Every cloud conversation I have seems to revolve around a general uneasiness of moving corporate data to the cloud. Most organizations do not choose an “all in” cloud strategy, and are testing their experiences first. I completely support this testing approach, it’s necessary. A great way to do this is with a hybrid model that allows part of the workloads to remain on-premises, and the part of them to go to the cloud.
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With a hybrid strategy a somewhat permanent connection will remain in place between your on-premises deployment, and the cloud. The reason this is somewhat permanent is that you do have the option to remove the connection when ready. The long-term strategic value of this is priceless. This option not only provides a failback option if you are dissatisfied with your cloud experience, it provides the ability to keep any workloads onsite that may not be able to moved yet.
What to Consider
When I think of this model I think of Microsoft Exchange migrations to Office 365 Exchange Online. Although keep in mind that a hybrid approach is relevant to most cloud based endeavors you implement. But let’s get back to the Office 365 Exchange Online deployment from an analysis perspective. Keeping in mind that these considerations can be applied to any product deployment your organization is pursuing.
- What do I want to migrate to the cloud?
Typically, there needs to be a level of continuity to what is migrated and what isn’t. For example, with Office 365 the ultimate goal to should be to migrate all user mailboxes for the long-term and not just some. Migrating all of them removes any unnecessary complexity to your long-term strategy.
- Should hybrid connectivity remain in place when all of the work is completed?
The ultimate goal should be to remove your hybrid connectivity when you are able to. This doesn’t need to be a short-term goal, and can be long-term. However, removal of the hybrid connectivity should be part of your strategy even it’s a year or two after the migration process is completed.
- What happens if I find a service that I cannot migrate due to internal dependencies?
Then that this the one off service that remains on-premises. Then hybrid is ok to maintain long-term until this one-off exception can be resolved.
- Monitoring Challenges
When moving to the cloud it is very important to ensure that monitoring is part of your strategy. Cloud providers will typically offer low-level capabilities in this area, but typically these options do not provide the depth necessary to properly monitor your deployment. Research and choose a 3rd party option.
- Failback Capabilities
Organizations underestimate the power of being able to failback from a deployment. It baffles me that this is often overlooked due to the fact that organizations would deploy a new on-premises upgrade of software without a failback option. Why should cloud be different? The ability to failback or even migrate back to on-premises is necessary to any cloud deployment.
Hybrid for the Win!
Most organizations strategically find that the movement of their data from on-premises to the cloud to be challenging. As you research your options, Hybrid deployments become necessary to ensure that your organization will continue to run seamlessly. That seamless experience becomes the value that your IT organization provides to your business the long-term success it demands.
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