Public, private or hybrid? Not every cloud operating model is equally suited to every workload. Some divisions of a company may work with highly sensitive data, while others simply require maximum computing power, and others place the highest value on low latency. Hybrid scenarios whereby companies obtain IT infrastructure from both the public cloud and the private cloud are very much in vogue. This is confirmed by various studies, including a recent one carried out by market researcher PAC, which found that around 85 percent of German SMEs are already using hybrid operating models.
However, the architecture, set up and operation of a hybrid cloud infrastructure are highly complex. That’s why it’s important to have a detailed planning phase before introducing these kinds of solutions. What exactly needs to be considered? Here are five professional tips, using the Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid as an example:
1. Ensure uniform hardware and software basis
In order to rule out compatibility problems from the outset when introducing a hybrid cloud, companies should ensure that they choose a provider that builds and operates all instances on a uniform hardware and software basis. "For many providers, it’s the exact opposite," says Sascha Smets, Senior Product Manager at T-Systems. "Hardly anyone offers exactly the same hardware that is found in the data center of a public cloud provider. This often leads to compatibility problems, for example at the network level."
With the Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid, Telekom offers the option of operating private and public instances with identical hardware and software components. For example – just like in the public instance of the Open Telekom Cloud – the open cloud standard OpenStack is also used in the private environment. The hardware also corresponds to the same components as those used in the Open Telekom Cloud data centers in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Companies benefit from this in several ways: the compatibility of the instances with each other is guaranteed right from the start. If you develop applications in the private instance, you can also run them in the public instance without any problems. Furthermore, companies can more easily implement so-called bursting scenarios: In the event that certain processes require extremely high IT resources at short notice, resources can be spontaneously added from the public cloud – without the need for performing lengthy configuration. One example is in the area of high performance computing, where companies only need extreme capacities from time to time. Another is the retail trade, where during the busy Christmas period double the amount of resources is needed at short notice in the web shop.
2. Get support for set up, operation and service directly from the provider
When it comes to setting up and operating a hybrid cloud infrastructure, companies are usually on their own. That’s because they don’t typically receive support from the cloud provider for private instances. Companies only receive help from IT service providers from whom they purchase hardware components that are suitable for operating a private cloud instance and can be combined with certain public cloud instances. This is a complex undertaking with no guarantee of success, which requires several contractual partners at the same time – and makes troubleshooting more difficult in the event of a problem.
That’s why users are better off with a provider like Telekom, which provides companies with its own experts for setting up and managing a hybrid cloud infrastructure. This ensures that the components are compatible with each other in the long term. And if problems or questions arise, the experts are also available after implementation. "If you choose the Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid you don’t have to worry about implementation, operation, maintenance and service, because Deutsche Telekom experts meet the highest security standards," says Frank Strecker, responsible for Deutsche Telekom's cloud business. "We are currently the only provider on the market to offer this kind of managed hybrid cloud model based on OpenStack.”
3. Round-the-clock support directly from the provider
The supplier should ensure that a competent contact person is available at all times to deal with any issues: Support also plays a decisive role in private instances. However, some companies opt to rely on their own personnel resources, which are usually not available around the clock. Or they may enlist the services of an external IT service provider. The ideal solution is when the provider provides support directly. However, most of them only support their own public instances if something goes wrong. As part of the Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid, Telekom offers the same first, second and third-level support for private instances as for public cloud instances.
4. Optional connection between private and public cloud
Anyone purchasing IT infrastructure from the hybrid cloud will usually want to use both operating models in parallel and divide workloads between public and hybrid as required. Some companies also want to isolate certain workloads in the private cloud, for example to comply with strict compliance guidelines. "In the healthcare sector, for example, there are companies that have to operate certain workloads exclusively in private clouds without any connection to the shared infrastructure," says Sascha Smets of T-Systems. "With the Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid, we are currently the only provider on the market that offers the option of operating private instances completely separately from the public infrastructure, but with the same look and feel.”
5. Turn CAPEX into OPEX
A major advantage of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) models is that they can be used as needed: renting the required infrastructure and thus transforming investment costs (CAPEX) into operating costs (OPEX). However, to benefit from this you have to ensure that all the components of the infrastructure – not just the virtual ones – can be rented when you set up a hybrid cloud. Sascha Smets: "Anyone who buys the hardware for the private components of their hybrid cloud is taking the demand principle to an absurd level. If, on the other hand, you avoid the high one-off costs, you can instead invest in your core business and fully exploit the economic potential of the cloud. To do so, companies need a provider who can also supply the private share as an OPEX model."
The Open Telekom Cloud Hybrid, for example, is based on this principle. Users choose the scope of the private part of their hybrid cloud solution, Telekom implements the desired configuration in the customer's data center or, alternatively, in one of T-Systems' highly secure data centers. Payments are made in monthly installments, the hardware is managed by T-Systems experts, kept up to date in agreed cycles and can be expanded at any time if required.
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