Hybrid cloud architectures offer a lot of advantages, such as increased flexibility and greater control over data privacy and sovereignty.
But to capitalize fully on the benefits of hybrid cloud, it's important to avoid common mistakes that can undercut the effectiveness of hybrid cloud environments. To that end, this article examines the top five hybrid cloud mistakes that IT teams tend to make and offers tips on avoiding them.
- Underestimating Hybrid Cloud Cost
- Underestimating Network Latency
- Using an Inflexible Hybrid Cloud Platform
- Becoming Locked Into a Cloud Provider
- Forgetting About Backups in Hybrid Cloud
1. Underestimating Hybrid Cloud Cost
Cost savings are often touted as one of the prime benefits of hybrid cloud — and they can be, if you design and manage your hybrid cloud environment in a cost-effective way.
But it's easy to make mistakes that lead to cost underestimates, such as:
- Not accounting for the hardware maintenance costs required to manage on-premises infrastructure within a hybrid cloud.
- Inaccurately predicting egress costs for data that moves within a hybrid cloud.
- Not planning for enough staff members to administer hybrid clouds.
Avoid these mistakes by taking a systematic, holistic view of your hybrid cloud costs, which involve much more than just the direct cost of purchasing hybrid cloud infrastructure and paying for hybrid cloud services such as Google Anthos or Azure Arc.
2. Underestimating Network Latency
Just as underestimating data egress costs can bloat your hybrid cloud bills, underestimating network latency can undercut hybrid cloud performance.
If you can't move data quickly between the on-premises and public cloud parts of your hybrid architecture, you end up with high network latency. By extension, workloads that span across your hybrid environment are likely to be slower and less reliable than they would be if they ran just on-premises or just in the public cloud.
Efficient network architectures can help mitigate this risk. So can private network connection services, like AWS DirectConnect, provided you have the budget to pay for them.
3. Using an Inflexible Hybrid Cloud Platform
Hybrid clouds should provide more flexibility than you'd get from a public cloud or on-premises environment. But in some cases, businesses make the mistake of creating their hybrid clouds using platforms that impose strict limits on flexibility and future expansion.
For example, Kubernetes is one platform that you can use to build a hybrid cloud. In some cases, it's a great choice, but it comes with the caveat that it only supports containerized applications (unless you extend it with complex plug-ins or services). So, if you commit to Kubernetes as the basis of your hybrid cloud, you may not be able to accommodate non-containerized workloads that you want to deploy in a hybrid environment in the future.
Hybrid cloud platforms that support a broader set of cloud service types and application deployment models provide more flexibility.
4. Becoming Locked Into a Cloud Provider
Another hybrid cloud mistake that you may make if you don't think strategically about the hybrid cloud platform you use is becoming locked into a specific cloud vendor's ecosystem.
For example, if you use AWS Outposts to create your hybrid cloud, you're wed to AWS. Azure Stack is closely tied to Microsoft's cloud. Azure Arc and Google Anthos are more flexible in some respects, but they still leave you to depend to a certain extent on their respective vendors' ecosystems.
A certain degree of lock-in in hybrid cloud is unavoidable unless you use a totally open source hybrid cloud platform. But you should at least be aware of the lock-in risks, and prepared to live with them, before committing to hybrid cloud.
5. Forgetting About Backups in Hybrid Cloud
In the public cloud, your cloud provider assumes responsibility for ensuring that data is available. It's still a best practice to back up public cloud data yourself, but at least you're not totally on your own in keeping data safe.
In a hybrid cloud, however, you often are on your own. Public cloud vendors typically do not back up any data stored within the on-premises portion of a hybrid cloud. As a result, it's a huge mistake not to develop proper data backup and recovery strategies for your hybrid cloud.
Don't Underestimate Hybrid Cloud Mistakes
The tips above could be summed up as follows: Hybrid cloud often looks great on the surface because it promises flexible, extensible environments. But when you take a closer look, you realize that hybrid cloud can subject you to a variety of limitations or challenges that you may not have anticipated. Avoid that mistake by thinking strategically about exactly what your hybrid cloud needs to do and which tools and architectures will best enable it to do it.
About the authorChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.