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Exploring hybrid cloud as an effective post-COVID Strategy
Kunwar Singh Cloud Offerings Portfolio Management | September 1, 2020
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It’s been more than a decade now since the public cloud platforms have exploded with the way organizations are scaling their businesses. Enterprises are using cloud platforms more than ever, fueled by a rising demand for digital services. The worldwide pandemic- coronavirus- has created the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment. As COVID-19 continues to spread, CIOs have been forced to shift their strategy to an emergency cost optimization which means that investments will be minimized/and or prioritized on those operations that keep the business running, and supporting a new remote workforce. This has brought cloud operations into the spotlight for their proven agility, scalability, and preparedness to handle spikes in demand and unexpected disruptions.

Hundreds of years ago, Benjamin Franklin said “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” What if organizations see this very adversity as an opportunity to foolproof themselves with best practices to respond to disruptions and adopt hybrid cloud services and cloud platforms.

Some workloads simply work best in the public cloud, some others work better in a private cloud, while a select few seem apt for on premise deployments. The fear of a possible supplier lock-in is the main reason why many organizations are looking to adopt a multi-cloud approach and the industry has settled into a quiescence acceptance that hybrid cloud is the promising future.

Let's explore hybrid cloud as an effective post-COVID Strategy, and as an essential partner to businesses globally. Providing the benefits of agility, scalability, and cost optimization.

For better optimization, hybrid cloud must be operated as part of a cohesive deployment with a cloud footprint. Resulting in public cloud giants like Microsoft rolling out many hybrid cloud offerings to address deployments for the foreseeable future. The hybrid cloud should efficiently deliver and support capabilities such as workloads portability, automated provisioning, security and compliance framework adoption, and centralized management, among others. A cohesive strategy including systems management across hybrid cloud environments and the ability of being able to automate, optimize, and manage resources in a policy-driven manner is what hyperscalers like Microsoft are adopting.

Another key customer benefit which hybrid cloud deployment provides is the faster time to market. Organizations are increasingly using proven agile development tools such as Azure DevOps to deliver products faster. In other words, these solutions adopt the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline across the customer’s entire hybrid cloud environment.

Integration is the key to a successful hybrid cloud offering rollout and includes the integration of data and networks, and the centralized management of workload dependencies across the cloud platforms. To create private connections between the cloud datacenter and the on premise infrastructure/co-located environment, there are varied options available such as Azure ExpressRoute. These connections linking the cloud datacenter with on premise infrastructure bypass the public cloud and hence offer better reliability, faster speeds, and lower latencies than typical internet connections. In most cases, using these connections to transfer data between on premise systems and cloud datacenters can give you significant cost benefits.

Threat management is an important topic to address, organizations need to perceive and stop any threats before they cause harm, and Security information and event management (SIEM) needs to be reinvented for a modern world. Thus, there is a need for next-generation security operations with cloud and AI capabilities. AI can help in smarter and faster threat detection and response. The right solution must be able to scale to meet the customer’s security needs while reducing IT costs. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft have created a comprehensive solution around these requirements, Azure Sentinel.

Delivering applications with consistency, seamlessly managing data, and rapidly taking on new business scenarios across on premise, cloud, and edge environments are key to any successful hybrid cloud deployment. The ultimate aim being to provide customers the benefits of hybrid cloud while successfully meeting regulatory and connectivity requirements. A case in point: Microsoft has solutions such as Azure Stack HCI to run virtualized apps. on-premises. For customers looking to simplify complex and distributed environments Azure Arc has been introduced to enable the deployment of services anywhere and extend management to any type of infrastructure.

Let us approach the topic of the ‘intelligent edge’ itself. Ideally, this would help customers deploy their cloud workloads like artificial intelligence or any third-party service/ their own business logic to run on Internet of things-enabled edge devices via standard containers. Thus, providing organizations the capability to move certain workloads to the edge of the network; with their devices spending less time communicating with the cloud; being able to react more swiftly to changes made locally, and operating reliably even in extended offline periods with products such as: Azure IoT Edge. Microsoft and HCL have more than three decades of experience working together as trusted partners, helping customers embark on their journey to the cloud.

To sum up, the hybrid cloud environment provides an essential blanket of security for mission-critical workloads, elasticity for delivery, and high performance to match the ever-growing need for constant innovation. To summarize, today, more than ever, hybrid cloud is an essential partner to businesses, as companies re- position themselves to maintain productivity, creating an efficient mobile workforce and staying poised to handle adversity. The post-COVID-19 world presents now more than ever, an inherent opportunity for organizations to adopt hybrid cloud and implement a roadmap for the best foreseeable business outcomes, without disruptions.