The cloud has successfully delivered on its promise to bring highly-scalable, resilient applications with seamless deployment while reducing infrastructure cost. This change has also assisted in more agile development with a better focus on return on investment across projects. Unfortunately, that opportunity has been out of reach for many organizations for many different reasons, from regulations and contractual requirements to seasonality timing that make the process take too long.
The best of both worlds
The Hybrid Cloud offers a “best of both worlds” environment: companies can now embrace the cloud for speed and scalability where feasible while also maintaining their existing infrastructure. This allows organizations to lean on the cloud for things like emergency scaling, rapid development, testing environments, and production workloads that may not require their bespoke infrastructure while maximizing their returns on that internal hardware by ensuring that it is focused on value-add workloads.
Azure has released a key set of tooling that will enable the transition to a Hybrid Cloud by allowing companies to embrace a cloud-native application development strategy internally while still letting the operations teams focus on managing the environments from a single point of management. In addition, application lifecycles can shift between cloud and on-premises environments with relative ease without requiring development efforts.
Microsoft offers both an all-inclusive solution for Hybrid Clouds as well as an ala carte approach that allows you to slowly transition from a fully on-premises environment to a hybrid environment.
Looking for turn key
For an all-inclusive, turn-key Hybrid Cloud migration strategy, Microsoft offers a suite of services under the Azure Stack umbrella. Targeted toward larger enterprises and higher velocity migrations, Azure Stack is a foundational transformation that will have an organization in a fully functional Hybrid Cloud environment with application delivery combined with full monitoring and environment management.
Establishing a foothold in the Hybrid Cloud environment can sometimes have time, go-to-market, or compliance management challenges that could necessitate an aggressive timeline. The Azure Stack solution provides the ability for an organization to achieve their Hybrid Cloud goals more quickly by offsetting time costs with increased investment on the front-end.
Their newer products also offer a gradual transition, offering the ability for organizations to design and develop their products going forward with a cloud-native mindset to the extent that makes sense while taking advantage of the monitoring and management capabilities right away. This is achieved through the Azure Arc and Azure ExpressRoute products.
Azure Arc provides a platform to manage a wide variety of resources and centralize security and management processes to a single portal. With the ability to manage both Windows and Linux environments as well as tap into Kubernetes, this provides the single point of management that is critical to successfully running a hybrid cloud environment.
By letting teams develop and manage processes across the organization, both for cloud and on-prem environments, without having to work through complex rollout pipelines and delivery complications, the complexities of running both on-premises and cloud-hosted resources becomes a more achievable task.
In addition, teams can enhance existing cloud-based scaling capabilities by leveraging its automated Machine Learning based scaling capabilities at a service delivery level.
Hit the ExpressRoute
Azure ExpressRoute is Microsoft’s private VPN offering that allows a direct link between on-premises data centers and Azure hosted environments.
For organizations that ship substantial amounts of data this can be a saving grace as data fees are more like a traditional ISP fee structure based on bandwidth requirements with on-demand offerings. In addition, because the ExpressRoute connectivity is provided by a traditional service provider there is opportunity to shop around to save on cost or consolidate to a single bill.
For application developers, ExpressRoute is a seamless interconnection between the two environments, which will speed up development, reduce maintenance costs, and eliminate complicated firewall and VPN configuration.
If you’re still not ready to go all in on a cloud solution for your business, the hybrid cloud is one way to get the ball rolling in your cloud journey while you stay focused on value-add workloads. When leveraging the cloud for higher scalability and lower infrastructure costs, one size doesn’t fit all, but there are definitely more options for consideration now- that make the hybrid cloud a great approach.