Today, disruption is the norm. The result is changing business needs. Organizations that are not agile, resilient, and flexible will not thrive. What is the answer? A hybrid cloud strategy that combines the strengths of your existing technology investments while leveraging the value of the cloud.
Developing an effective strategy can seem daunting. The goal is to create a modern operations environment where you can move your data and workloads wherever you want while managing everything with ease, security, agility, and compliance. You need a partner, along with solutions that are simple but also set you up to address today’s complex IT challenges and pave the right path for an effective hybrid cloud architecture.
The intent is to get away from reactive management, giving IT teams more options for proactively delivering results to the business. A well-designed hybrid cloud makes this possible. It logically consolidates disparate, physically separate resources via common technology, tools, and processes for holistic interoperability and management.
Here are three questions to get you started with hybrid cloud planning:
1. What business outcomes do I need hybrid cloud to solve?
The first step in developing a hybrid cloud strategy is to identify the business outcomes your organization hopes to achieve. Our perspective is that all hybrid cloud environments should:
- Be able to move workloads between environments
- Incorporate unified management tools
- Orchestrate processes with automation
- Scale up and down quickly to support demand
After all, organizations typically turn to hybrid approaches because they are seeking the agility and control to easily use the best resources for their data and applications.
The key to hybrid cloud is workload portability — applications work and data flows consistently across different environments, allowing for a single platform to span across and communicate with multiple clouds. For example, a business’ high data resiliency guidelines required their workload to move between environments with low RPO/RTO. NetApp’s ONTAP Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO) and Storage Virtual Machine 9 (SVMDR) provides this capability. CVO allows workload to be moved to a public hyperscaler along with orchestration and automation by SVMDR. This orchestration with automation allows the mobility of workload from on-premise to public hyperscalers. Additionally, the data can be moved back to the on-premise data center, a capability not always available when replicating data to a hyperscaler through other approaches.
In addition, most organizations have existing technology investments that support their core business. Often, it’s not feasible to simply rip and replace. Technical debt accrued in this scenario can inhibit an organization from rapidly deploying new capabilities to support business changes. It makes sense to deploy a hybrid cloud model. So, organizations can leverage existing technology assets and investments, while combining them with additional capabilities from public cloud providers or as-a-service vendors.
Once you identify your goals, it’s time to ensure your applications will continue supporting your business needs as you implement a hybrid cloud strategy. Not all applications are built to work in the cloud; some work better on-premise—and vice versa. So, plan for your business needs now and build your strategy around them.
2. What capabilities would enhance my organization’s hybrid cloud approach?
Without the right hybrid cloud tools and capabilities, managing applications and data across a hybrid cloud is complex and time intensive.
You need to develop, execute, and evolve a hybrid cloud approach—regardless of your current state of hybrid cloud maturity and strategy—that removes complexity and risk by providing a common layer for cloud-based and on-premise storage.
Three key components to include in your hybrid cloud strategy are orchestration, automation, and containerization—all of which work to increase efficiency and productivity across the business. Neglecting to include these can lead to a large, more expensive operation.
Storage from CVO, Azure NetApp Files, FSx for NetApp ONTAP, Cloud Volumes Service on Google Cloud, and on-premise NetApp can be presented to containers that require persistent storage as well through NetApp Astra Trident. This orchestration solution enables quick and easy provisioning withing containerized applications.
Automation can be performed via multiple different platforms. A large catalog of Ansible capabilities to support NetApp capabilities are available to perform tasks for Day 0, Day 1, and beyond allowing for consistent deployment and a reduction of time spent on day-to-day tasks.
Done right, hybrid cloud delivers a consistent experience for end users; enables a self-service delivery approach; leverages top-tier technologies; and delivers your target capabilities securely.
Based on the business challenges you aim to solve and the technology capabilities you choose to leverage, the next step is to look at which tools in the ecosystem can help you streamline processes and increase efficiency.
3. What hybrid cloud tools should I use?
An effective hybrid cloud strategy will have the right set of technology, tools, and processes for comprehensive management of resources, data, and costs. NetApp provides a platform that offers application-driven infrastructure capabilities designed to optimize costs, security, performance, and manageability by supporting core production, developer, web hosting, analytics, containers, and database services across your hybrid infrastructure.
This combination of intelligent cloud services, data services, and storage infrastructure helps organizations manage applications and data everywhere across hybrid multicloud environments and eases the move to the cloud.
One important capability of the NetApp portfolio is NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which allows you to build storage for mission-critical applications, databases, containers, and user files on the cloud of your choice—whether it is AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud—while unlocking security, resilience, high availability, and cost-performance.
Once you choose your hybrid cloud tools, be sure to fully operationalize them. Plan out how they fit into your current environment, understand the functionalities so your organization can fully benefit from them, and know which business goals are aligned to each tool you choose.
Leveraging Outside Hybrid Cloud Expertise
A future-ready business is one that can evolve and thrive in any situation, especially unexpected and impactful events. Future readiness is based on agility, resilience, standardization, and leveraging technical tools to develop capabilities that adjust to and address your organization’s needs based on market and customer demand changes.
It has never been more important to have a hybrid cloud strategy partner that delivers what they promise. Contact us to learn how we can help you unlock the potential of your data strategy with NetApp solutions that are:
- Simple: Eliminate the headaches of disconnected portfolios
- Flexible: Offer the freedom to support your data strategy on-premise or on any cloud
- Intelligent: Fuel your ability to make critical business decisions