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5 Advanced Uses of Hybrid Cloud Storage and How to Optimize Them

More and more companies are choosing a hybrid approach to their cloud infrastructure. The reason is not because of an inability to go all the way to the cloud, but rather a careful assessment around which path yields the greatest flexibility, performance, security, and cost effectiveness. For these companies, a hybrid cloud approach represents the height of infrastructure optimization. In this blog we’ll focus on 5 scenarios where deploying hybrid cloud storage can help you optimize your file infrastructure strategy.

Hybrid Cloud for Sharing and Accessing Application Data

For a long time, companies ran critical applications in the data center. This provided a high degree of control as well as the resources, primarily network, compute and storage, required for proper operation. As the costs for data center operations continue to increase, however, IT organizations are now moving many applications to the cloud. A “lift and shift” approach typically is the fastest way to move applications to the cloud without significant rewriting and expense.

But there is a catch. Planning for complete data access must be considered. What is needed is more than just a massive pipe to the cloud, but defined data access across many connected locations. Often times this data must be made available not only to the applications now running in the cloud but also on-premises for other applications or users. When these requirements exist, a hybrid cloud approach to file infrastructure is probably the right answer.

How to optimize? When implementing a hybrid cloud approach to application migration, be sure to look for the following functionality:

  • The ability to use traditional protocols for the data center and in-cloud applications
  • The ability to make application files available with low latency at any location where needed, not just the cloud
  • Data migration policies to allow speedy, non-disruptive application deployment
  • An efficient data movement model that uses data reduction and customer-controlled encryption for maximum security

Data Center Reduction

Primary data centers are facing new demands to scale as data and compute requirements grow. Machine learning, AI, and big data analytics are just a few of the newer demanding applications.  However, expanding on-premises compute resources to the level required can be prohibitively expensive. An alternative is a properly designed hybrid cloud data center solution that merges the best aspects of data center and edge computing to provide a flexible and cost-effective solution. As you only pay for the cloud services you use, significant savings can be realized. 

How to optimize?  Make sure your hybrid cloud solution incorporates the following:

  • Leverage solutions that incorporate blob object storage for scale and affordability
  • A file system and hardware combination that allow access and file sharing across data centers, edge computing centers and the cloud
  • Multi-cloud support for flexibility across regions and applications
  • Test and dev resource availability to allow proper testing of applications and use cases

Data Center Consolidation and Disaster Recovery

In addition to shrinking the footprint and costs of the primary data center, another potential value of a hybrid cloud deployment is reducing, or even eliminating, reliance on redundant data center operations. For many customers, these data centers exist for protection and DR but are seldom used for primary activity. While the protection is necessary, the model of physically redundant data centers is expensive. Besides the redundant servers and storage; power, cooling, and management expense add to the ongoing costs for traditional DR. Compound this with most systems provide one-way replication and the data is inactive and must be prepared before it can be used, and you have an extremely expensive passive solution. 

By contrast, a hybrid infrastructure can provide more resilience, heal faster and provide new levels of uninterrupted service. Advanced hybrid cloud storage solutions can even provide business continuity automatically. With advanced solutions, orchestration of data through the hybrid cloud fabric allows users to connect to another location and continue operations when disruptions occur, providing less business downtime. The data is offsite in the cloud, highly durable and immediately usable or restorable, providing much better RTO’s for DR. 

How to optimize? Look for hybrid cloud storage solutions with the following capabilities:

  • Ability to reliably and quickly restore access to files using secondary or tertiary locations
  • Ongoing file synchronization across all sites which eliminates delays and provides business continuity
  • Ability to test Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) operations anytime without user disruption
  • Durable, redundant, WORM copies of all files stored in the cloud

Cloud Backup and Archive

Along with replacing expensive DR infrastructure, hybrid cloud solutions can be used to optimize backup and archive, especially across multiple sites and large data sets. Simple solutions allow you to back up or archive single data sets to more cost-efficient cloud storage rapidly and securely.  Advanced solutions allow you to backup and archive files across multiple sites, applications and users automatically while improving RTO and RPO times dramatically.

How to optimize? Look for hybrid cloud solutions that are fully integrated with your overall file storage and protection solutions and that have the following functionality:

  • A hybrid cloud file system with integrated backup versioning and disaster recovery features
  • Multi-location access to provide collaboration or data availability if a site goes offline
  • Flexible synchronization models with retention policies to meet your requirements
  • The ability to restore any file or set of data quickly to any location
  • Automatic active and archive file classification to further reduce costs

Multi-Site Data Synchronization

Data is no longer static, use once and then archive away. Constant revisions, new versions, or reanalyzing old models is now the norm. Machine data, business analysis, and other information is collected in different locations but analyzed in another – typically the cloud.  The users assigned to a project are often in many locations and/or time zones, requiring ongoing synchronization of data to create the finished product.  All of these modern work flow operations require active, automatic synchronization across locations. 

A proven approach to solving this problem is through the concept of a hybrid cloud fabric. In this context, data orchestration occurs automatically and synchronizes one or many copies across any number of edge, data center or cloud locations. Data is collected at one site and synchronized to another location for application or analytics use. As previously noted, a simple pipe to the cloud will provide access to data in the cloud but this is not comparable to an active hybrid fabric with automatic data orchestration. 

How to optimize?  A true hybrid cloud “fabric” will need the following features:

  • A “create anywhere, use anywhere” hybrid orchestration model for everywhere access
  • Multi-location access to provide collaboration or data availability if a site goes offline
  • Flexible synchronization models with retention policies to meet your requirements
  • A hybrid system with unlimited data or file capacity integrating cloud, edge and DC access

Summary

Deploying a hybrid cloud solution for your file infrastructure can do more than optimize costs. It can change your whole model for data and information access in ways that improve productivity, reduce risk, and allow for greater organizational growth. The key is to understand the unique challenges presented by multi-site users and workflows, and then look for architectures that were purpose-built to solve these problems vs tackle them in a subscale way.

Learn more about why more companies are adopting a hybrid cloud strategy for file storage in this on-demand webinar!