Understanding Hybrid Cloud Management

Hybrid cloud management involves a mixed computing environment, comprising a mixture of public clouds and private clouds or on-premises infrastructure. Many organizations use a hybrid cloud architecture because it allows them to spread workloads over multiple data centers and cloud providers to extend their capabilities while retaining existing hardware and services.

Cloud migration efforts often lead to a hybrid cloud implementation as organizations transition workloads slowly, testing them as they go. Managing a hybrid cloud environment  can be a complex task, as data and services are spread out over multiple services.

If you want to protect your organization’s data, take a look at Veeam’s cloud backup solutions today.

What Is Hybrid Cloud Management?

Hybrid cloud management refers to managing data and resources in a public or private cloud and those running on in-house infrastructure like a data center or hypervisor. In some cases, a company may run a multi-cloud system with multiple public or private cloud providers. The advantage here is that your data becomes more resilient by being orchestrated in more than one place or environment. If one of those environments were to go down or be attacked via ransomware you have another environment or provider to restore to or from, thus giving you flexibility and resiliency. By distributing resources across multiple clouds, a company enhances its infrastructural ability to withstand disruptions and outages, and establishes operational redundancies to ensure business continuity in the event of a service disruption or downtime for a single provider.

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Management

Hybrid cloud configurations offer an easy and cost-effective way to scale your infrastructure, advantages in terms of reliability, improved security and compliance over solely on-premises infrastructures. We discuss these benefits in detail below.

Flexibility and Scalability

Scaling and maintaining in-house infrastructure can be costly and time-consuming. Using the public cloud to expand available resources can be less  expensive, thanks to flexible pay-as-you-use pricing and access to on-demand and seemingly infinite storage and computing resources. Utilizing cloud infrastructure can alleviate the need for significant investment in on-premises solutions.

Public cloud services can also make it easy to scale up and down as required, allowing organizations to test workloads in cloud infrastructures. This gives you flexibility to orchestrate and respond  to your businesses needs quickly and at scale.

Cost Optimization

Rather than paying for on-premises infrastructure and subsequent upgrades to frequently meet those compliance requirements and deploy new workloads , organizations can use cloud configurations to minimize overhead. Tools such as Google Cloud Pricing Calculator provide businesses insights on their cloud computing bills. Speak with your cloud provider for deals and opportunities to scale your cloud solutions at the right cost. Also, utilize a single hybrid or multi cloud backup solution to save you in the long run with one centrally managed tool to monitor it all. Alleviating the need to use multiple backup point products can free up time, money and resources to work on the things that are most important to your business.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Cloud services providers manage the hardware and network infrastructure for their clients, reducing the burden faced by in-house IT teams to upgrade and upkeep on-prem solutions. Application security still remains the responsibility of the user, however ongoing maintenance like patching for OS are handled by the cloud provider.

A cloud services provider can also be useful from a compliance perspective. For example, Microsoft Azure has several offerings to help cloud services clients maintain compliance with U.S. and global regulatory requirements, as do other major cloud services providers.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Cloud service providers have multiple data centers, so if there’s an outage at one, you can easily spin up instances elsewhere to maintain normal operations. This wouldn’t be an option for a purely on-premises infrastructure, making hybrid and multi cloud architectures favorable in regards to disaster recovery.

Challenges in Hybrid Cloud Management

Compared to a purely on-premises architecture, hybrid cloud environments are more complex and challenging to manage. The following are some key considerations for successful hybrid cloud deployments.

Complexity and Integration

It can be difficult to monitor the status of servers and services across multiple environments, while also managing the transfer of data between them. IT teams may need to invest in tools or an MSP to manage their cloud services.

Security Concerns

A hybrid cloud architecture may create a bigger attack surface, so it’s critical to have a security-first mindset. Using and coordinating Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools to maintain security is essential, as these will alert you to anomalous events (including failed logins, session hijacking, and stolen access tokens) which may otherwise fly under the radar.

Compliance and Governance

Some organizations process highly sensitive data and may be subject to higher regulatory requirements that disqualify standard  cloud deployments. Products such as Google for Government or Google Cloud for Federal Civilian Agencies are designed with such compliance requirements in mind.

Key Components of Hybrid Cloud Management

There are several tools to help IT teams manage their hybrid cloud environments including overseeing  cloud deployments. These tools cover  key areas of on-prem and cloud  management encompassing a hybrid cloud infrastructure, including:

  • Container/instance orchestration and automation
  • Performance monitoring
  • Security event monitoring and management
  • Data backups and encryption
  • Workload optimization

Rather than monitoring infrastructures spread across multiple providers or environments through multiple toolsets and vendors, IT teams are increasingly consolidating those tools to drive efficiency in their hybrid cloud management . These tools increase visibility into the performance, workloads, and stability of your cloud environment.

Best Practices for Hybrid Cloud Management

To ensure a secure and reliable hybrid cloud deployment, observe the following best practices.

Effective Cost Management

Monitor your resource usage and workloads carefully, and set billing alerts to prevent unwanted surprises.

Familiarize yourself with the billing policies of your chosen cloud  provider(s). Pay particularly close attention to rates for data transfers, which may differ depending on whether the source and/or destination are part of the cloud provider’s own network.

Consider opting for monthly or longer commitments, rather than on-demand pricing, for resources you expect to use long-term, as these commitments are often heavily discounted. You will want to look at consolidating tools and resources as much as possible. Look for a backup  and recovery solution that allows you to centrally manage all your workloads from one single console. Too often enterprises are using multiple point products to manage their hybrid cloud environments and backups which is inefficient and costly, resulting in unprotected blind spots and bill shock at the end of the month.

Vendor and Tool Selection

Consider the following when choosing tools and cloud providers.

  • Do the tools offer APIs that integrate easily with any existing tools you use?
  • Is your IT staff already familiar with these tools?
  • Does the vendor provide ongoing support?
  • Are the licensing policies friendly if you wish to scale up your usage?

Ideally, any tools you use should give you flexibility and peace of mind that you aren’t locked in and that you maintain ownership and control over your data – irrespective of where it resides – should your strategy change.

Disaster Recovery and Backup Strategies

Revisit your disaster recovery plan, and consider how it applies to the cloud. With a hybrid cloud architecture, it’s possible to route around an outage at one data center and utilize failover or recovery practices to the cloud to keep your applications accessible.

You’ll need to update any backup policies to take your cloud services into account. Veeam’s cloud integrations and capabilities offer automated backup, restore and DR solutions to protect against a variety of potential issues, including hardware failures, data corruption, and ransomware attacks.

Hybrid Cloud Management Tools

Managing a hybrid cloud infrastructure often requires more comprehensive tooling and capabilities as opposed to managing a single infrastructure (e.g., on-prem only). System administrators may be completely comfortable with the command line and an SSH client, but as organizations transition to the cloud and a microservices approach, they’ll need to adopt hybrid cloud management platforms for insights and efficiency.

A hybrid or multi-cloud administrator may need several cloud management tools, including:

  • Container orchestration
  • Security and package management tools
  • Monitoring and analytics

Hybrid Cloud Management Example

Clarke University is a nonprofit Catholic university in Iowa with around 250 staff and 1,000 students. The university has multiple data centers on campus and stores a massive amount of data. It had backups on tape, but no off-site backup, and IT staff were concerned that damage to the campus infrastructure could wipe out all their data.

As a nonprofit, the university is conscious of pricing, and it took some time to find an affordable cloud storage provider. The data egress fees charged by some major cloud services providers were cost-prohibitive for the university, but the staff was able to find a service provider offering a flat rate with no extra charges for API calls or data egress. The university uses its hybrid cloud along with Veeam to create a 3-2-1 backup strategy, ensuring it has multiple copies of immutable backups.

The university still relies heavily on its in-house infrastructure but found that using a hybrid cloud approach to data storage was a simple way to protect data without putting in a capital request.

Future Trends in Hybrid Cloud Management

As more organizations embrace the cloud, demand for better hybrid and multi-cloud management solutions increases. Today, cloud service providers are still relatively proprietary, but market forces are encouraging more interoperability.

Developers and systems administrators expect to see APIs that offer easy integration with third-party systems. The idea of an open-first approach is gaining traction, not just for mainframes but also for the cloud. Increased interoperability is something that would benefit users and developers alike.

AI is likely to have a huge role in the world of hybrid cloud management. We’ve already seen AI being employed as a tool for parsing log files, monitoring security events, and even making recommendations for performance optimization. As AI models get more training data and increase in reliability, DevSecOps teams and dedicated systems administrators may begin to feel more confident in the capabilities of their AI assistants.

Managing the Hybrid Cloud With Veeam

Hybrid cloud architectures can be a scalable, cost-effective and flexible way of delivering your IT infrastructure. However, migrating to a hybrid cloud does add some complexity compared to a purely on-premises setup.

If you’re considering adopting a hybrid or multi cloud architecture, or are already managing one, be sure to explore the guides we’ve listed below to learn more about optimizing your cloud systems. Veeam Data Platform helps hundreds of thousand of organizations protect and secure their data across dozens of platforms both on-premises and on AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and sovereign cloud providers. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with a cloud backup expert.

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