Embrace Network Complexity: Best IT Practices For Hybrid Cloud Solutions

IT teams in different organizations today have to deal with an agile business landscape that demands complex IT systems, networks, and infrastructures and the availability of Hybrid Cloud. The ever increasing complexity of IT environments and the need to keep up with new waves of technologies make it even more difficult for IT teams to do their jobs successfully. IT teams in enterprises are often lagging behind the curve of change with aging legacy technology and limited capital available for deployment of new technologies and devices, which forces them to do more with less. Let’s find out about the common problems faced by IT teams today in this challenging technology environment and the best practices they can implement to successfully navigate and manage this network complexity.

Challenges Of IT Complexity

IT teams are now more at risk of losing control of their company’s IT environment, applications, and infrastructure due to burgeoning technological advancements. IT professionals have to constantly juggle the demands of changing modern business landscapes that may include bring your own device (BYOD) practices, use of multiple mobile devices, virtualization, the Internet of things (IoT), and wireless. While adoption of these new technologies have increased productivity and resulted in cost savings, they are giving IT teams the most cause for worry.

IT teams are reliant on the availability, reliability, security, and performance of their networks, servers, and business applications. With rapid advances in new technology, the real challenge for IT teams is to keep up with deployment and maintenance of these applications.  With the growth of wireless data traffic, utilization of high-bandwidth applications like video collaboration and streaming, adoption of cloud applications, virtualization, and hosted applications in the enterprise environment, demand for improved network management remains unabated. Nothing affects your business reputation more than user experience and perception about the availability and performance of your IT infrastructure, applications, and network. Bandwidth should therefore be optimized and scalable to meet the growing demands on your infrastructure and also for maintaining uptime.

Organizations more often use a collection of non-integrated monitoring tools to get an insight into their critical application and infrastructure performance, which are not even capable of providing a unified view of their operations. IT teams lack end-to-end integrated monitoring solutions that can address problems with wired and wireless networks, physical and virtual servers, applications, and databases.

IT management software with inflexible licensing models also compels organizations to overbuy or pay significant up-charges during renewal. IT teams thus have to better identify management software with monitoring flexibility across all network devices, applications & servers and fewer restrictions, at no additional cost.

Best Practices For Organizations To Overcome Network Complexity Challenges

With such high stakes on the enterprise IT infrastructure, having a cloud strategy may prove to be the ideal solution for meeting increased demands on IT. But many enterprises are still hesitant to entirely replace their legacy systems. For example, some of the most data-sensitive industries need to ensure greater compliance, availability and security according to HIPAA, PCI and SOX regulations. But even though cloud services have limited compliance and regulatory guidelines, they can be an effective extension of an enterprise’s existing infrastructure to help the IT teams do their jobs well and stay relevant for customers and partners for years to come.

Having a hybrid cloud approach with a mix of public and private clouds gives enterprises with sensitive data the best of both worlds. IT teams can enjoy the flexibility of an elastic cloud environment and on-demand resources along with the ability to maintain control over critical applications. Confidential information can be stored on-premise securely, while less sensitive data can be stored in the cloud with no worries about scalability, deployment, and maintenance. Hybrid clouds are specifically designed to be used by a single organization, with secure encrypted communication and technology for data and application portability. Here are some best practices for IT teams to manage the network complexity of hybrid cloud solutions in order to ensure optimal performance, positive engagement, and user experience.

  • Keep an eye on the goals your organization wants to achieve from the cloud to guide all cloud management decisions. Enterprises can implement cloud solutions for a number of reasons such as access to robust infrastructure, scalability, quicker time-to-market, better business continuity, and higher performance. Understanding the business problem your enterprise is looking to solve will help identify weak links in the management and network process. For example, an organization fixed on speed and performance will require different tools than a company hoping to make substantial cost savings.
  • Once you understand the gaps in your environment, you should look to invest in the right partner that can help you manage and secure network processes, while fulfilling all regulation requirements needed to show compliance to your users. Security is one of the most important criteria for organizations deploying applications in the cloud so there should be visibility into your cloud providers’ operations and security measures.
  • Organization looking to make the hybrid cloud move should deploy non-critical workloads to the cloud first to give IT teams the opportunity to build up their skills and confidence for tackling challenges with mission-critical applications. Enterprises need to give their IT staff on-cloud experience to avoid any downtime on critical applications in the future, which can prove to be costly. Organizations should migrate critical applications to the cloud infrastructure only after ensuring they have worked out any bugs in the security and management processes.
  • There are a wide variety of automation processes and tools to simplify administration and management tasks for cloud deployment and provisioning of infrastructure resources. There are software vendors and cloud service providers who offer products like monitoring, auto-scaling, budget optimization and much more for an organization’s entire cloud ecosystem.
  • Organizations need the ability to efficiently monitor and manage infrastructure, applications, and networks for all cloud resources at once. There should be a unified approach to both public and private cloud environments in order to simplify administration tasks and to troubleshoot common hybrid cloud uses such as cloud bursting and disaster recovery easily.
  • IT teams should proactively identify and resolve network server issues before they learn about it from the help desk, through a range of monitors, log data analysis to co-relate events for automatic alerts.  For that IT teams need a holistic view across applications, networks, and servers for both their public cloud and data center operations.
  • Organizations should colocate data and apps so that they are running in the same place to improve performance and simplify management tasks. So, if your application will be running in a public cloud then its data too should be stored in the public cloud, whereas if an application will be running in your private cloud, then it may be best to use your data center to store its data. Review your inventory to see if you can use any existing hardware for your hybrid cloud solution and decommission all hardware nearing the end-of-life.
  • Incorporating multiple sites and platforms is also central to the disaster recovery plan of an organization. IT teams need to ensure that each of the servers hosting sensitive data and workloads have a secondary site. IT teams should document the migration processes thoroughly to ensure that no data is lost and optimize workloads appropriately across their data center, managed hosting, and the cloud.

Cloud Solutions For Your IT Environment

These best practices are meant to be a starting point for effective cloud environment management. You can keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly by utilizing the best-in-class services offered by cloud providers with due diligence. After all, building the solution that is just right for your enterprise takes a lot of planning and expertise across different areas of IT—from cloud to networking, virtualization, storage and security.