5 essentials for managing hybrid cloud environments

More and more organisations are choosing to adopt cloud solutions – like Office 365 – to improve IT agility and reduce costs. But understanding everything involved and the impact to the business can be a challenge.

Today, the term “hybrid” is synonymous with complexity – with enterprises often worried about adding more workload to its IT department without having the additional resources to cope. As enterprises attempt to figure out the best approach to tackle the emerging hybrid issues, they do so with the lens of security, governance, and compliance.

>See also: Securing today’s ever changing cloud environment

However, the key to success will be understanding the essentials for managing in these hybrid environments based on the business needs rather than just stop gap tools.
Here are five concepts to consider before moving to any hybrid cloud management platform.

1. Get to grips with what is being managed

While this may be the single most important thing to know, many of those who define a hybrid cloud management strategy fail to understand the profiles of the workloads that will run on public and private cloud(s).

IT managers need to understand the applications in their environment and the access that is needed. They also need to know what their applications do, including how they interact with the end users, how they manage data, as well as how they handle networking, security patterns and performance. A good approach is to ask questions such as:

• Who owns the workload within the organisation? Who needs to be contacted if things go wrong and what’s the protocol?
• What does each workload do for the business, and how crucial are they to the business?
• When do the workloads run? Some run continuously, while others may run during the same hours of the day.

>See also: 10 tips for securing AWS public cloud environments

• Where do workloads run? On the public cloud, private cloud, or in both?
• Why were the decisions made about where to run the workload? And when will they need to be re-evaluated?

2. Understand security and governance

These days, security and governance are not only business-critical, but are a requirement, which may be underpinned by a service level agreement with customers or from the enterprise’s senior management team.

This means the IT team must proactively manage security to meet these requirements. IT managers can also leverage new mechanisms such as IAM (identity and access management), which allow the assigning of identities to data, people, devices, and servers, to configure who can access what, and when.

Central to this part of hybrid cloud management is how IT deals with a few issues:

• Security and performance: if the needs of the workload are that information be stored and encrypted or in-flight (moving over the network), that may result in the risk of lower overall performance. That needs to be understood and managed, including the use of performance monitoring tools.

>See also: The future state of hybrid data environments brings traditional problems

• Policy management: governance requires that policies are written and enforced, and this enforcement must be understood by those who are managing the hybrid cloud so that they do not conflict or otherwise get in the way of operations.

3. Build a “single pane of glass”

Those who manage hybrid cloud, also manage complexity. This is because the private and public clouds all come with their own native APIs and resources. Indeed, they all manage storage, networking, provisioning, and security differently. IT managers can save valuable resources and administration time if they integrate a single pane of glass interface to manage their cloud platforms.

>See also: Hybrid cloud: the key to enterprise innovation

There are tools that can manage cloud services using a single interface to interpret what something means on one cloud vis-a-vis another cloud. For instance, through one interface IT teams can monitor the organisation’s performance on Google Cloud Platform, and OpenStack private cloud, and Amazon Web Services simultaneously to ensure they are provisioning optimally.

4. Know your SLAs

SLAs, or Service Level Agreements, are set out in a contract between end users and cloud providers to ensure a minimum provision of services. IT teams must familiarise themselves with these terms so that they can ensure they are always getting the best possible service for the business at all times.

Broadly speaking, what is defined in the SLA needs to also be defined in the management layer as well. SLAs don’t just concern a baseline of good performance for the end user, but are also about providing performance that meets specific expectations.

For instance, IT managers might need the ability to provide a sub-second response to the sales person to access and retrieve data in the inventory application that exists within the hybrid cloud.

>See also: Embracing hybrid cloud services in traditional industries

5. Understand the available tools

All too often those who manage hybrid clouds focus solely on a small number of management tools, but they should periodically review their needs to ensure they are adequately equipped with tools to cover areas such as API management, resource management, cloud management platforms, performance management, DevOps management, security management, network management, native platform management and so on.

Hybrid clouds can be extremely complex. IT teams must consider the how their platforms and applications interact in order to ensure optimal performance. By comprehensively reviewing how data is captured, analysed, stored and retrieved, IT teams can begin to build an infrastructure that aligns to these demands.

Performance monitoring solutions help IT professionals modernise their infrastructure to get to the cloud quicker and more effectively. In doing so, IT managers can spend less time monitoring and more time optimising their environment for future growth.


Sourced by Stephen Phillips, director, Product Marketing at Quest


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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