For enterprises that are getting into cloud computing for the first time, or jumping in deeper after getting some cloud experience, the Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud can be a great fit to bring it all together.
To start, a major benefit to using Azure hybrid cloud is that enterprises which already have a deep Microsoft infrastructure will be able to bring Azure seamlessly into their IT systems, making the transition easier for IT administrators.
With that in mind, Azure hybrid cloud links with Windows Server, Active Directory, Azure SQL, Office 365 and a myriad of other Microsoft applications and platforms, while also providing favorable licensing migration terms when using other Microsoft products.
The benefits in the cloud include the ability for enterprises to use in-house datacenter compute resources, while also being able to connect to and use the cloud as needed, giving huge flexibility and agility to IT operations.
As businesses have been thinking about hybrid cloud strategies in recent years, a good strategy to take is to focus on determining the best mix of public and private clouds to pursue, wrote James Staten, chief strategist of Azure cloud and enterprise at Microsoft.
“Extending your datacenter to the cloud lowers cost, enables global reach, and inexpensively and securely provides powerful new functionalities,” wrote Staten.
At the same time, every business application won’t make sense in the cloud.
“While the cloud offers many benefits, compelling reasons may dictate that some applications or data should remain on-premises short-term or permanently,” he wrote. “For example, it may be simpler to keep a heavily used but extensively customized SAP application from 1986 on-premises rather than try to rewrite it as cloud-native. Compliance or regulatory demands may also require certain data be managed locally.”
To best plan a hybrid cloud strategy, and to ensure it is a good fit for a business, “enterprises must still prioritize which applications move first, and which later.”
Some of the issues to be considered when looking at the fit of the Azure hybrid cloud or other cloud options include whether the applications need on-demand elasticity as they are scaled up or down as required. Smaller applications and those which have fewer integrations with other applications can also be good choices for easier deployment to hybrid or other clouds.
Another key factor when looking at the cloud is the sensitivity of the data that is being moved and used, according to Staten. “Think about prioritizing applications with less sensitive data first,” he wrote. “Make sure, by the way, that you include your Information Security and Risk Management teams as you think about this. Having an enterprise-wide data classification scheme (low/ medium/ high business impact, for example) will help you.”
Prime candidates for applications that can be moved to the cloud from the start are marketing and product information sites. But, “applications that maintain customer Personally Identifiable Information; such as address, social security number, and email address, should be reviewed by your risk and security teams.”
To get a good handle on how the Azure hybrid cloud can be a good fit for an enterprise, there are a wide variety of excellent technical resources that are available to assess and determine business strategies.
Among them are:
- A Microsoft guide that details the automation and configuration of Azure, as well as on-premises and hybrid cloud resources at scale.
- A Microsoft document that lays out a variety of hybrid cloud scenarios for Azure Platform-as-a-Service.
- An Azure Blog post that details Azure migration methods and tools available to enterprises.
The Azure hybrid cloud is a great option for enterprises looking at cloud deployments, especially as they review other options including Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Google Cloud and others.
Until next time, Rob…