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Hybrid Cloud Migration: Plan, Process and Advantages

Hybrid Cloud Migration: Plan, Process and Advantages

This post was co-authored with Riaz Merchant, President/CEO at Mertech Data Systems, Inc.

For established small-to-medium-sized ISVs, a hybrid cloud migration strategy is the best way to take advantage of the Cloud while exploiting your existing products and infrastructure. 

This approach requires you to create a combination of public and private systems and servers that work in concert.  

The result? You create a new breed of distributed apps called hybrid cloud applications. Your customers will use these apps, as well as your existing software, to seamlessly access their data from their desktops, over the web, and on mobile devices. 

In addition to providing both you and your customers with the cloud-based benefits we've already expounded upon, hybrid cloud migration carries several key advantages unique to established ISVs. 

Let's explore all about hybrid cloud application migration benefits, key trends, and how to plan and navigate its execution successfully. 

What is Hybrid Cloud Migration?

Hybrid cloud migration involves moving your organization's digital assets, workloads, and applications between a mix of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud environments.  

This strategy allows you to balance the need for control, compliance, and agility by leveraging the strengths of both on-premises and cloud-based solutions. For example, you can still keep sensitive data on-premises for security reasons while utilizing the Cloud's scalability for customer-facing applications.  

This type of cloud migration enables you to optimize your IT infrastructure for cost, performance, and security, making it a flexible and efficient approach to digital transformation. 

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Migration

Hybrid cloud migration combines the best of both worlds, marrying the security of on-premises systems with the scalability of cloud solutions.  

Let's take a closer look at the main benefits this versatile computing environment offers: 

1. Easing Your Customers into the SaaS Model 

If done correctly, hybrid cloud migration will enable your apps to pull data from the same databases already running on your customers' sites. So, your customers will be working with the same data and the same trust in that data when using your new cloud-based apps.  

Combined with the accessibility of your cloud-based offering, this should allow you to sell customers on paying a little extra per month to live in the Cloud. The extra revenue you receive will help offset the costs incurred during your hybrid cloud transformation 

And, of course, middleware vendors offering their users access to your software can also charge for access to your cloud-based app, which is a revenue win all-around.  

2. Data is Stored Securely but Accessible Anywhere 

Ease of access is both the Cloud's greatest strength and its greatest potential weakness. Many companies, especially those that work with particularly sensitive data (such as confidential customer information or data regulated by HIPAA-like industry standards), are skeptical of storing their data in the Cloud.  

In the hybrid cloud model, your customers continue to store sensitive data on-site, exposing only non-sensitive material to the Cloud. This allows them to utilize the cheap and flexible cloud infrastructure while preserving data security.  

3. Your Existing Software Serves as the Base for Your Cloud Apps 

This is both the central tenant and the biggest benefit of hybrid cloud implementation. As we said above, creating a brand-new, Cloud-based application can prove expensive and demanding.  

But what if you didn't have to start from scratch?  

Thankfully, you don't.  

There are a variety of solutions (including our own product, Thriftly) that help you create web APIs.  

Web APIs allow developers to access your software's existing functions and your customers' existing data when creating cloud-based apps. This reduces the costs and pressures your team will face during your migration to the hybrid cloud, and it provides you with a great starting point for a larger cloud-based strategy. 

How to Plan a Hybrid Cloud Migration Strategy 

Planning a hybrid cloud migration requires thorough preparation, strategic thinking, and a clear map to ensure smooth execution. Here are a few steps you can follow during this phase:  

  • Assessing current IT infrastructure: Begin by taking stock of your existing IT landscape. Evaluate your systems and applications to understand their cloud readiness and integration capabilities. This initial step is crucial for identifying potential challenges and opportunities for optimization.  
  • Identifying applications and workloads for migration: Not all applications are created equal when it comes to cloud migration. Analyze your portfolio to determine which applications can leverage cloud scalability and which are better suited to remain on-premises, perhaps due to specific performance or security requirements.  
  • Compliance and security considerations: Navigating the complexity of legal and security considerations is paramount. Ensure your migration strategy aligns with data protection laws and regulatory compliance standards, safeguarding sensitive information throughout the transition.  
  • Developing a migration strategy: With a clear understanding of your IT environment and compliance needs, it's time to draft a tailored migration plan. Outline a step-by-step strategy that ensures a balanced transition between cloud and on-premises environments.  
  • Cost analysis and budget planning: A successful migration is one that stays on budget, and the financial benefits of cloud migration are one of its greatest advantages. Conduct a comprehensive cost analysis to estimate the expenses involved in your hybrid cloud migration. Planning your budget meticulously can help mitigate unforeseen costs, ensuring financial stability throughout the process. 

Next, let's see how to implement hybrid cloud technology into your business. 

Designing and Implementing the Hybrid Cloud Architecture 

Hybrid cloud architecture serves as the backbone of your digital transformation, merging the robustness of on-premises infrastructure with the agility of cloud computing.  

Here are some key tips to guide you in creating a well-thought-out hybrid cloud architecture:  

  • Align with business goals: Start by ensuring the architecture will directly support your company's overarching objectives and strategies. This will ensure the cloud solution propels your business forward, aligning with long-term operational targets.  
  • Emphasize scalability and flexibility: The architecture should be inherently scalable and flexible, designed to accommodate your evolving business needs. This adaptability is crucial if you want to stay agile in the dynamic market environment.  
  • Balance cloud and on-premises resources: Understand which applications and data sets should reside on the cloud versus on-premises. Considerations should include performance requirements, security needs, and cost implications to strike the right balance that suits your operational needs.  
  • Optimize data management: Formulate a comprehensive data management strategy that encompasses data storage, governance, and lifecycle considerations. Aim for seamless data accessibility and reliability across both environments to enhance your operational coherence.  
  • Design an efficient network: You should architect your network to support secure, high-performance connectivity between cloud-based and on-premises components. This infrastructure is critical for maintaining consistent operations and user experience across the hybrid landscape.  
  • Leverage automation and orchestration: You can harness the power of automation tools to minimize manual operations and streamline processes. Orchestration capabilities are also essential for managing complex workflows and optimizing resource distribution efficiently.  
  • Plan for disaster recovery: Incorporate robust disaster recovery and data backup solutions within your architecture to safeguard against potential cloud outages, data loss and ensure minimal downtime. This planning is vital for maintaining continuity and resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges. 

Future Trends in Hybrid Cloud Technology 

Hybrid cloud technology is shaping the future of businesses in profound ways. Here are some of the key future trends in this field you should keep an eye on:  

  • Integration and automation: The future will see deeper integration between cloud services and on-premises infrastructure, driven by sophisticated automation tools. This convergence will streamline workflows, reducing manual intervention and enabling businesses to deploy and manage resources with unprecedented ease.  
  • AI and machine learning: Hybrid clouds will increasingly leverage AI and machine learning to predict demand, optimize resource allocation, and enhance security. By embedding intelligence into your hybrid cloud environment, you can anticipate and adapt to changes swiftly, ensuring optimal performance and security.  
  • Edge computing: As IoT is expanding, hybrid cloud technology will integrate more closely with edge computing (distributed IT architecture that brings enterprise apps closer to their data sources). This union will facilitate faster processing of data generated by IoT devices, reducing latency and improving decision-making processes in real-time.  
  • Enhanced security and compliance: Future hybrid cloud architectures will offer more robust security features and compliance controls tailored to meet the evolving threat landscape and regulatory requirements. Advanced encryption, identity management, and network security measures will provide a secure foundation, instilling confidence in hybrid cloud deployments 
  • Sustainability: With more focus on environmental sustainability, future hybrid cloud solutions will prioritize energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprints. Innovations in data center design, renewable energy usage, and carbon offset programs will make hybrid clouds a cornerstone of eco-friendly IT strategies.  
  • Customizable and industry-specific solutions: Expect to see more customizable hybrid cloud solutions designed to meet the unique needs of different industries. These tailored solutions will address specific challenges and regulatory requirements, providing businesses with a competitive edge in their respective markets. 

Final Thoughts 

As we navigate the complexities and opportunities of hybrid cloud migration, it's clear that this can help you stay agile and competitive in the digital era. Embracing hybrid cloud technology is not just a step towards innovation – it's a leap into the future of seamless, scalable, and secure IT infrastructure.  

Ready to embark on your hybrid cloud migration journey?  

Mertech is here to guide you every step of the way, following all the cloud migration best practices. With our expert hybrid cloud migration services, you can unlock the full potential of the Cloud, ensuring a smooth, efficient, and successful migration. Contact us today and take the first step towards transforming your business. 

Schedule a Free Consultation

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Migrate to a Hybrid Cloud Environment?
Migrating to a hybrid cloud environment allows you to combine the control and security of on-premises infrastructure with the scalability and efficiency of cloud computing. This enables you to rapidly adapt to various market demands and technological advancements. 
2. How Do I Determine if Hybrid Cloud Migration is Right for My Business?
Consider your business's specific needs, including regulatory compliance, data sovereignty concerns, and operational flexibility. Evaluating your current IT infrastructure's limitations and future growth plans can also guide whether a hybrid cloud approach aligns with your strategic goals. 
3. What Are the Key Challenges of Hybrid Cloud Migration?

Common challenges include:  

  • Data integration complexities 
  • Security concerns 
  • Managing multiple environments 
  • Ensuring compliance across platforms 

Strategic planning and partnering with experienced service providers can help you overcome these obstacles. 

4. Can I Migrate to a Hybrid Cloud Environment Without Downtime?

Yes, you can minimize or even eliminate downtime during the hybrid cloud transition.  

To do this, you can utilize different techniques like phased migration, where workloads are moved in stages, and leveraging cloud-native services for seamless transition can ensure business continuity. 

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