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Minimize Cloud Sprawl With a Hybrid Approach

Cloud sprawl is a common problem for multi-cloud environments, but a true hybrid solution minimizes sprawl.Many enterprises call their cloud environment a hybrid solution, but in many cases, what’s really in place is a multi-cloud approach that uses both public and private cloud solutions without a unified infrastructure. The difference may seem semantic, but multi-cloud environments are at risk for cloud sprawl.

Enterprises are largely drawn to cloud solutions because of anticipated benefits surrounding scalability, visibility, and performance, but in many cases, the main drivers are cost savings and revenue growth. The ability to categorize software subscriptions as operating expenses and the elimination of hefty investments in hardware and management costs can free up resources for innovation. There is also the opportunity for revenue growth with the ability to roll out new user-friendly, mobile-first technology to a market that demands a highly personalized customer experience.

But in one corporation after another, cost savings and revenue growth are not coming to fruition. The lack of a broad strategy for digital transformation leaves enterprises with a cobbled-together solution, where public and private cloud solutions combined with legacy, on-site systems make for a messy infrastructure.

Cloud sprawl occurs when companies lack a vision and execution plan for managing cloud environments. Service level agreements with vendors and the costs of processes like cold data retrieval or bursting can eat up the potential savings anticipated from cloud solutions.

Enterprises also lack a digital transformation plan, with line-of-business managers driving the push for cloud adoption in isolated segments of the organization. If there’s no set of guiding principles for which workloads will be housed in the public versus private cloud and no strategy for how to prioritize those changes, IT will continue to be in reactionary mode, watching cloud sprawl spin out of control and facing pressure from line-of-business managers.

Keeping Cloud Sprawl Under Control

There is a solution, but it requires a change in infrastructure. A true hybrid solution combines public and private cloud solutions with legacy systems in a single infrastructure, with networks, storage, hardware, and related components all united to achieve greater control, visibility, and optimization of workloads.

A hybrid approach significantly reduces maintenance cost and time, and allows for better application mobility. It also provides options for automation in areas like configuration, provisioning, and management of upgrades and updates.

When you partner with T2, you have direct access to 30 of the most trusted names in telecommunications providers and a partner that will be by your side month after month. Whether you’re suffering from cloud sprawl, connectivity problems, or another telecommunications challenge, T2 has the cure. Contact us today to learn more.

What Exactly Is a Hybrid Cloud?

shutterstock_105784313With the new digital age upon us, the “hybrid cloud” term is everywhere. In fact, hybrid models continue to rank high among the top 10 strategic technology trends. The current craze has prompted several infrastructure providers to define what “hybrid” really means, but definitions may differ according to varying interpretations and limitations. Channel partners are struggling to find the best hybrid solutions to meet their customers’ needs.

​Hybrid Cloud Defined

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the focus should primarily be on the cloud when defining hybrid environments. NIST describes the hybrid cloud as a combination of public, private, and community clouds that are intertwined for optimal compatibility and performance. These clouds feature cutting-edge and innovative technologies that enable data and application portability.

While this effectively describes the hybrid cloud as a whole, it does not include managing and transferring applications across cloud and non-cloud environments. This is known as hybridization, which enables a comprehensive and cohesive platform for on-premise and hosted or remote cloud solutions, and creates a unified network that incorporates applications, programs, and features across on-site and remote cloud servers and environments.

Hybrid Environments

Even with the hybridization label, the line between on-site and off-site is rapidly diminishing. In fact, physical and local networks are now routinely extended across companies’ on-site data centers and third party sites to enhance network performance, security, and ease of use. This includes wide area networks (WANs), along with firewalls, storage gateways, and application-delivery controllers.

Hosting and cloud platforms are sometimes described as un-managed network links. This is during the initial connection, which must be streamlined and centralized to secure one consistent hybrid environment. Once the parameters and adjustments are set, the links are designed to foster network transparency across a myriad of environments.

While this is the ideal scenario and creates a more consistent and unified approach that engages partners, telecom agents, IT solution providers, and others involved in cloud deployment services, communication and compatibility problems are common. These issues include problems with linkage as well as difficulty in provisioning, managing, and monitoring all machines and applications across third-party cloud environments.

The Perfect Hybrid Cloud

With so many definitions and options, how does one select the right hybrid cloud service or environment? According to industry experts, clients must look for the following when assessing provider abilities to deploy fully-functional hybridized solutions.

Flexible Service Options

Hybrid cloud providers must offer services that can meet a full range of requirements, including application compatibility, managed hosting, and colocation services. Whether for public, private, or community based clouds, these services must be easy to access and ensure optimal performance and productivity across the cloud.

Unified Network Fabric

Hybrid specialists must ensure unified networks for deploying services across multiple environments. This includes computing, as well as storage and networking accessibility. Unified networks allow workloads operating in different environments to share the same network elements. This secures consistent connections that expedite workloads across hosting environments while reinforcing the level of security required.

User-Friendly Interfaces

With user-friendly interfaces, customers and partners are able to:

  • easily manage an entire IT infrastructure across a myriad of servers;
  • manage storage capacities and resources via one centralized portal; and
  • enable a single point of contact, which eliminates the need for multiple service providers.

Weighing Your Cloud Computing Choices

shutterstock_107141402Cloud computing continues to gain attention and momentum as companies learn about and experience the benefits of Internet-based solutions. The use of cloud solutions is increasing exponentially while traditional data center computing models are declining for the first time.

Virtualization via cloud computing creates business efficiencies, adds flexibility, increases server capacity, and provides companies with the benefits of distributed data. The positives of the cloud are universal and the cloud computing market has evolved to support four primary models for cloud deployments. Each model has its own benefits and drawbacks that must be weighed when making a cloud choice.

Keep It In-House

The idea of “the cloud” gives rise to images of equipment housed and data stored in some vague place. In reality, the cloud can reside within the physical confines of a company’s premises or at a private data center.

Private cloud solutions allow companies to provide the benefits of the cloud to employees while maintaining tight control over the network equipment and applications available to them. Companies with the resources to deploy the necessary equipment and maintain it over the life of the network may gravitate toward this option, especially if in-house control of assets is a primary concern.

Third-Party Options

Some companies, particularly smaller organizations or companies that only need the cloud for a limited time, may not have the resources or time to deploy and maintain an in-house private cloud network. For these companies, the ability to flip a switch and activate cloud services without the startup cost and work is attractive.

Public cloud offerings hosted and maintained by a third-party provider might be an ideal choice for this segment. The provider services many end users with the same resources, thereby aggregating the costs among those users and allowing each to pay only for what they need, when they need it.

The Best of Both Worlds

Many companies want the simplicity, flexibility, and scalability offered by public cloud solutions, but they are hesitant to cede such a high level of control to a third party. Enter the hybrid solution, which gives companies the benefits of both models.

Using a hybrid approach, a company can still tap the resources and benefits built into the public cloud model while retaining some control within the company. This model allows a company to adjust the network to meet its changing needs. Companies can also use a hybrid approach to offload traffic during peak usage on the private network temporarily to the public cloud.

Community Cloud

A relatively new concept, the community cloud model allows equipment to be hosted either privately or publicly. Companies may use this model to test public-cloud products and features. Within this model, servers do not have to be dedicated to specific users, but can be logically segmented among several end users while maintaining the security of a dedicated environment.

Making the Choice

Choosing the right model will depend on each company’s business environment and needs as well as the type of data that will be hosted on the network. A careful evaluation of the company’s needs and how each cloud model might fulfill those needs is crucial when deciding how to deploy cloud services.

Delivering Business Solutions through Hybrid Cloud and Workload Automation

shutterstock_280634069Businesses today demand IT functionality that ensures continuity and offers adaptable data capacities in a cost-effective format. For many companies, cloud technologies that employ as-a-service solutions meet that need.

However, security concerns and data sovereignty regulations have held many organizations back from embracing public cloud solutions. Instead, they have preferred to retain data applications in on-premise servers, which they view as more secure.

Ultimately, though, on-premise solutions are not a cost-effective choice for most organizations. There’s just too much data. These businesses should look to hybrid cloud solutions for the answer to their needs.

The Hybrid Answer

As data amounts expand, businesses need actionable methods for collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing that data. They need retrieval methods that conform to the industry and to the operational standards they’ve developed.

Hybrid cloud solutions, which combine public and private cloud, that operate from a centralized system offer the agility and cost-savings that businesses need in today’s competitive global marketplace. When companies begin the process of hybrid cloud adoption, however, creating numerous workloads in separate silos makes it nearly impossible–without advanced automation–to control the thousands of applications and services that are running. Advanced automation can ease these pain points.

Processing Evolution

Technology trends such as mobile, cloud, big data, and social collaboration tools drive the expansion of transactions. Businesses need high-performing integration between systems of engagement and record. Shifting from batch processing, which was largely time-based, to automated processing, which is largely event-based, allows businesses to perform these tasks more efficiently.

Data center automation that encompasses server, database, network, and workload automation essentially provides the solution. This single, centralized system replaces multiple schedulers and is deployed within a hybrid cloud solution. Companies can utilize it to control all of their applications from a policy-driven perspective.

The Hybrid Cloud Solution

With a hybrid cloud solution, companies can achieve workload automation. The centralized system streamlines activities like big data analysis and the automation of ad-hoc processes, whether they originate from calendars, events, or self-service triggers. The controlled system allows for companies to deliver accurate information to the business’s many stakeholders: clients, suppliers, customers, employees, etc.

Hybrid cloud solutions enable automation processes like these:

  1. The ability to forecast job processing time.
  2. The ability to control the actual processing.
  3. The ability to implement provisions that allow alternate processing platforms to meet capacity needs.

Benefits of Workload Automation

Hybrid cloud solutions facilitate these requirements by allowing companies to run specialized modules of software solutions that control processing requirements according to application types under the control of workload management. Traditional job-scheduling cannot accomplish these tasks.

Workload automation increases business flexibility in the following ways:

  • It breaks down silos so that companies can access and analyze the right data– when and where it’s needed.
  • It integrates systems of record and engagement.
  • It enables new features to be quickly added, such as location-based mobile applications.

In addition, workload automation ensures that companies conform to data protection and other government and industry compliance regulations within the hybrid cloud environment.

With a stable internal workload automation process and hybrid cloud solutions, businesses can develop scalable, end-to-end systems automation approaches that provide true cost reductions.