from the outset.
2. Do preparatory research
Thorough research may include:
- Reviewing and explicitly stating your business reasons and priorities in investing in a hybrid approach. Why do you need it? What must it do?
- Assessing the technical feasibility of migrating your on-premises apps to the cloud
- Deciding how much of your sensitive data you want to migrate to the cloud
- Assessing on-premises versus cloud costs
- Rightsizing or selecting the best instance, with the help of consultants if necessary
- Deciding on a hybrid integration solution. Then optimize its exact configuration for your organization to work better than what you had before.
- Comparing integration vendors or hybrid cloud providers for value, cost, quality of service, and success in implementing projects.
3. Do a proof of concept before adopting
If you want to achieve better performance or cost savings with your integration, then first run a proof of concept before committing to it.
You can set up a test case to assess anticipated results and identify hidden problems.
You may be surprised by what you discover.
4. Map out the entire network
Map out all the relationships across apps, hardware, and networking devices for each IT-delivered service you will be using in the new hybrid system.
Although this can be challenging, it is necessary in building a sound, dependable, workable system.
Your IT experts need to understand all the application dependencies.
Application dependencies happen when technology components, applications, and servers rely on one another to provide a business solution or service.
It’s important to understand these to protect against critical system outages.
Also, if you’re moving some applications to the cloud without considering their dependent services, you can cause severe, unwanted side effects to your other apps that are still on-premises.
5. Test, test, test
Hybrid integrations are always more complex because they involve different systems. So test your solution relentlessly to ensure there are no bottlenecks or bugs in the hybrid system. If you find any, fix them. If they can’t be fixed, then reconfigure.
6. Use automation to optimize costs
Wasted cloud spending is a big issue. According to Flexera’s report, respondents self-estimated that 30% of their cloud spending was wasted. The report notes many organizations tend to underestimate the amount of waste—which Flexera estimated to be 35% or higher on average.
More organizations are using automated cloud cost optimization policies to save on cloud costs. These can include:
- Shut down workloads after hours
- Right-size instances
- Specify expiration dates
- Allowed instances sizes/types
- Eliminate inactive storage
- Use lowest-cost regions
- Use lowest-cost clouds
7. Review the hybrid system every six months
Technologies, as well as your business itself, will change over time. So, regular self-evaluation is helpful.
Periodically review your original business goals for the hybrid integration. See if that hybrid strategy is still working for you. Is it delivering the performance you’d wanted?
You can survey people who directly use your hybrid cloud services. Is it genuinely helping them? If not, review the system.
Any organization’s needs might change after a few years. When it does, you need to adjust your hybrid integration strategy too.
The last two years saw the economically devastating effects of a Covid-19 pandemic. The health crisis dramatically sped up a pre-existing decision by many businesses to embrace cloud strategies.
That was recent history. Who knows what may come our way by 2025?
So don’t be afraid to change your original hybrid cloud infrastructure. You may need to rebalance the layout of workloads as your needs evolve, as conditions change, or as new opportunities come your way.
To optimize means more than saving on costs and efficiencies. It also helps you prepare for the unexpected.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.