Contributor: Brian Cole

Hybrid cloud is rapidly becoming the deployment model of choice for corporations as the realities of public cloud and private cloud have fallen short of expectations. Migrations of enterprise-level applications to Public clouds rarely fulfill all requirements, and thus require integration or connectivity back to corporate applications or services. Private clouds integrate applications effectively but cannot match the level of savings achieved by public clouds.

This leaves hybrid cloud as a viable third option. Hybrid cloud balances cost, isolation and scaling factors to realize the promise of cloud and complies with rigorous enterprise-level implementation requirements. However, as a relatively immature market in terms of supporting products and services, implementing a Hybrid cloud solution is not without its challenges:

  • Managing and monitoring infrastructures and systems across multiple provider/network boundaries is a major challenge. Customers can readily view and manage each individual cloud environment; however to monitor the entire landscape/ecosystem of cloud environments effectively, customers must invest in third-party or home-grown tools.
  • Activity traffic that traverses multiple infrastructure boundaries, if not well secured, increases risks to the organization. Security policies must be reviewed for relevancy in a hybrid cloud environment and enhanced as needed. Moreover, infrastructure designs must account for the security policy and be carefully tested across all integration points to assure operational compliance.
  • As with all cloud deployments, user experience must not be negatively impacted. The highly distributed environment of Hybrid clouds increases the potential for latency leading to longer wait times or risks to functional integrity. Therefore, be prepared to re-architect applications in order to mitigate the inherent latency of distributed environments.
  • Application design must account for a hybrid solution to ensure the seamless integration and interoperability across provider boundaries. A solution needs to be hybrid-aware, understanding all network boundaries and their impact upon the solution’s operation.
  • The complexities of hybrid cloud place a greater demand on the IT personnel responsible for implementing and managing the environment. Therefore, anticipate the need to enhance the skill set of staff; evolving to what Gartner Research defines as a ”hybrid-IT” staff model and to refine best practices and policies related to operating in a cloud environment.