Best Next Steps for the Hybrid Cloud

Companies that are deciding to leverage a hybrid cloud infrastructure have a number of options available to them that others do not. But since the concept of hybrid cloud is still so new, it’s not always obvious what the choices are. They include high-availability, disaster recovery, and even application mobility.

A hybrid cloud environment is one that leverages some local infrastructure as well as one or more cloud providers or service providers. It’s a “hybrid” between having your own environment and putting your entire environment in the cloud. The most basic step would be having data or an application stored in your data center automatically replicated to the cloud for disaster recovery. This can be done with a basic one-to-one replication system. The key to moving beyond this most basic use of the cloud is an “any-to-any, one-to-many” replication mechanism. Once you migrate to that kind of technology, the choices abound.

One of the first steps a hybrid cloud adopter can make is to use more than one cloud provider. While cloud providers work very hard to eliminate outages, they still happen. If your only copy of data is in a particular cloud provider that happens to go off-line, your application will go off-line with the cloud provider. The same thing will happen if your account at that cloud provider is somehow compromised. One of the best ways to ensure against this is to utilize multiple cloud providers. This protects against outages and hacks of a single cloud provider. Again, the only way this is possible is to have one-to-many replication.

A step beyond using multiple cloud providers is the use of a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP is similar to a cloud provider, in that you pay only for the services you are using and are not required to make large capital purchases in order to do so. The difference between a typical cloud provider and an MSP is that they add services such as monitoring, consulting, and advice throughout the process. A system supporting one-to-many replication could allow you to use an MSP for active data, for example, while historical copies of data are migrated to a less expensive cloud provider.

When you have any-to-any, one-to-many replication, the next step that is possible is the full migration of an application to a cloud provider or MSP. If it is simple to migrate an application to to such a provider, you might experiment at migrating one application that might benefit from a presence in the cloud. Try it temporarily and see how it performs. If it doesn’t perform well in the cloud, a good replication system can easily migrate it back without any significant downtime. But if the application performs well – and there are many stories of customers who have found that cloud applications perform better than their own data center – you can leave it there and still have its data replicated to another provider or back to your local data center for availability or disaster recovery.

Don’t forget your local data center. Being able to migrate applications to cloud providers or MSPs might make some hardware available in your local data center for other purposes. If you have one-to-many replication, you can also replicate one of the copies of your application to another system in your own data center, creating even more recovery options for that application.

StorageSwiss Take

Any-to-any, one-to-many replication is the key to the hybrid cloud. If you can replicate data from any location to any other location and to multiple locations, the sky’s the limit as far as your options. Run an application in your data center, in the cloud, at an MSP; it’s all up to you. With such technology, you can move so much farther than simply using the cloud for DR.

To learn more about replication and the hybrid cloud check out our video, “The Next Best Steps for Hybrid Cloud”.

Click To Watch The Video

W. Curtis Preston (aka Mr. Backup) is an expert in backup & recovery systems; a space he has been working in since 1993. He has written three books on the subject, Backup & Recovery, Using SANs and NAS, and Unix Backup & Recovery. Mr. Preston is a writer and has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences around the world. Preston’s mission is to arm today’s IT managers with truly unbiased information about today’s storage industry and its products.

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