Hybrid cloud implementations warrant tools capable of simplifying infrastructure management. Now that hybrid deployments are common among enterprises, tech businesses have developed solutions that enable system and network administrators to derive as much value as possible from their hybrid operations.
When vetting solutions capable of reducing hybrid cloud management overhead, which features should sysadmins and other DevOps personnel put at the top of their list?
1. Vendor agnostic
"80% of IT pros say they lack the visibility necessary to deploy cloud-based apps."
A vendor-specific solution may enable network administrators to manage subnets across AWS and a private cloud, but may be incompatible with Azure or Google Cloud Platform. This limitation not only forces users to commit to specific systems, but also hinders their ability to migrate resources from one public cloud platform to another if they wish to do so in the future.
In short, infrastructure personnel should seek vendor-agnostic hybrid cloud management solutions. Such systems deliver the freedom enterprises need to adjust their infrastructure to support changing business conditions over time.
2. Monitoring and support
Tracking resource activity in real-time is one of greatest challenges associated with monitoring hybrid infrastructure solutions. According to a survey from network security company AlgoSec, 80 percent of IT professionals say they lack the visibility necessary to deploy business applications across IaaS deployments. Hybrid management solutions must enable staff to:
- Monitor all systems and network activity.
- Create custom reports of their environment.
- Manage network traffic through a single portal.
Monitoring without on-demand support devalues infrastructure surveillance. When a web application I/O static threshold triggers an alarm, IT requires staff capable of addressing the issue as soon as possible, especially when the application in question is a key revenue driver for the business.
3. Disaster recovery and failover
A hybrid cloud management solution must provide IT with the liberty required to establish disaster recovery and business continuity plans that complement specific operations. For example, admins may want to create a failover environment that mirrors their production environment but lack the tools required to do so. Another team may want to configure a DNS server that routes web traffic to an inactive domain hosted in another data center.
To develop custom DR/BC plans, admins must find hybrid cloud management solutions that provide the following resources:
- DR/BC testing systems that allow personnel to simulate DR execution and identify shortcomings.
- Data archiving, which automatically creates backups of mission-critical data based on parameters DevOps engineers can define.
- Geographic diversity, ensuring admins can establish failover environments in separate locations.
4. Bring Your Own Device
The Society for Human Resource Management noted 86 percent of employees use their personal smartphones to conduct work. While these individuals have more productive liberty, they put their employers' security at risk. Each personal device is an endpoint a hacker could use to infiltrate the hybrid infrastructure.
Hybrid cloud management solutions must empower IT to enforce mobile device policies, monitor device activity and dictate role-based access controls.
The functions outlined above should not act as independent features. Rather, they must operate cohesively within the hybrid cloud management system. For example, 24/7 helpdesk support must be available to sysadmins seeking to manage server resources, network engineers who want to configure VPNs and IT support personnel in charge of enforcing security policies.