Small and large companies alike must deal with a proliferating number of applications and data. Many are adopting the hybrid cloud and hybrid multicloud approaches to more effectively manage IT resources. It’s also allowing them to develop, test and run apps in the same environment even if the underlying infrastructure changes over time. New innovations are helping control costs of managing applications and data across different private and public service IT infrastructures.
According to Gartner, many organizations break their cloud budgets due to factors such as ungoverned costs and suboptimal design. Enterprise leaders can overcome these potential pitfalls by gaining a deeper understanding of how a hybrid cloud strategy can help manage the cost of moving applications or provide different options better suited for future needs.
“Let’s face it, if you run in the cloud, costs can add up,” Ben McCormack, Technical Director at Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO, explained in an article for Forbes.
“Multicloud technologies based on open standards can help you port what would have been heretofore cloud-locked applications to a more cost-effective environment, if you so desire.”
The cost of moving applications serves as a barrier for many organizations. McCormack’s insights highlight the benefits organizations can attain through a hybrid multicloud model. Placing applications in the optimal location, whether that be in the private cloud or in any of the many public clouds available to the enterprise, can give IT teams control over spending. By using hybrid multicloud, IT teams can handle cloud-native development, extend management capabilities across a distributed infrastructure and avoid limitations caused by service provider lock-in.
Hybrid cloud innovations like the Nutanix Cloud Clusters (NC2) are giving IT teams new options and ways for managing between private data centers and public cloud services. For example, Forestry and Land Scotland is using NC2 to speed their cloud mandate.
“Our mission is to look after our land and enhance the management of the land and forest for the people of Scotland and manage it on their behalf…to manage that in a sustainable way…and really provide what Scotland is to its people,” Nick Mahlitz, senior digital infrastructure manager at Forestry and Land Scotland told The Forecast.
After leaders decided the agency would do away with IT infrastructure and operate in the public cloud, Mahlitz found an innovative way to take old and newer applications from their Nutanix Cloud Platform-powered data center – it ran 300 virtual machines, delivering databases and back office applications – and run them on public cloud infrastructure.
By using NC2, Mahlitz’s team was able to replicate his on-premises data center operations and run it inside Microsoft Azure. This allowed him to migrate production workloads without refactoring applications in order to run them in the public cloud.
Initially, Mahlitz and his team saw NC2 as a temporary way to operate while they re-engineered applications to run natively on Azure.
“To re-engineer workloads into cloud takes significant money and resources in terms of skills, which is a big problem in the world: finding and keeping good cloud skilled people,” he said.
NC2 allowed Mahlitz’s team to use familiar tools to quickly migrate their data center to the public cloud, which freed up their skilled IT managers to concentrate “on other things like AI and automation and other new exciting technologies.”
He said these efforts will also help Scotland work toward net zero emissions goals since the move to the public cloud will improve IT sustainability by reducing the organization's carbon footprint by up to 40%.
“Our data center is another big area where we can reduce that by using public cloud and NC2,” he said.
Multiple Factors Contribute to Hybrid Cloud Cost
A hybrid cloud and hybrid multicloud approach leads organizations to modernize their IT operations. It brings inherant costs, including the need to manage more complexity, compatibility and compliance needs. At the same time, a hybrid cloud approach can enable better management of resources, which can lead to optimizations and cost reduction.
“Some of those [cost and productivity savings] included up to a 97% faster time to a day-one infrastructure deployment in the cloud — rather than on premises — and up to 96% reduction in IT administrator costs for deployments with clusters on AWS when it was compared to traditional infrastructure in a data center,” Tony Palmer told The Forecast.
Flexibility Improves Migration Efficiency
“Enterprises have sought to shift their cloud workloads from on-premises to public clouds, depending upon pricing and performance, to provide themselves with better leverage and business flexibility,” said Gary Lyng, CMO at Hitachi Vantara.
“Once an organization masters cloud data migration, it can utilize hybrid cloud tiering to balance workload costs and improve performance.”
Lyng said hybrid clouds can deliver outstanding performance, and business flexibility, especially with containers that enable shifting workloads and data flows that can be automated without manual intervention.
The elastic nature of a modern IT environments allow for adding and scaling down resources rapidly when needed. It is possible to develop and deploy new applications much more efficiently by empowering IT teams with this level of freedom in resource control. Doing so leads to faster development cycles, quicker time to market, and greater cost-efficiency at every stage.
“Hybrid clouds are built on the proposition of efficiency, and therefore, at their core, they should help the business conserve resources, especially cloud computing ones,” said Rohit Amarnath, CTO of Vertica. “For example, on-premise resources can operate steady, predictable workloads while public cloud resources can handle sudden spikes in demand (aka, cloud-bursting).”
Consistency of Security Mitigates Disaster Costs
Moving applications across locations can expose them and the network at large to significant security threats during transit. When those applications are moving between locations in one continuous hybrid environment, though, the entirety of the migration remains covered by one consistent set of security procedures.
Centralization and unification of security ensure that one individual or team has constant control and visibility over security every step of the way, minimizing blind spots from which a malicious party can enter the network or extract sensitive information. A hybrid multicloud approach centralizes monitoring and management capabilities through a single unified control plane.
A cyberattack can result in catastrophic downtime, potentially sparking cloud cost of thousands of dollars per minute. Resiliency born of consistent security and comprehensive disaster recovery measures help mitigate the likelihood of such an attack or minimize system downtime after an unavoidable outage.
With the potential disaster costs in mind, it becomes apparent that strong and consistent security measures in the hybrid cloud are essential in reducing the cost risk of moving applications.
Avoiding Costly Lock-In
Enterprises operating in a hybrid or multicloud environment will likely seek out various clouds from multiple different vendors in which to run their workloads. When operating on a hybrid cloud platform that grants freedom from propriety, it is possible to diversify application placement across multiple clouds to enjoy optimal hybrid cloud costs and uptime even if one vendor’s cloud infrastructure experiences an outage or if one provider raises its costs.
A public cloud-only solution inevitably implies some degree of vendor lock-in, which requires the use of proprietary tools and methods even if another provider offers preferable solutions based on a given set of circumstances.
“Implementing a multi-cloud strategy can be an effective way to avoid vendor lock-in,” said Khalid Turk, Chief Healthcare Info Tech Officer for the County of Santa Clara, in a LinkedIn article.
“This approach allows businesses to benefit from the flexibility of public clouds while retaining control over critical data and applications.”
With an ever growing number of applications and amount of data to manage, organizations are learning where to run things at any given time with an eye on interoperability and cost control.