Most, if not all, organisations by now have adopted some form of cloud solution. In fact, many private organisations are now moving to adopt a hybrid stack, with some form of Infrastructure-as-a-Service or Platform-as-a-Service solution sitting on top of a cloud application model where end-users see no noticeable lag to their performance. But what about choosing who to partner with when opting for a hybrid cloud provider?

[easy-tweet tweet=”Recent studies show that much of private enterprise is most definitely keeping its #hybrid options open” hashtags=”cloud”]

Here in the UK, hybrid cloud is of particular interest, as most enterprises have tended to see-saw between public and private cloud adoption. Recent studies show that much of private enterprise is most definitely keeping its hybrid options open. Just in time for some spring-cleaning here are four clear ideas on what to consider when you move to a hybrid cloud:

#1 Don’t: Use a provider who can’t tailor hybrid cloud solutions

One of the biggest advantages to the hybrid cloud is its ability to match workloads to the environments that best suit it.

Aim to build a hybrid cloud solution with incredible hardware and impressive infrastructure, but if you don’t tailor your IT infrastructure to the specific demands of your workloads, you may end up with performance issues, improper capacity allocation, poor availability and/or wasted resources.

#2 Don’t: Neglect your current data centre or co-location needs

There’s any number of reasons an organisation may wish to outsource its IT infrastructure: from shrinking its IT footprint to driving greater efficiencies, from securing capacity for future growth, or simply to streamline core business functions.

The bottom line is that data centres require massive amounts of Capex to both build and maintain, and legacy infrastructure does become obsolete over time. This can place a huge capital and upfront strain onto any mid-to-large-sized businesses’ expenditure plans. But data centre consolidation takes discipline, prioritisation and solid growth planning that looks ahead to what your needs may be not just at this moment in time, but in five or six years’ time.

#3 Don’t: Skimp on your hardware costs

For larger workloads, should you seek to host on premises, in a private cloud, or through co-location, and what sort of performance needs do you have with hardware suppliers?

A truly hybrid IT outsourcing solution enables you to deploy the best mix of enterprise-class, brand-name hardware that you either choose to manage yourself or be fully-managed from a cloud hosting service provider.

Performance requirements, configuration characteristics, your organisation’s access to specific domain expertise (in storage, networking, virtualisation, etc.) as well as the state of your current hardware often dictates the infrastructure mix you adopt.

The bottom line is that data centres require massive amounts of Capex to both build and maintain, and legacy infrastructure does become obsolete over time

#4 Don’t: Forget about business continuity planning

Once you determine the threats to your infrastructure, the next step is to determine how those threats would impact your business continuity in terms of significant downtime, from expensive repairs to lost income to regulatory fines.

First, make sure all managers and stakeholders of these systems are involved in the completion of the business impact analysis. In fact, a recent study by leading DR provider DataBarracks shows that nearly 73 per cent of UK SMBs have no defined business continuity plan in place.

Second, assess the status of your systems – understanding the distinctions between them will help you prioritise the processes of any effective disaster recovery planning process:

  • Mission critical — your business can’t operate without them
  • Business-critical — your business can’t operate effectively without them
  • Non-critical — your business can operate without them for an extended period of time without additional expenses

Fundamentally, the right hybrid cloud hosting provider should not only be able to design and build out your environment, but also manage it throughout the building and life-cycle process. Ultimately it’s worth checking through these questions before you choose any potential hybrid cloud partner:

  1. Can my provider right-size my workloads for me?
  2. What are my specific security/compliance concerns?
  3. What’s an accurate assessment of my current data centre estate?
  4. Have I included all my hardware/remote IT needs?
  5. Have I got all of my business continuity or disaster recovery plans in place?
  6. Did I omit any of my most critical RfP needs?

[easy-tweet tweet=”Data centre consolidation takes discipline, prioritisation and solid growth planning ” hashtags=”cloud”]

Any provider worth their salt should feel like an extension to your internal IT department. Trust is important to any commercial partnership because it’s a partnership where a partner’s cloud solution architects understand not just your company’s specific needs for capacity planning, but, one where you work together to design and deploy the most flexible solution available to you.

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Annette Murphy, commercial director for Northern Europe, at Zayo Group

Annette Murphy is commercial director, Northern Europe, at leading communications infrastructure company Zayo Group, and is based in London, UK. Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO) is a publicly traded company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, with European headquarters in London. The company provides fiber-based bandwidth infrastructure services and carrier-neutral colocation and cloud services. For more information, please see www.zayo.com