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June 14, 2021
By Ernest Sampera
As cloud computing evolved from cutting-edge to operational norm, business leaders struggled to choose between the security and reliability of private cloud infrastructure and the cost and flexibility of a public cloud platform. Fortunately, a third option emerged — both.
Hybrid cloud deployments balance the benefits of private and public cloud solutions and have quickly become a go-to strategy in the IT toolbox. Today, more than half of enterprises report using a hybrid cloud architecture, with small and midsize businesses quickly following suit.
MSPs and consultants are often sought out for their cloud expertise, and clients are increasingly initiating discussions around hybrid architecture. Having an effective and efficient framework for hybrid deployment is a competitive advantage, demonstrating an understanding of client needs and the current IT landscape.
Hybrid cloud architecture is generally arranged in one of two ways. In one model, mission-critical data and applications are hosted on a private cloud while less-sensitive files live within the public cloud. In the second, a private cloud is the primary site for all data storage with the public cloud utilized in times of high demand.
Both hybrid structures allow IT leaders to invest in what works for them in the moment, while also giving them the flexibility to adapt their architecture later. For example, if a business is prone to having varying amounts of data at any particular time, hybrid cloud can provide the opportunity to scale up and down according to their needs. Hybrid environments also make it easier to add solutions that might exceed the capacity of private, on-premises infrastructure, without having to quickly source additional hardware or make major network changes.
On the other hand, hybrid cloud deployments also empower organizations (and their MSPs) with greater control over their networks, data and applications, providing the scalability that comes with public cloud environments while maintaining the security and reliability that comes with a private cloud. They also allow more established organizations to safely store historic, sensitive data and proprietary solutions without having to make costly upgrades to legacy systems.
For some business leaders, public cloud platforms seem like the straightforward approach, easier than adopting a more complex hybrid architecture. This is especially true for those who are familiar with the cost of building and maintaining on-premises infrastructure. However, like hybrid cloud itself, there is a middle ground that offers the best of both worlds — colocation.
Colocation provides a shortcut to hybrid deployment, a way to develop the private cloud portion of a hybrid architecture without forcing a business or MSP to manage their own data center and shifting the expenditure from a capex to opex investment. Further, leading colocation providers have recognized the trend toward hybrid cloud adoption and proactively invested in cloud on-ramps to enhance network performance. On-ramps enable IT teams to establish point-to-point connections between private and public clouds and bypass the traffic of the public internet, providing more secure and reliable connectivity.
It’s also worth noting that because colocation companies focus on data center operations, they have a vested interest in investing in the latest and greatest data center technologies, with capabilities that would be difficult to replicate for individual organizations or MSPs. These investments enable a host of benefits: guaranteed uptime greater than what’s promised by most cloud platforms, layered physical and digital security, built-in features that take the headache out of compliance, access to a de facto marketplace of digital solution providers, and more.
Not only can MSPs promote these benefits to clients without having to build them from scratch, they can rely on them while focusing more time and attention on their core competencies: IT strategy and service.
Having an established and reliable colocation partner for deploying hybrid cloud architecture can instill a sense of confidence in prospective clients. Other MSPs take a “white label” approach, reselling colocation services as an additional service to generate incremental revenue. In either case, partnership is key when deploying a hybrid cloud via colocation.
To start, both MSPs and company stakeholders should be actively involved in preparing a data migration plan to address potential challenges and mitigate unnecessary risks. The plan should include a comprehensive list of the details of the transfer, such as a working timeline and the role and contact information of all team members involved in the process. Perhaps most importantly, the plan should document a strategy for backing up data, allowing IT teams to triage unforeseen circumstances during the migration.
One a hybrid deployment is up and running, IT teams will naturally want to be able to access their data and monitor their private cloud infrastructure while minimizing the time and travel involved with being on-site. Colocation partners equipped with data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools make it easy to track power, bandwidth, and assets virtually, while remote hands teams can provide on-site support to MSPs as well as their clients and reduce network downtime.
Interest in hybrid cloud shows no sign of slowing down. Rather than retreating to on-premises infrastructure, colocation allows businesses and their MSPs to get there faster — and without breaking the bank, risking critical data or compromising network connectivity.
Ernest Sampera is a co-founder at vXchnge, a carrier-neutral colocation services provider with facilities across the U.S.
Read more about:MSPs
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