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March 24, 2020

8 Migration Tips and Tricks for Hybrid Architectures



As digital transformation sweeps over the world and computing demands increase at an increasingly rapid pace, data centers and computing infrastructure are being overwhelmed. Hybrid architectures and multicloud strategies combine resources from various sources and vendors, and can help you maintain better control of resource usage and scalability.



The goals behind hybrid and multicloud implementations is often to eliminate vendor-lock in and to provide improved availability and scalability, but there are many other benefits to these architectures. This article reviews the main traits and challenges of hybrid clouds, and offers eight tips for a successful migration.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture

Hybrid clouds combine a public cloud with one or more private or on-premises infrastructure. This combination is growing in popularity because of the benefits it can provide to companies. Namely, access to cloud resources with on-premises control of high priority workflows and data.

Regardless of what combination you use, all hybrid clouds include the following traits:

  • Data integration—data and workflows are synced across public clouds and other infrastructures. This is often accomplished with additional technical solutions to manage the timing and transfer of data.
  • Network connections—all infrastructures are connected via networks. Typically this involves a combination of Internet connections, virtual private networks (VPNs) and wide area networks (WANs).
  • Unified management—ideally, management tools are centralized to ensure that policies and configurations are standard across the deployment. This often involves integration via APIs.

Challenges Moving to the Hybrid Cloud

When migrating to a hybrid cloud, there are several challenges you might face. Three of the most common challenges are covered below.

Supporting Legacy Applications

Legacy applications are frequently a pain point in any cloud migration. These applications are often critical to business operations but are not compatible with cloud systems. This makes applications difficult if not impossible to migrate. It also means that you can’t get the scalability and availability benefits of the cloud with these applications.

Hybrid clouds do provide greater support for legacy applications since you can leave applications on-premises. However, you still need to orchestrate data access and potentially integrate these applications with cloud-native workloads. The major cloud providers offer services especially designed to help provide legacy applications with access to the same files using traditional file protocols like NFS, even after they move to the cloud. Two examples are Azure file storage and Amazon’s EFS.

Multicloud Implementations

Multicloud strategies, in which cloud services from multiple vendors are used, add an extra layer of complexity to hybrid clouds. This strategy is adopted because it enables you to optimize services to better fit your needs and budget. However, these services don’t always integrate well and add to the challenge of monitoring and orchestration.

Multicloud strategy with a hybrid cloud infrastructure often requires you to access multiple management portals, link APIs, and adapt to varying performance. To accomplish this, you need staff with expertise of each cloud vendor you use and the know-how to integrate services as smoothly as possible.

Complying with Regulatory Requirements

With data spread across multiple services and infrastructures, compliance can be an issue with hybrid clouds. At the same time, hybrid clouds can make some aspects of compliance easier. For example, retaining your more sensitive data on-premises provides better control of data and enables you to more fully limit data access.

Cloud services do often provide services to meet compliance but it is up to you to ensure that these services are configured correctly. It is also up to you to ensure that services meet your specific compliance needs. For example, some regulations restrict data locality, which can be hard to manage in distributed cloud services. Ensuring that all aspects of your infrastructure comply often requires significant expertise and effort that you may need to outsource.

8 Hybrid Cloud Migration Tips and Tricks

Although migrating to a hybrid cloud has its challenges, you can migrate successfully. The following tips and tricks can help you ensure that your migration is as smooth as possible.

1. Use pipelines

Pipelines enable you to control and monitor the migration and deployment process from start to finish. These tools can enable you to standardize the process of migration and facilitate the delivery of workloads.

2. Embrace automation

Try to automate as much of the migration process as possible. Doing so can help you significantly reduce the amount of manual effort that you need to put in. It can also help you ensure that resources and configurations are consistent across your systems. In combination with pipelines, automation can also help you roll out changes to your environments and services with minimal impact on your workloads.

3. Create templates

Templates help you clearly define how you want your system configured and can help ensure that these standards are followed. Templates also enable you to quickly distribute expertise and delegate tasks. For example, you can have your most expert staff develop templates to be used successfully by junior or less expert staff.

4. Migrate in phases

One of the greatest benefits of a hybrid cloud is the ability to migrate in phases while remaining productive. Use this benefit to your advantage and migrate data and applications over time. Migrating in phases relieves the time pressure that you might otherwise face and enables you to refine your migration processes as you go.

5. Evaluate your applications

You should not assume that all applications have to or even can be moved. Some legacy applications are best kept in the cloud while others can be moved or replaced without issue. When making this decision, you need to look at both the functionality and the architecture of your applications. After that, you can begin assessing whether an application should be migrated and what needs to be done to make migration effective.

6. Make sure your goals match

A hybrid cloud system does you no good if it doesn’t support your business goals and objectives. Likewise, migrating workloads and data just for the sake of migration is a waste. To ensure that your migration is efficient and adds value, you need to ensure your goals and expectations match your capabilities. To ensure this, make sure to include stakeholders and executive-level staff in your planning phases.

7. Prioritize your migration

Complimenting the best practice of migrating in phases, is the need to prioritize your migration. You don’t want to just start moving whatever data or applications you see. Doing so interrupts your workflows and makes the migration process more difficult. Instead, determine what assets you want to move and then determine asset migration priority.

In general, starting with small, simple workloads is best. This strategy enables you to test your migration processes and configurations and ensure that everything is working as expected. When you start small, if something goes wrong the impact is negligible and methods can be more quickly refined.

8. Test your configurations

Testing your configurations and the functionality of your migrated data or applications is vital. You should be testing throughout the migration process and continue periodic testing after migration is complete. This helps ensure that you do not get the end of your migration only to find that your data was corrupted during transfer or that interfaces are not working.

Periodic testing after migration helps you ensure that configurations remain correct and can help you identify issues that were originally missed. It can also help you refine your hybrid cloud performance.

Conclusion

A hybrid cloud can help you avoid vendor lock in and maintain a high level of control over your computing resources. However, hybrid can be a challenging implementation due to legacy applications, complex connectivity integrations, and regulatory requirements. That does not mean you cannot successfully architect your own hybrid cloud. Use the tips in this article as a base to assess your current posture, and implement as needed in your infrastructure.

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Author Bio


 

I'm a technology writer with 30 years experience, covering areas ranging from fintech and digital marketing to cybersecurity and coding practices.

LinkedIn (News - Alert): https://www.linkedin.com/in/leahfainchteinbuenavida/



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