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Hybrid Cloud Storage: Combine On-Premises Storage & the Cloud

April 28, 2020

Topics: Elementary5 minute read

What is the "hybrid cloud", really?  Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s define the hybrid cloud, which combines (hybridizes) private and public clouds.

  •       A private cloud is a dedicated cloud infrastructure for the enterprise. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your data center or not; if you are the sole cloud owner and user, you have a private cloud.
  •       A public cloud is a service provider that leases distributed data center infrastructure to customers.
  •       A hybrid cloud orchestrates both these platforms to create a mix of computing, storage, and services using on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud like AWS. The hybrid architecture enables applications and data to interoperate between private and public cloud infrastructure, services, and instances.

One of the main benefits of hybrid infrastructure include agility: the ability to steer the technology to support business initiatives for competitive advantage. Hybrid clouds are also excellent at scaling up and down at need, thanks to on-demand resources in the public cloud. Availability and reliability are also strong benefits given AWS’ availability zones, and with proper planning the enterprise will save money on capital and ongoing expenses.

Shoehorning Apps in the Hybrid Cloud: Inefficient at Best, Risky At Worst

There is, however, a trick to doing this successfully. The last thing you want to do is shoehorn applications and data into the cloud and hope for the best.

There are three major components to a successful migration to the hybrid cloud: develop the plan to migrate enterprise workloads to the cloud; quantify and test new systems; and match application SLAs to RPO/RTO.

It’s a big job, but with intelligent planning and expert partners even the largest enterprise can successfully migrate within a reasonable timeframe. Let’s break it down:

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

This initial stage is choosing your cloud provider and migration tools, identifying applications to migrate, and calculating current and future costs.  Identify application usage patterns, costs for compute, network, and storage, SLAs and RTO/RPO per application, and compliance requirements.

Be especially careful when planning for cloud storage costs. Storage grows along with cloud presence, so make storage cost planning a key consideration. Keep in mind both storage capacity costs, and the high price of moving data between tiers.

Quantify and Test

Once in the cloud, test your workloads. Start with a proof-of-concept model that allows you to see what the real costs of operating the cloud are, and validate acceptable performance in the test environment.

This same test will also let you identify the services you need to optimize the environment. This is also the time to set security guidelines and management parameters.

Define SLAs

Define availability for your workloads. Two main factors come into play: recovery time objective (RTO), and the other is your recovery point objective (RPO). RTO is the amount of time that it takes your business to recover from failure with acceptable losses. RPO is the point in time your business can operate without its data. Critical workloads need as close to zero RTO and RPO as possible. Other workloads can wait – near-zero recovery is very expensive and resource-intensive – but know their RTO and RPO as well.

Once you have individualized RTO/RPO, set reasonable SLAs for each cloud application. We define “reasonable” as the SLAs your provider will agree to, at a cost you can afford.

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Partner with Cloud Provider and Migration Experts

We strongly suggest that you do not go this alone. AWS has tools and professional services to help with enterprise migrations. And NetApp can solve the most difficult hybrid cloud move of all: migrating and operating file-based data for high performance and low cost.

The core of NetApp’s hybrid cloud portfolio is NetApp® ONTAP Cloud and Project Astra, which unifies all customer computing environments including on-premises data centers, private clouds, public clouds, and software-defined storage (SDS). 

ONTAP Cloud supports CIFS, NFS, and iSCSI file shares with NAS and SAN storage. And it enables enterprise users to seamlessly transition data to the cloud. It presents the same familiar interface as on-premises storage, and adds with cloud-native functionality for a robust hybrid cloud feature set.

NetApp® SnapMirror lets NetApp storage owners seamlessly replicate their NetApp storage system data to AWS. NetApp Cloud Sync enables other types of storage systems to transfer files to the cloud. Unlike open source tools like rclone and rsync, Cloud Sync has a robust set of features including automated file transfers, parallel processing for the fastest transfer speeds, and strong encryption.

Once your enterprise workloads are on AWS, ONTAP Cloud’s core features include high availability with 60-second or below RPO and RTO, cost-effective automated snapshots and DR, and automated data tiering to low-cost Amazon S3. NetApp Cloud Volumes Service enables extreme storage efficiencies for even higher performance at lower cost.

Learn More About Hybrid Cloud 

Read our Cloud Volumes ONTAP data sheet to learn more about how to supercharge your infrastructure--and retain complete control. Or, read more about connecting on-premises infrastructure to the cloud in this short blog from one of our top performance experts. 

Prefer to Watch?

Check on the on-demand webinar on hybrid cloud storage!

Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Data Services

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