'Hybrid Cloud' - The Indian Landscape Challenges, Benefits & Potential

Tabish Sangrar, CIO, Wellness Forever Medicare | Monday, 08 August 2016, 10:32 IST

Hybrid Cloud is currently touted as the panacea for all problems associated with traditional Cloud-based infrastructure, and the distinction is well deserved. With the promise of delivering the best of both worlds – security and tight control of a private cloud and scalability and cost benefits of public cloud – Hybrid Cloud stands out as a solution of choice for CIOs today.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions are helping organizations become more nimble, resilient and responsive. The ‘fail-first, fail-fast’ methodology is not just limited to startups anymore; SMBs are increasingly embracing this gambit. Zeroing-in on a good-fit Hybrid Cloud implementation is a step in the right direction, however, it’s the rock-star handling of implementation complexities that’ll be the game-changer for them.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the major challenges associated with Hybrid Cloud implementation:

Network Design: Successful hybrid implementation is heavily contingent on smart network design. Important considerations include mirroring of native network topology in the hybrid cloud, application bandwidth allocation, IP block allocations and network security policy implementation.

Security: This tops the list in any cloud implementation and it’s no different for Hybrid Cloud. A robust and comprehensive cloud security strategy is of utmost importance.

Data Migration & Application Integration: Integrating data across multiple data sources hosted on private and public infrastructure is an extremely challenging task. Integration itself poses the greatest risk to the integrity of the data in a hybrid implementation. Data is closely tied to the application that generates it and hence it’s important that we take into consideration the application performance & behavior once it’s moved to the cloud. If the application is not designed to access data sources remotely, the entire hybrid implementation will be in jeopardy and hence, it’s important that this distinction is established pretty early on.

So, how do we get it right? Here are five commandments, derived from my personal experience that will stand you in good stead whilst dealing with data migration & data security challenges:

Thou Shalt Fail Fast

Embrace this mindset and be willing to design, modify, deploy, iterate or bailout, and do this fast. Hybrid cloud applications are distributed and modular in nature. Be prepared to redesign a module if it fails or bypass it for the greater good; either way, move fast, fail fast.

Thou Shalt Identify Data Silos

80 percent of data crunching is primarily done on 20 percent of the data used by 20 percent of the on-cloud applications. Identify these data marts and data silos that are accessed by the applications and try and move these data sources closer to the applications. This will reduce bulk data movement over the cloud and improve performance.

Thou Shalt Secure Your Data

I cannot emphasize on the importance of this. Data migration gives rise to many security issues and vulnerabilities. Ensure that all data transfer is done via secure, private-network tunnels. Tools like Informatica Cloud can help you securely transfer data to the public cloud from your private network, use them.

Thou Shalt Not Be Greedy

Most public clouds use resource monitors to ensure that no one application or deployment maxes out the infrastructure. Be well-aware of the limitations and configure your application’s resource consumption accordingly.

Thou Shalt Remember The First Commandment

Fail First, Fail Fast, it works.

Top Benefits Of Deploying A Hybrid Cloud Solution

1. Cost Savings – As mentioned earlier, deploying a hybrid cloud eliminates the huge capex associated with on-premise installations. Organizations, especially SMBs can leverage the power of the public cloud to significantly reduce costs.

2. Scalability & Improved Security– Hybrid cloud offers the scalability associated with public clouds and enhanced security of the private cloud and is a solution that more and more companies are implementing vis-à-vis vanilla cloud solutions.

3. Enhanced Accessibility – In today’s enterprise-mobility times, users are constantly demanding constant access to their applications on the go. Hybrid cloud solutions help customers login securely and get to their data faster.

A recent report has pegged the Indian IT market at USD 36 billion and it’s expected to touch USD 65 billion by 2020. The market for cloud services is expected to grow to USD 14.5 billion (2020). From a long-term perspective, I truly feel that if the Digital India initiative is to become successful, it has to be backed by investments in infrastructure across the country. If this is accomplished, Indian Companies will be all set to benefit from the cost-effective, scalable and advanced Hybrid Cloud ecosystem.

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