How to Design your Hybrid Multi-Cloud Storage Strategy
| 7 minute read
Hybrid Cloud storage is an approach to managing cloud storage that uses both local and off-site resources. The hybrid cloud storage infrastructure is often used to supplement internal data storage with public cloud storage. Hybrid cloud storage is a critical component of an overall hybrid cloud strategy, as one drives the other. 94% of enterprises are pursuing a Hybrid Cloud Strategy in 2020. Cloud technologies, and to some extent on-premises technologies, have matured to make the Cloud value proposition less ‘either/or’, rather an ‘AND’ proposition.
Hybrid Cloud isn’t “to cloud or not to cloud” as Deepa Krishnan, IBM offering management director, wrote in her blog, rather “What is the best way to optimise my IT environment to drive my business forward”? The maturity of these technologies makes almost IT vision possible – all within your specific cost, regulatory compliance, and security configuration framework.
What Is Hybrid Cloud Storage?
When implemented successfully, no one in your organisation should know as the hybrid environment will act as a single storage system. Before we dive deeper into Hybrid Storage for enterprises, let’s first define the many terms associated with Hybrid cloud storage:
On-premise: This is the IT infrastructure you own, located inside a data centre or colocation facility. You bought the enterprise servers, storage environment, switches (etc). and you are responsible for the management and administration of the overall IT environment.
Public Cloud: This is the IT infrastructure you don’t own and pay for access through a cloud services provider such as IBM Cloud. The public cloud vendor provides access to a set of standardized resources and services and is available on a pay-per-use consumption model.
Private Cloud: Provides a cloud-like solution within a defined hardware footprint. Also known as a corporate/internal cloud.
Hybrid Cloud: Combines resources from private, public, and on-premises environments to take advantage of the cost-effectiveness each platform can deliver.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Storage
Enterprises adopting a hybrid cloud strategy view this as the optimal approach to address the constant explosive growth of data and content and to derive value from such data. Enterprises deploying a Hybrid Cloud Storage strategy are realising several benefits that may only be possible through a hybrid approach. These benefits include:
- Extending the life of on-premise storage and maximising such investments
- More predictable storage usage and scalability based on changing storage needs
- Better control over data costs
- Reclaiming on-site storage capacity
- Optimising the balance between storage costs and data value
- Improving disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) strategies
- Simplifying operations and saving time for IT personnel
Hybrid Storage Use Cases
You can use hybrid storage for a variety of purposes. The most common use cases include:
Sharing application data: Frequently you need to be able to access application data both on-premise and in the Cloud. Many applications share data and you may have applications in both environments. This requires applications to be able to access data no matter where the application is hosted. Hybrid storage enables you to share this data smoothly.
Cloud backup and archive: You can use hybrid storage to optimise backups and archives across multiple sites. For example, simple solutions will help you quickly and securely move backups to Cloud locations. Advanced solutions can help you combine back-ups from multiple sites into a centralised location for faster RTO and RPO.
Multi-site data: Hybrid storage can help you share data across sites while keeping data consistent. You can use hybrid storage solutions to synchronise data, ensuring that all storage resources contain reliable copies.
Extending on-premise data to the cloud Hybrid storage systems are used to supplement local data storage with cloud storage resources. These systems use policy engines to maintain active data on-site and move infrequently used data to cloud storage.
Big data applications Hybrid storage can help you process and analyze big data more efficiently. Using hybrid storage, you can easily transfer datasets from the cloud for in-house computations or vice versa. You can also more easily isolate sensitive or regulated data.
The 4 Areas to Assess when Designing a Hybrid Cloud Storage Strategy
A successful hybrid cloud strategy depends on a successful hybrid cloud storage environment. A Hybrid Cloud Storage Strategy starts not with the technology but rather understanding the complete picture of your data:
The Relationship between Your Data and Applications (Data Gravity)
- What is the scope and size of your datasets?
- Where does most of your data live? Is this ideal?
- What applications need to access this data?
- Can the data be easily moved? If the data needs to move, are there additional changes that need to occur to facilitate the change?
- Access: Who should have access to your data? Perhaps more importantly, who should NOT have access to your data?
- Monitoring: How are you keeping an eye on the above two groups of people?
- Lifecycle: How long is your data valid/relevant/useful?
- Retention: What backups and disaster recovery options do you need for your data?
- Compliance: What, if any, governance law dictates where and how long your data can live?
- Latency: Do any of your applications have latency requirements? What is the impact if they are not met?
- Frequency of Access: How often does your data need to be accessed? This is important, as it can impact operating costs
- Growth: How will data growth impact overall performance?
- Data Types: How easy is it to sift through your data (structured vs. unstructured)?
- Cost: Considerations include price, performance, tiers, and data transfer rates
- High availability requirements & Network connectivity: While related to latency, this consideration goes further when moving data to the cloud, as internal networking equipment may need to be updated to ensure reliable connections, you cannot consistently access data and services
- Alignment of your data strategy to your overarching business strategy
- Data integration: Data needs to be synced across your infrastructures. Managing this synchronisation can be challenging without an automated process. Products like IBM Cloud Paks enable this data integration
- Unified management: Smooth operations require unified, centralised visibility and management. Platforms like Red Hat OpenShift can drive this optimisation and automation
Many storage vendors have hybrid storage solutions that are proprietary and another form of lock-in.
Many enterprises are preferring to consolidate their hybrid cloud storage without being forced down one on-premise storage manufacturer. We can show you how to avoid a closed path whilst receiving consistent management of your data across storage vendors and across public cloud providers.
How TES can Help You Pursue the Right Strategy
The Enterprise Storage Technical Specialists at TES can guide you to the ideal computing environment, whether on-premise or hybrid Cloud. Using a unique blend of assessment processes and analysis tools, see how you can select the ideal strategy for your operating environment – often at no charge to you.
See if you qualify for the free personalised storage assessment with one of our Enterprise Cloud Storage Technical Specialists. Request the storage assessment here