Hybrid cloud computing has been touted as the future for enterprise IT infrastructure. This hybrid model would give any business a competitive edge over its competition. Reasons to adopt the hybrid cloud vary and include higher scalability requirements, lower costs, better disaster recovery and business continuity.
Organizations need to understand that the challenges posed by hybrid cloud deployment will be different from what they face during the deployment of just a public cloud or private cloud solution. Both in-house and external resources need to be well prepared to tackle challenges based on the requirements of a business.
The best strategy would be to study the successful implementation of hybrid cloud solutions for businesses right now. Such case studies can prepare a business for any real-time challenges that pop up.
Let’s check out how some companies deployed the hybrid model and the challenges they faced.
Case Study of City of Asheville, NC
Though Asheville had a disaster recovery (DR) facility in place, newly appointed CIO Jonathan Feldman worried that this facility was in an extremely close vicinity to the main data center.
Prior experience with Hurricane Katrina had taught Feldman that it is better to have DR facilities spread out across the targeted geographical region for more reliable DR when an actual disaster strikes. Additionally, to reduce costs and time spent on the maintenance of DR facilities, Feldman knew that the transition to cloud computing was the most feasible solution.
Hybrid cloud implementation normally involves the maintenance of workloads on the cloud and of others on-premise. For Asheville, Feldman needed a DR setup in the public cloud for on-premise applications. Workload automation was required to handle the complex migration of virtual machines across different infrastructures. CloudVelox was a small start-up that Feldman chose to handle this complex deployment process.
To be absolutely sure that the process would work, CloudVelox first moved a low-risk virtual server (identified as part of the risk management process) to the public cloud (Amazon Web Services).
The only challenge was to manage some highly critical apps that needed to be situated on-premise. The other problems—those related to bandwidth, DNS and licensing. Were overcome during the move. Once this was done successfully, it eventually moved all the virtual servers (the entire DR setup) related to a particular workload to the cloud.
The Asheville case study proved that the cost savings after moving the DR system to the cloud were huge. The workloads stored in the cloud could be accessed as and when required.
Case Study of Honda UK
Honda UK implemented the hybrid cloud model for its IT infrastructure to handle sudden spikes in usage of its websites. Earlier, the company had experienced sudden web server crashes due to bandwidth limitations. This made Honda UK realize the importance of a hybrid cloud that could help with more scalable bandwidth for its IT infrastructure.
Honda UK first moved to a private cloud model, which was tested during the launch of the Accord Tourer. To handle the heavy user demand, the company ran one active and one standby website for disaster recovery. Then, they decided to extend to the public cloud during the launch of the Honda CR-Z.
At that time, they planned to use an application named Mode Art to allow social media users to modify photos before uploading them on Facebook. This required more cloud storage, which Honda procured from Amazon public storage (apart from their private infrastructure).
They had to pay for this service only when they used it. This pay-as-you-go model helped keep costs in check while ensuring optimum scalability. At the launch of the new Honda Civic in 2011, Honda UK wanted to reduce the operational costs attached to their private infrastructure through capacity on demand.
Their tie-up with cloud vendor ICM Phoenix enabled them to reduce annual operational costs by 30% through the implementation of an active infrastructure for appropriate workload balancing at the Leeds and Farnborough sites. This setup empowered the business with 24/7 supervision and a 15-minute service level agreement (SLA).
Case Study of SEGA (A Formerly Popular Console Maker)
SEGA Europe is a digital publisher of interactive entertainment software products. It is the European distribution arm of the Japanese SEGA Corporation and is known for making popular games. To ensure the success of any game, SEGA has to ensure that it is built efficiently—in a short time and at low cost.
Appropriate tests conducted on any game during its development go a long way toward ensuring the final quality is up to the mark. For SEGA, this testing process consumed a lot of time as it had to share huge volumes of uncompiled game code (game builds) with around 1,000 separate testers in different parts of the world.
With the enormous file sizes (of the game builds) involved, SEGA was posed with the challenge of sharing them globally with the constant threat of security lapses and strict time requirements. Apart from this, the company had to provide higher scalability to handle spikes on demand during the game development and test processes without the additional burden of high capital and operational expenditure for more IT infrastructure.
The company worked with VMware and Colt for a hybrid cloud computing model that created a secure environment to share game builds from on-premise (internal) systems to the external public cloud. This allowed the company to save time during test processes (about 17%) and conduct more tests to deliver better-quality games.
SEGA was able to easily maximize the utilization of current resources as well as improve scalability (scale up capacity on demand and scale it down when not needed).
The above case studies prove that based on the type of your business, the challenges and requirements may differ. However, a hybrid cloud computing solution can be implemented in various ways to suit the current needs of any business with sufficient room for expansion in the future.
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If you haven’t deployed it already, are you planning on it? What challenges have you identified and planned for thus far? Please comment below and thanks for reading!