30 Aug 2013

Productivity Tips: boosting your business with hybrid cloud

Do you have trouble delivering applications to end users in your currently deployed infrastructure? Is your current datacenter equipment full? Are you stuck with legacy servers and applications that you can’t leverage deployments allowing you to have a single pane of glass for managing your infrastructure services? Does your cloud deployment need to be connected back to some of your existing infrastructure?

Hybrid cloud is the answer to these and many other problems that plague traditional “all or nothing” cloud or on-premise deployments.

Well managed Hybrid clouds can be deployed on site, in a Brennan IT cloud or a public cloud service such as Microsoft Azure. By leveraging key Microsoft System Center technologies, you can take advantage of enhanced mobility and move your servers from on-premise equipment to a Brennan IT Hosted Cloud. You can free up local capacity for applications and move essential services into a protected, highly resilient cloud environment with ease. Key servers can be replicated to your virtual data center and enabled for automatic recovery in case of disaster. Enable applications to scale seamlessly from your on-premise servers, through the Brennan IT Cloud and potentially a public cloud service.

Like with any piece of technology, knowing how to best leverage the technology to provide a competitive advantage remains top of mind for many CIOs and IT managers.

The secret lies in the implementation and structure of the cloud solution. An ordered, well-managed hybrid cloud infrastructure will provide greater benefits to the organisation, and this is why it is so important to source the cloud service from the right partner. Not all clouds are created equal and it’s important that the online portal that your cloud partner provides offers easy access to cloud services and network management, while also offering a robust help desk if needed. If the portal isn’t intuitive or the service level isn’t adequate, there’s always the risk of wasted time and resources in working with your cloud partner.

With a well-ordered cloud solution in place, it becomes very easy for an organisation to take advantage of one of the greatest rewards that a hybrid cloud can offer; that of “bursting”. Because hybrid clouds scale so easily, the moment an increase in load hits a peak it is possible to scale the solution to match the need by leveraging the agility that a cloud service brings you.

This has the added advantage of minimising cost within your business. In periods where service demand or traffic hits a trough, it’s possible to scale down the cloud component of the solution and provision your service on the organisation’s internal infrastructure.

For the purposes of test and development, this ability to scale on demand is especially beneficial. The sporadic nature of test and development projects means that utilising internal infrastructure for them creates unused capacity during quieter times. It’s inefficient and unnecessary now that hybrid clouds are an option. The direct access to test servers with cloud also has the added advantage of helping to speed development cycles.

The other great competitive advantage for utilising hybrid cloud services is that it offers you the ability to offer your own customers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) services by hosting applications in your cloud. It is also more efficient and an inexpensive way of offering a substantial value-add to your customer than developing the infrastructure internally to support a SaaS solution.

In terms of costs, efficiencies and product offerings to the market, adopting a hybrid cloud is an effective and secure path to competitive differentiation. The only real challenge is in finding the cloud provider that can unlock the potential for cloud for your business.

Nicholas Hollings is Brennan IT’s Practice Manager for Cloud and Infrastructure Solutions.