Most enterprises today employ some form of hybrid cloud — and it’s easy to see why. After years of private and public cloud development, organizations have found that the price and scalability advantages of public offerings, when combined with the security and high sense of control a private cloud brings, optimize many of the key performance requirements for modern IT.
Implementing a hybrid cloud, however, is a specialized task. The goal is to create a unified, secure and interoperable computing environment that is able to communicate and scale quickly. Here are four best practices that can help an organization realize its hybrid objectives:
Cloudbursting is a scaling technique in which applications in a data center or private cloud automatically “burst” into the public cloud when predetermined thresholds are exceeded for CPU use or other network resources.
Cloudbursting has many advantages. It provides instant capacity, with a greatly reduced risk for outages or interruptions. It reduces on-premises hardware expenditures, ensures SLAs, and frees up internal resources for mission-critical and/or highly sensitive processes. And of course, it allows IT to pay only for the resources it needs, on an as-you-go basis.
As a hybrid cloud strategy, cloudbursting is best used for high performance, non-critical applications as well as those that don’t rely on complex infrastructure. It is also well suited for non-sensitive tasks that spike intermittently — for example, academic research projects, tourism apps, news organizations and the like.
Because security is a prime consideration in any use of public cloud, cloudbursting may not be appropriate for confidential data, such as credit card or personal health information. Management tools must cover both environments as well, to adequately monitor operation.
Elastic Load Balancing
As a best practice for high availability, elastic load balancing ensures consistent access to applications, content and services. The procedure employs a load balancer that manages virtual machines on public and private clouds in geo-specific locations. As the single point of contact, the load balancer manages traffic to eliminate congestion caused by Internet slowdowns or by high user demand.
Load balancing is especially useful in instances where multimedia streaming or other high-volume content delivery is necessary. If users are in the U.S. while content resides in Hong Kong, for instance, delays and diminished user experiences can result. Elastic load balancing prevents the problem by routing requests to the quickest or closest virtual machine.
Data Shard Replication
Closely aligned to elastic load balancing is the idea of data sharding. Especially useful for organizations making heavy use of relational databases, data sharding ensures high applications availability and helps prevent data loss.
A shard is a horizontal partition of data in a database. For tables that are divided and distributed into multiple servers, search performance can be improved by separating the tables by rows versus columns, reducing the index size. Each horizontal partition forms part of a shard, which can be located either on a separate database server or at different physical locations.
By automatically synchronizing shards to different clouds, enterprises can assure scaling as well as failover protection. Updates to data at the data center are replicated at the private cloud location — or vice versa, should the application be hosted remotely.
Unified Health Monitoring
Overseeing a hybrid cloud solution can be daunting. Because the new model of corporate computing has forever shifted to multi-site, multi-vendor resourcing, enterprises must manage their diversified IT resources as a single, albeit dynamic, system. This requires a unified monitoring approach.
Whichever monitoring solution you choose, make sure it covers all the bases. It’s important, for example, to collect and normalize KPI data for the network, CPU utilization, storage, even usage expenditures. It’s also essential to monitor your end user experience, especially responses times and availability.
Like most best practices for the hybrid cloud, monitoring is a necessary step to guarantee the cost-efficiency, security and speed of your IT computing tasks. By planning and implementing wisely, you can be sure your hybrid environment will deliver the performance and ROI your organization is looking for.
Appcara (News - Alert) delivers a simple-to-use cloud management platform for enterprises to accelerate their on-ramp to the cloud. Its flagship product, App360, unifies complex IT operations of private, public and hybrid clouds. Featuring a user-friendly portal, App360 automates application deployment services as well as the migration of legacy IT environments to your cloud. App360 eliminates the need for multiple control panels, administrators, vendor lock-in, thus greatly reducing operational expenses and time to provision.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi