Businesses are considering hybrid cloud to roll out new applications or services, speed up time to market or beef up disaster recovery. Building out their data centre may be an option in some cases, but they need time, money and resources. That’s why colocation — using external IT resources — is becoming such an attractive option. But it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
While colocation is a first step in the journey toward a hybrid cloud, the choice of a colocation partner can enable or restrict the cloud options and architecture available, according to Gartner Research. So understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different colocation offerings is critical.
Gartner recommends documenting current enterprise cloud plans, including software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service, and mapping planned cloud requirements to the capabilities of the proposed colocation solutions.
If the cloud model is not in line with enterprise cloud goals, Gartner says this could lead to stranded colocated applications, wasting time and money. Since the business is often tied in to a colocation contract for three to five years, this can have serious implications. But, if done correctly, it can give the business a competitive advantage. It’s not just about adding a few more servers into the mix; it’s about being able to take advantage of scalable compute capabilities. For example, a business could capture unstructured data for analytics and use that insight to engage with customers in real time. This requires a balance of on-premise and cloud compute, networking and storage solutions.
IT professionals already recognize the importance — and benefits — of hybrid cloud. But research from IDC Corp. finds they often overlook host-diverse networking interoperability and WAN connectivity challenges that a hybrid IT strategy poses. What’s needed is a secure, scalable and agile network foundation to interconnect these critical systems, according to Rick Villars, vice-president of datacenter and cloud with IDC. Corp, in “Business Challenges for Enterprises with Hybrid IT Environments.”
IT professionals need to be able to manage both internal and external resources, as well as accommodate different sets of IT resources. “Optimizing service and application delivery will depend upon having the right networking and WAN foundations,” said Villars.
The key is to find the right cloud architecture and colocation partner to deliver all the benefits of this approach, without sacrificing data security or network stability.