How Hybrid Cloud is Being Used by Real Enterprises

RE:IMAGINE Performance 31st October, 2020

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Industry analysts report that over 90% of the Fortune 500 is expected to be running hybrid cloud architecture in daily operations by 2020. The vast majority of all enterprise companies contract with AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform for multi-tenant data centre services in hyper-scale facilities. Some companies use public cloud resources for websites and mobile applications, but manage other productivity, logistics, database, and manufacturing software on private cloud networks.

Enterprise corporations are increasingly migrating internal services like CRM software, accounting, word processing, spreadsheets, AutoCAD, video editing, and graphic art to cloud servers through SaaS/PaaS, GPU/TPU, and VDI platforms. As the percentage of enterprise organisations adopting machine learning and artificial intelligence increases, the major public cloud service providers expect a major uptake on TPU platforms to support self-driving, autonomous vehicle networks and other new AI/ML/DL applications. Hybrid cloud architecture is now regarded as the future of Enterprise IT.

The Hybrid Cloud in Enterprise IT: Introduction & Overview

More and more enterprise organisations are choosing the hybrid cloud model as their primary source of network management, data security protection, and IT resource sharing. A recent study has shown that 84% of enterprise groups already have a hybrid cloud strategy. The popularity of a hybrid model can be attributed to the ease and flexibility of mixing hardware resources on private and public clouds in production.

Some quick facts to consider about the current enterprise IT landscape:

  • The hybrid cloud model evolved out of traditional enterprise data centre technology that functioned as private servers on LAN/WAN fundamentals with local on-premise hardware connected directly to high-speed fibre optic networks.
  • The hybrid cloud improves enterprise support for Agile programming teams working together to build new software in support of manufacturing & sales.
  • The traditional corporate LAN must now support SD-WAN routing protocols in hybrid cloud architecture across public and private cloud hardware resources through the use of virtualisation standards like hypervisors and containers.
  • The in-house data centre traditionally favoured by enterprise corporations with private servers is now managed on multi-cloud fundamentals as a SDDC.
  • The Kubernetes orchestration platform evolved out of the “Borg” system that Google used to support billions of active containers in simultaneous runtime.
  • Enterprise data centres must support now support of thousands of Microservices in active production on web servers driven by OS & partition-level virtualisation.

Most enterprise companies seek to implement leading-edge data centre technologies based on hybrid cloud architecture from top public cloud vendors to solve these issues in production at scale for their internal/external corporate data centre requirements.

What can a hybrid cloud be used for?

The transformation into a more digitised world and workplace means that industries need to readily adapt and transform into a digital business. Implementing cloud services is imperative for the growth and success of a business, with companies able to customise the customer experience, as well as improve collaboration, flexibility, and data management capabilities internally. The hybrid cloud has become even more important for small to medium-sized businesses for whom the hybrid model can boost time and market growth, as well as security mitigation. Elastic web server platforms like AWS EC2 and Kubernetes allow for more efficient resource allocation at scale in support of websites and mobile applications. Businesses seek better speed for ecommerce applications or media-streaming software that places heavy strain on web servers with high demand.

Some of the main areas where hybrid cloud architecture is commonly implemented by companies in Enterprise IT support are:

  • Private cloud bursting

    In cloud computing, cloud bursting is an application set up between private and public clouds to deal with high capacity demands. It refers to a situation where a workload is spilled over into a different cloud environment to manage capacity spikes. A hybrid cloud model is designed to handle cloud bursting and help reduce latency issues. Cloud bursting can be a useful tool to avoid overcapacity and a system crash that may prove detrimental. An example of the benefits of cloud bursting can be seen in the ecommerce field. If a page load delay happens while a customer is browsing products on a website, it can be enough for them to abandon the page or shopping cart and move onto a competitor. An industry-giant such as Amazon can expect to lose over $66,000 in revenue for each minute of downtime. Private cloud bursting makes heavy use of SDN and encryption for security across the hardware and communication of financial data.

  • Disaster recovery & backups

    Hybrid cloud customers can benefit from implementing a disaster recovery plan. An economical and effective backup system safeguards your business data and applications, protecting them from a natural disaster or human error. In the event of a disaster, administrators can swiftly start the application from the public cloud, where data is already present. Without a disaster recovery toolkit, organisations can face significant losses and damage to their IT systems that support their business and customer service. It has been reported that approximately 75% of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. Companies that don’t have a disaster recovery plan and suffer major data loss with downtime can easily be out of business within one year. Disaster recovery and backups can be integrated with real-time network monitoring, anti-virus, firewall support, data analytics, and version control for software development teams.

  • Automated software testing

    It makes a lot of sense for organisations to use the public cloud option in a hybrid model to test an application before launching it onto the private cloud with CI/CD. Once an organisation can establish a steady workload pattern and foresee longevity of the application, they may choose to launch it into a private cloud environment for sandbox testing in isolation before going live. Other development teams use cloud sandboxes, version control with Git/SVN, automated testing with software utilities, and elastic web server platforms in one unified suite of collaboration options. Many IDEs include software testing utilities that speed production and increase programming efficiency. Artificial intelligence and deep learning are increasingly becoming common in automated software testing of code before it’s shipped live to patch known bugs and plug exploit vulnerabilities.

  • CI/CD & DevOps requirements

    Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) has become a standard for DevOps teams involved in multi-person collaboration when programming new software applications for web, mobile, and desktop. CI/CD works well with Agile project management strategies and involves the swift production of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that’s released in stages into live production. As new features, improvements, bug fixes, and security upgrades are introduced into the codebase, version control is used to manage and test changes between multiple members of the programming team. Applications are frequently containerised using Docker and Kubernetes, or supported through VMs running different operating systems on web servers. Microservice support operates at the web server layer of the service mesh through CI/CD and popular DevOps utilities for scripted deployments.

  • Web Server Stack Automation

    Most Enterprise IT departments globally are adopting hybrid cloud architecture for improved automation of web stack deployment for SaaS/PaaS support. Docker and Kubernetes allow web servers to be deployed with complete Microservice provisioning for software runtime compiled in seconds from GitHub, DockerHub, or another disk image repository. Developers use complex SDN scripting to weave software and hardware resources together across the service mesh on hybrid cloud architecture. DevOps tools like Jenkins, Vagrant, Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc. are popular in data centre automation of web servers for HA requirements that support popular websites and mobile apps at global scale.

Hybrid cloud: Use case scenarios in industry

Hybrid cloud solutions are now widely used across the manufacturing, media publishing, healthcare, governance, and education sectors for both public-facing and internal software requirements. Hybrid cloud saves enterprise businesses on the cost of maintaining complex data centre operations and continual hardware upgrades in on-premise facilities, as well as through the maintenance of security by remote technicians. SaaS/PaaS products offer enterprise businesses the best IT cost savings by speeding up the time of delivery on required software products.

The most popular example of a public cloud software business model is Netflix, which operates around 13% of the world’s total internet bandwidth and runs on AWS hardware platforms. The world’s largest banking and finance companies, including VISA, MasterCard, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and others, have outsourced their data centre operations to the public cloud to save costs without compromising data security. The public cloud vendors each operate huge web properties like YouTube (Google), Office365 (Microsoft), and (AWS) on their own platforms at scale with proven efficiency. Public cloud hardware runs the majority of popular web & mobile applications for both enterprise corporations and startup companies.

There are many examples of uses of the hybrid cloud across different industries. Industry-specific cases include:

  • Financial services

    Banking, stock trading, credit card, and financial services corporations like VISA, MasterCard, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays have all adopted public cloud architecture globally in support of their products and brands. For increased data security and internal operations, most still maintain a private cloud in hybrid cloud architecture. Ecommerce facilities are common across multinational enterprise in support of products, but often require extensive Microservice support for thousands of domains. An organisation bound by compliance regulations and other factors has commonly prevented businesses from moving to the cloud. This may even include data points that are extremely sensitive and must be carefully controlled. Fortunately, compliance and the hybrid cloud have come a long way, with many government organisations and those with case-sensitive information now able to run government clouds or Compliant Cloud Service Providers (CSPs).

  • Healthcare organisations

    A healthcare organisation needs extra resources in a public cloud to process large amounts of data. They don’t want to spend money on internal resources, and can take advantage of the AWS platform’s “pay-as-you-go” model. By utilising a key partnership between Citrix and AWS, healthcare organisations are able to create a direct link between their public cloud and private data centre. Because of this, they can use the hybrid cloud to migrate applications and manage workloads and medical data. This results in increased security, data analytics, and institutional efficiency. Hospitals use SDN routing to routinely share medical records internationally for transcripting or BPO.

  • Multimedia publishing

    A multimedia organisation needs extra resources for applications running during peak timeframes. This can include shopping seasons and other important holiday times where usage is at its maximum levels. The hybrid capability helps with cloud bursting, as well as auto-scaling capabilities, booting-up extra workloads when peak usage times hit, and degrading them when the hardware is no longer required. Commands set the auto-scaler parameters to help administrators better manage data centre resources within both the private and public cloud environment. AWS EC2, OpenStack, and Kubernetes support the largest media publishing organisations in the world through video, film, TV, newspaper, magazines, music, and more in online multimedia publishing.

The main principle is that the public cloud vendors have hyper-scale data centre facilities and cutting-edge software development products that other IT majors don’t have the internal resources to develop. The Fortune 500 and other enterprise companies globally adopt Google, Microsoft, and AWS cloud platform tools because of their superior performance in support of DevOps in production operations. IBM is using RedHat and CoreOS to scale rapidly with Kubernetes in the hybrid cloud market. The public cloud model has created a huge ecosystem of third-party software that’s built for enterprise use cases.

Hybrid cloud gives enterprise businesses the best of both worlds.

Building organisational success with a hybrid cloud

There are many reasons for organisations to use the hybrid cloud model, but most important is that it supports the everyday workflow of complex corporations. The above examples are just a few of the reasons that Harbour IT recommends hybrid cloud solutions for enterprise. There are new cases being created every day, where every business has unique IT requirements in support of products, brands, manufacturing, and customer services. If you’re new to the hybrid cloud or want to speak to an expert for more information on hybrid use cases, contact us. Our experts are prepared to provide you with a complimentary Strategic IT Review for you on hybrid cloud migration for your organisation.


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