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Hybrid cloud gains traction in Asia Pacific
Cloud computing has become an integral part of every company’s IT strategy. There are different types of cloud computing options available for customers. There is the public cloud in which companies use the services of cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). All services and applications sit on servers run by the service provider.
The other extreme is the private cloud wherein the cloud servers are under the jurisdiction and control of the company using the service. In between is the hybrid cloud which is a combination of the best attributes of both the public as well as private clouds. Some applications and services sit in a public cloud while others are hosted on private servers.
A hybrid cloud allows for data and applications to be shared between the public as well as private clouds. Hybrid clouds usually work on the application and infrastructure layer. On the infrastructure layer, a hybrid cloud is formed by the combination of virtual machines from different cloud services. In the application layer, a hybrid cloud is formed with components in existing applications or different SaaS (software as a service) offerings within the data centre of an enterprise.
A hybrid cloud environment offers numerous benefits, such as access through a single point of contact; sharing the network infrastructure; and monitoring, delivering, and managing hosting services. Hybrid cloud users get the ability to integrate co-location, dedicated servers, and virtualized environments to construct a hybrid hosting environment. This allows them to host their most important programs and applications on the most suitable hosting platform.
While the business case behind hybrid clouds is well understood, a study done by 451 Research, shows that many enterprises in the Asia Pacific region are going ahead with plans to implement a hybrid cloud without a formal strategy in place.
The whitepaper by 451 Research, “Going Hybrid: Demand for Cloud and Managed Services Across Asia-Pacific”, was commissioned by NTT Communications in partnership with VMware. The survey was conducted in six countries (Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia) and looks into how the market will shape up in 2019 and beyond.
More than 90 per cent of firms surveyed say they have multiple cloud environments in place with varying degrees of interoperability, from mostly siloed to completely hybrid. More than half are already using hybrid cloud – seamlessly delivering functions across multiple cloud environments.
Only a small minority – less than 10 per cent – note that they focus primarily on a single cloud environment, and this group represents a spectrum of use cases, from businesses taking the first steps via on-premises private cloud deployment to rarer cases of businesses that are “all in” on a single public cloud environment.
According to the whitepaper, multi-cloud has become the norm for most enterprises across Asia Pacific. More than 90 per cent of businesses have multiple cloud environments with varying degrees of interoperability, and more than half note that they are already using hybrid cloud. However, nearly 44 per cent have begun implementing hybrid cloud pilots without an overarching strategy in place.
The survey adds that more than half the enterprises focus on migrating workloads from their internal environments when deploying into the public cloud, with 28 per cent focussing on a “lift and shift” approach and another 28 per cent refactoring before moving. Another third is focussing on public cloud for net new applications.
The survey adds that around 55 per cent of the respondents have worked with or will work with a service provider partner to help execute their hybrid cloud plans, either for deployment and migration (21 per cent) or to support ongoing operation (35 per cent). Access to better tools and to specialist skills are key reasons for this relationship.
A key consideration that is driving hybrid cloud migration is security and compliance, with 95 per cent of enterprises rating it as its top requirement. In addition, nearly half of respondents point to improvements in the consistency of security policies across environments and better management of risk – challenges that can emerge as businesses begin to employ multiple cloud environments.
Enterprises embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy must ensure they build in security, but designing and applying security for hybrid cloud is challenging, and a task that is sometimes outside the capabilities of an organisation’s own security team the study nots. More than 50 per cent of enterprises point to the fact that they use managed services at some point in their cloud journey.
Beyond security, enterprises are also turning to managed services providers who support the initial design and implementation of the hybrid cloud, as well as its ongoing operation, to continually optimise workloads between various infrastructure environments for the best mix of performance, availability, security and cost.
Despite the high degree of interest, a significant portion of large enterprises lack a formal hybrid-cloud strategy in the Asia Pacific region, notes Dave Scott, NTT Communications’ Solutions Director, Managed Services. While they recognise the potential benefits, they underestimate the technical complexity which may derail their business modernisation efforts if they do not have a future-proof hybrid cloud plan, he adds.
The survey points out that in terms of hybrid workload deployment plans, there is little uniformity across all the businesses. In the next two years, CRM (customer relationship management)/sales and marketing (49 per cent), database and data warehousing (48 per cent) and file and content storage (47 per cent) will be the key focus for workloads to be shifted to the hybrid cloud environments, up from 25, 28 and 28 per cent respectively. The strong traction indicates enterprises’ growing confidence in hybrid cloud to support their full spectrum of business requirements and application portfolios.
The 451 Research survey gives the following suggestions to enterprise IT decision makers to look into when considering building hybrid cloud environments:
- If a hybrid cloud strategy is not already in place, it is important to create one. A strong, formal hybrid strategy can lead to informed technology decisions and help to avoid costly changes or refactoring later.
- Companies should consider engaging a professional services firm to give advice on business development. The needs of the business – not just the needs of IT – should be the driving force in a hybrid cloud strategy. This engagement could include an audit of current application cloud-readiness, including identifying dependencies and other priorities that will help to identify the correct execution venues.
- Engage with existing service providers – including ISVs (independent software vendors), systems integrators, telcos and others to gather perspectives for a hybrid cloud strategy. Their services will be part of the hybrid whole, but they may also seek the opportunity to add value as cloud-enablement partners.
- It is critical to implement a data and information security and compliance plan as while executing a strategy for hybrid cloud. This should go beyond back-up or disaster recovery to include assessment of risk and monitoring of exposure.
- Companies should examine the use cases for hybrid cloud on an individual workload basis. They should consider the business requirements of each workload and how all workloads can best be integrated and deployed. Time spent at the planning stage will save time and help avoid implementation delays later.
To download the whitepaper, please visit https://www.hybridcloud-apac.com/get-whitepaper/
And/or find out how NTT Com can help with you on your cloud journey please visit http://nttcloudsolutions.com/