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The Key to Ensuring Hybrid Cloud Success? Starting With the Workloads

Stephen Smith, Director of Cloud Technologies, Iron Bow Technologies

December 19, 2021  |  Cloud

There are many reasons why multiple cloud strategies or “hybrid cloud” are taking off across organizations, especially the Federal Government. With all the benefits hybrid cloud has to offer, however, agencies must ensure these investments don’t’ proliferate out of their control, leading to cloud sprawl, eroding cost efficiencies, decreased security, and poor performance.

So how can federal agencies successfully navigate the complexities of hybrid cloud? By focusing on the applications and their corresponding workloads first. According to Dell’s Cloud Smart Playbook, it’s critical to assess your agency’s current IT ecosystem before moving any apps to or off the cloud.

This entails taking stock of your current multi-cloud architecture to identify and categorize any issues. For example, are you seeing skyrocketing costs due to unforeseen activity between apps on premises and apps in the cloud? Is your IT team equipped to navigate any changes that need to be made to workloads and workflows? Do you have visibility into the security of all apps in your network?

At every stage, from assessment to deployment of hybrid cloud, workloads need to be at the forefront of any strategy.

Understand Your Applications According to Workflows

Run through this list of questions and considerations carefully to determine which workloads you can move more easily and readily to cloud. This will help you create your map for which apps need to remain on premises and which need to be moved to the cloud.

Considerations for the hardware side:

  • Is our infrastructure modern enough to handle any cloud-ready software?
  • How will applications interact with it?
  • Will our infrastructure be compatible with the software we need?
    • If not, how do we get it there?
    • If it is, how do we manage multiple types of infrastructure in a solution?

Considerations for the software side:

  • Is the hardware capable of running this software?
  • Are we going to have to move around application workloads?
  • How soon is that experience going to be?

Considerations for your apps and workloads:

  • How many apps does our agency have?
  • Where do all our applications reside? On premises? In a public cloud? In a private cloud?
  • How are the apps interrelated? Many apps communicate with others and share data. This is where you need to understand what related protocols they share and what types of data move back and forth.
  • How is each app developed? Does it use traditional three-tier architecture or is it containerized?
  • How portable is the app? Meaning how complicated would it be to put it into the cloud?
  • How much effort would it be to make the application portable through containerization? For example, if you have a legacy app that’s static and it was developed 5-10 years ago, you can determine that it’s not going to be portable.
  • Which applications can be ported, which need to be refactored, and which need to be rewritten from scratch?

Understand Your Data Needs

What’s another key factor in determining a workload’s cloud suitability? Your data. There are several important data characteristics to consider for determining a suitable environment for your workload. These include:

1. Volume: The amount of data to move and manage.

2. Movement: The needed mobility of data between environments and associated fees.

3. Velocity: The speed at which data is processed and the ability to meet real-time needs.

4. Utilization: How often you will need to leverage the data and what kind of processing power you’ll need.

5. Sensitivity: The level at which data must be protected and the ability of your agency to meet data sovereignty needs.

6. Redundancy: Best practices for backup and disaster recovery.

Understand Where Workloads Belong

After thoroughly vetting your current IT environment and app workloads, you will need to map out your “as-is” state and your “to be” state.  This process will encompass gauging what workloads need to be containerized and ported, refactored, or rewritten entirely.

When it comes to determining where your applications should go between private cloud, public cloud, colocation facility, edge environment, or data center, refer to this list of considerations for your app workloads.

1. Look at immediate needs and any occurring triggering events to prioritize applications for cloud migration.

2. Determine what’s most time and cost effective between rewriting a cloud application; re-platforming or “containerizing an app; rehosting an app, moving it as is, repurchasing as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS); retaining the application as is; or retiring the application if it’s surplus.

3. As opportunities to introduce new infrastructure and consumption models become clear, make sure to familiarize yourself with their requirements, benefits, and limitations.

Ultimately, your applications’ workloads should be the starting point of any hybrid cloud strategy. Iron Bow and Dell Technologies can help you assess your workloads and take the next best steps to ensure successful deployment of your hybrid cloud environment.

This blog is an excerpt from our new playbook “3 Key Phases to Help Government Agencies Successfully Navigate Multi-Cloud” by experts from Iron Bow Technologies, Dell, and Intel. To download the full playbook, head here.


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