Granting almost unlimited access to storage, computing and networking resources along with easy deployment around the world, it’s no wonder cloud quickly became a number-one tool for data center costs optimization and time-to-market reduction when it comes to service delivery.
The first question that arises before moving an infrastructure to the cloud is how to reduce migration-related risks and speed up the very process not being held back by security, privacy, government regulations or compliance issues. That’s where a hybrid cloud is taking the floor. The idea behind a hybrid cloud computing environment is simple: services moved to the cloud remain a part of the infrastructure that keeps being deployed in the private data center.
Talking about cloud migration strategies, a so-called lift and shift model deserves its widespread popularity. According to the model, a migration process is split into two phases:
- Lift – moving an existing infrastructure to the cloud as is
- Shift – presupposes an adoption of the infrastructure for the cloud covering any type of optimization needed
This article focuses on the main challenges of the lift phase in hybrid cloud implementation, stressing features to be taken into account while choosing a matching cloud provider.
Implementing hybrid cloud infrastructure resembles opening a new data center. However, instead of opting for multiple internet service providers and network equipment and hardware of your choice, hybrid cloud requires relying on a cloud provider. Because of this restriction, make sure that your selected cloud provider covers the following aspects:
- Ability to design and implement virtual private cloud networks (VPC) with subnets with a defined range of IP addresses
- Ability to set up virtual private network (VPN) connection options compatible with available hardware or software
- In case low network latency is needed or to avoid public internet traffic, consider the ability to establish a direct connection between your private data center and VPC (as is provided by cloud computing leaders AWS, Azure and Google). Also, establishing connectivity between your data center on premises and a cloud in your network infrastructure would be completely your responsibility, so plan it in advance.
Hybrid cloud migration consists of two stages:
- Server migration, which is moving a server fleet from a private data center to the cloud. The main challenge is to choose an implementation strategy that covers time to market, availability of resources and expertise, as well as services modernization.
- Data migration, which is when data stored in your file system on the database servers needs to be moved to the cloud. Two typical challenges include data volume size and the ability to move it without service interruption.
Today, data is a commodity and the main value of any business, so data leakage is one of the biggest nightmares ever. Another possible obstacle is compliance with governmental or industry-bound regulations. That’s where you need data encryption with access to it being provided exclusively to the authorized parties. Check whether your selected cloud provider offers encryption options and if they actually satisfy your needs.
4. Access and identity management
For any enterprise application, it is important to provide a single sign-on solution to support common user experience for the cloud and on-premises services to avoid the use of different credentials. On the other hand, it is much easier to support the existing access and identity management if you apply them to the cloud infrastructure. Think how to integrate the existing users’ database with the cloud application and — more important — how it can be done for API and management console.
Compliance may be viewed from two perspectives:
- Legal compliance. Make sure your cloud provider has all the required certifications to comply with policies and governmental regulations in a target state.
- Technical compliance. According to shared responsibility, your cloud provider is in charge of hardware, while you are responsible for software configuration and applications security. Make sure you have enough tools to implement a secure and compliant solution according to your requirements and needs.
Even though implementation of a hybrid cloud might seem rather challenging, numerous cloud providers offer solutions that are capable of overcoming the mentioned issues and ensure successful hybrid cloud implementation. Determine your priorities and needs, build a clear vision of what to expect from a cloud provider and get ready for the benefits of the hybrid cloud.
Vadym Fedorov is a solutions architect and expert in enterprise application development at SoftServe, a cloud provider. With over 12 years of experience, Vadym holds multiple industry certifications and was awarded at the Ukrainian IT Awards in 2015 for Software Architecture. Vadym writes for several tech publications and is a regular contributor to the SoftServe United blog. Check out more of his thoughts on cloud solutions there.