Cloud adoption has grown steadily in recent years. Ninety-two percent of respondents in a RightScale survey said they are using a public cloud, while 75 percent have adopted a private cloud. The numbers are up from 89 percent and 72 percent, respectively, in 2017.
In its 2018 State of the Cloud Report, RightScale also revealed that organizations on average are using 4.8 clouds. This multi-cloud approach is becoming more common because some workloads run better on certain clouds than others, but it does create some challenges.
Businesses need a hybrid cloud strategy to bring all cloud-based, edge and on-premise resources under the same management umbrella. If disparate pieces within the environment cannot communicate with each other, and if there is no visibility into the complete environment from a central location, multi-cloud environments eventually will become too difficult and expensive to manage.
Organizations need a seamless infrastructure where workloads work together as needed regardless of their location – whether in the cloud, the edge or on premise. That’s what a truly hybrid environment will look like.
MSPs as Hybrid Strategists
A high-performing hybrid environment requires painstaking planning and execution. Many organizations don’t have the time or staff to properly execute hybrid strategies. They risk letting their multi-cloud environments sprawl uncontrollably. Businesses need help from experts to prevent this.
Many will turn to the MSP that has been delivering the remote monitoring and management services that help keep downtime to a minimum while optimizing performance. MSPs are better positioned than anyone to help customers plan their hybrid strategies because they get to know their customer environments intimately in order to best manage them.
Hybrid, multi-cloud environments are the future. For MSPs, it will no longer suffice to manage a single cloud based service, such as Office 365 or a hosted data backup solution. MSPs need the skills and capabilities to manage their customers’ complete infrastructures.
To help customers with their hybrid strategies, here are five steps MSPs need to take:
- Understand the model. Learn about the different public and private clouds available, and which are more suited for which workloads. Apply the knowledge to guiding customers in developing their cloud strategies to prevent unplanned sprawl.
- Determine which workloads to migrate. One of the most important decisions of a well-planned hybrid strategy is figuring out which applications and databases belong in a cloud environment. For instance, applications with fluctuating bandwidth demand or databases that don’t have to be accessed regularly typically are a better fit for the cloud.
- Assess bandwidth requirements. A heavier reliance on cloud environments increases bandwidth demands as more data travels back and forth to the cloud. No cloud strategy – hybrid or otherwise – can be successful without taking into account bandwidth requirements.
- Decide what stays on premise. While legacy systems cannot handle many applications development to run on the cloud, this doesn’t mean all workloads must be moved. Applications that don’t need to “talk” to other resources on a constant basis or would be more costly to run in the cloud should stay put.
- Mind the Edge. In some cases, where real-time processing and analytics are required, neither the cloud (due to latency) nor on-premise environments (which can’t handle some new applications) will deliver the best results. That’s why MSPs also need to discuss with customers which workloads to run on the edge, where the processing is closest to the point of decision.
As cloud adoption becomes a fact of life, businesses need MSPs to make strategic decisions and manage hybrid environments. Providers that can meet these needs by offering services to manage the edge, cloud deployments, and on-premise resources for customers stand a better chance of securing their future success.
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