This post is part two of a two-part series that examines hybrid hosting, use cases and questions you should ask when considering a hybrid hosting environment. For more detailed information on hybrid hosting check out the white paper “Nervous About Cloud? Go Hybrid Instead.”
In my last article I introduced the concept of hybrid hosting and then laid out three scenarios where hybrid provided value. Hopefully your curiosity was piqued and you are considering a move into a virtualized environment. Gather up your team, it is time to ask some questions.
Questions Worth Asking
Potential cloud outsourcing scenarios are infinite. To pursue this concept further requires internal analysis. Find out what your pain points are, define risk levels and, if possible, get a solid grasp on your true cost of downtime. Knowing how much you lose for every hour of downtime helps you properly scope out your hosting costs. When planning for the introduction of hybrid hosting into your infrastructure, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How well do you understand your current application environment? Ask for internal utilization reports that provide historical traffic and hardware performance statistics. Data points to gather include peak concurrent users, average and peak bandwidth requirements, storage needs, IOPS requirements, database performance metrics, network segmentation and licensing requirements, among others.
- Do any regulatory or industry requirements need to be adhered to? Isolation is often required for compliance to standards such as PCI or HIPAA. They may also forbid the use of multi-tenant infrastructure.
- Are all of the applications currently running certified or supported by their vendors to run in a virtualized environment? In some cases, software companies will not provide support if their application is installed on a virtualized platform.
- Do you understand your current hardware environment? Server reports can be run to determine historical and average metrics such as processor, memory and disk utilization. Servers running at low utilization are excellent virtualization candidates. It also helps to know the factors that cause spikes in CPU and memory use.
- Has a budget been defined for this project? A hosting provider should work with you to help design a system that optimizes your investment while adhering to your technical and financial needs. Many options are available and scope creep gets expensive quickly if those needs aren’t clearly defined. This is another reason why knowing your cost of downtime is important.
A hybrid configuration provides the security features, performance and customization of dedicated hardware along with the cost savings, utility and bursting aspects that cloud technology offers. This combination of cloud and dedicated hosting can help businesses of all sizes, with the caveat that while cloud technology may benefit
everyone, it is not meant for everything. Figuring out how to efficiently implement a hybrid platform is based on a number of business-specific factors. Finding a trusted, experienced cloud provider is key to helping you discover how hybrid best fits into your business.