It is now obvious: the hybrid cloud is permanently installed in information systems. Markess believes that “the PaaS and iPaaS segment is driven by the advent of hybrid and multi-cloud cloud environments”. A study of 451 Research for its part, among the large European companies, 6 out of 10 have already adopted the hybrid cloud.
And for good reason: the Information System (IS) modernization goes through the cloud and, even more so, through the “clouds”. But while the hybrid cloud is paving the way for this modernization of IT, it also creates new challenges for businesses. And calls for skills that represent the heart of an outsourcer expertises.
Pass the complexity of a hybrid cloud
The first challenge: to overcome the complexity of the hybrid cloud. A company is already having trouble mastering the inventory of a physical data center; Not surprisingly, the problem will not magically disappear with the hybrid cloud. Especially since this hybridization borrows multiple forms:
- Public cloud infrastructure and on-premises
- Public and private cloud
- Several public clouds
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) models.
Whatever combination is chosen, rules must be defined to better allocate resources across different types of infrastructure and services. Everything depends on the objectives here. To maximize availability, a multi-region DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) can be architected by combining cloud and on-premises infrastructures. To optimize performance over water, the mechanisms of autoscaling (for VMs) or auto healing (for containers) of private and public clouds will be used.
Of course, the issues of security and data confidentiality influence all choices. Reading the possible options is not only technical but also legal, considering the regulations at work (RGPD, Patriot Act, Cloud Act …). In all cases, outsourcing starts here with a rigorous study of the target architecture, a study that requires expert knowledge of cloud platforms.
Ensure unified hybrid cloud management
The rules of the game are defined, but still it is necessary to be able to submit all the components of a hybrid environment to the same service commitment.
Objective: to provide a unified management of distributed resources on different infrastructures. This “tooling” includes software tools as such – often developed specifically by the outsourcer – and, most importantly, methods to ensure end-to-end service engagement.
Given the complexity inherent in a hybrid environment, this commitment will be more tenable if the outsourcer is involved in the design of the architecture. This is one of the main changes brought about by the cloud and even more so by the hybrid cloud: the outsourcer’s SLAs depends directly on its upstream involvement. Difficult to ensure consistent performance of the environment when, for example, storage services selected from different cloud providers do not allow it.
Think “FinOps” to master the cost of hybrid cloud
At large enterprise’s scale, a hybrid cloud environment serves several entities (Business Units, departments, services …) in several countries. And with the development of matrix organizations, the organization chart is no longer contain in two dimensions. As a result, for a CIO the chargeback of services quickly takes the form of a puzzle. Especially since these services do not want to be billed abstract units (cloud resources with barbaric names) but concrete services (a website, an app, etc.). Logic: the cloud does not promise since its origin per usage consumption?
In a hybrid environment, this re-invoicing of resources is a subject that requires specific expertise. No wonder the notion of “FinOps” (for Financial Operations) is needed to designate this work of optimization and budget reventilating. Midway between engineering and contract management and continuous improvement, the FinOps approach aims to think of the architecture of a hybrid environment (not only it) to optimize costs, facilitate their reading and invoicing. The challenge is to transcribe units of work of different resources in … euros.
To achieve this, the outsourcer relies on his own portfolio management tools, on his fine control of the calculation methods of cloud services and on artificial intelligence tools to initiate significant optimizations. This expertise allows him to anticipate the potential “hidden” costs that, again in a hybrid environment, differ from one cloud to another.