Keeping some workloads in a data centre and migrating others to the Azure public cloud is many organisations’ most practical, efficient and effective digital transformation path. To understand where you could benefit most from an Azure Hybrid Cloud approach, check out six use cases below.
Together, they can:
- Increase the quality of services and customer care
- Expedite digital transformation or modernisation
- Enhance technical agility, proactively or reactively
- Grow a business without overcommitting resources
- Move faster on opportunities
- Drive efficiencies and cost control
- Accelerate time to market for new products
- Reinforce security and mitigate the threats of downtime
- Enable data-driven, timely decision-making
WHAT ARE THE MAIN AZURE HYBRID CLOUD USE CASES?
Azure offers endless opportunities, but these are the six key use cases that drive the biggest business change and improvement.
1. ESTABLISHING ENVIRONMENTS FOR APP DEVELOPMENT
Enabling application development and modernisation is a crucial Azure Hybrid Cloud use case. Azure Stack HCI with Azure Arc allows developer teams to modernise, develop and test applications locally before deploying in your chosen environment when deployed as part of a hybrid cloud solution.
Developing for Azure:
- For example, your development team may be modernising a legacy application deployed on-premises to run from the Azure public cloud.
- You can access powerful Azure tools and services locally with an Azure Stack HCI solution.
- So, an application benefits from the latest Azure-native tools while the work is undertaken in the most suitable environment.
Developing for on-premises
- On the other hand, developers may be building a new app or modernising an existing one that must be deployed in data centres for compliance or latency reasons.
- Those same Azure-native tools are still available, even if your organisation doesn’t use Azure to deploy.
- Crucially, any workload development in a hybrid environment of this nature can run locally or in the Azure public cloud without changing its codebase.
The above routes will seriously accelerate time to completion and if you’re an ISV, product releases.
Developers no longer need to duplicate effort during the modernisation process and you can simultaneously develop your new solution while phasing out existing infrastructure.
Read more about the pros and cons of application modernisation in Azure here.
2. ENHANCING UPTIME, AVAILABILITY AND DISASTER RECOVERY
Another popular Azure Hybrid Cloud use case centres on operational resiliency. An Azure Hybrid Cloud solution is a solid alternative for an expensive, geo-redundant private cloud.
Although a private cloud is one means of increasing resiliency against disaster, an Azure Hybrid Cloud setup can guarantee the gold standard of high availability and disaster recovery. But it works differently. Here’s how:
- In a scenario where on-premises hardware is deployed from a data centre, workloads and data replicate to Azure.
- Azure orchestrates failover and failback capabilities if disaster strikes at a data centre (which for Tier 3+ is rare).
- Application downtime is quickly mitigated from here and Azure automation kicks in to handle critical tasks and processes.
- This robust DR is made possible by Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup – available to all hybrid customers.
Because organisations only pay for the compute, storage and network needed in Azure, they can manage DR and backup with far fewer resources, including people. As a result, this hybrid use case simultaneously reduces costs while improving operational security and business continuity.
3. SIMPLIFYING ENVIRONMENTS TO ACHIEVE EFFICIENCY
This Azure Hybrid Cloud use case is more nebulous but not to be overlooked. A managed Azure Hybrid Cloud solution is genuinely hybrid native.
Whatever workloads you run and from where, all tools, reporting and management are entirely unified. Azure-native processes, functions and tools are used for every workload. As a result, managing healthy, diverse hybrid cloud environments is easier, more efficient and more secure.
Combining data improves decision-making and presents an excellent opportunity to streamline processes and reduce operating costs. In addition, the unified approach is beneficial for those managing resources, proactive maintenance, compliance and cybersecurity.
It’s worth noting that when you work with a Managed Services Provider, you benefit from a customised Azure Landing Zone with ExpressRoute integration. The Azure Landing Zone is a hub for all infrastructure, identity management controls and governance guardrails.
4. MEETING OR KEEPING REGULATORY OBLIGATIONS
Achieving more robust compliance is a strategic Azure Hybrid Cloud use case.
With a hybrid Azure solution, you can run workloads locally and, if needed, distribute them remotely. For example, some organisations need workloads or data records stored in a particular country and avoid Azure because it is not a Sovereign Cloud. However, an Azure Stack HCI & Arc hybrid solution delivers several compliance benefits.
- You can establish a setup whereby data resides in a local data centre (such as a Node4 managed facility) while being accessible from anywhere for operational and analytical purposes.
- This approach enables organisations to meet jurisdiction laws and regulations while remaining connected to international markets, customers and partners.
- Leaders can achieve the best of both worlds with an Azure Hybrid Cloud solution. The peace of mind that in-data centre workloads are compliant and the agility and connectivity to pursue growth opportunities.
5. ACHIEVING SUBSTANTIAL SCALABILITY, QUICKLY
A major Azure Hybrid Cloud use case is scalability. Being able to increase performance and capacity as soon as the need arises is what sets hyperscalers apart.
Azure scaling isn’t limited to the public cloud component when you take a genuine, hybrid-native approach. For example, say that you need to retain owned hardware, deployed locally but connected to Azure environments and services.
Do you have to accept that your in-data centre capacity and capability remain fixed while your Azure components evolve around you?
No. Certain managed Azure hybrid solutions, such as Node4’s, will hold in-data centre spare “hot” nodes. Hot nodes are hardware added to your in-data centre Azure cluster to support rapid scaling requirements without long hardware lead times.
6. ENHANCING PERFORMANCE-SENSITIVE WORKLOADS
Performance enhancement is a crucial Azure Hybrid Cloud use case for organisations that need to keep some apps in data centres. Reasons could include compliance obligations, a staged modernisation path or immovable legacy infrastructure. Other times, latency is the perceived roadblock.
But organisations benefit from more robust connectivity and shorter latency when you use Azure in a managed hybrid infrastructure. Even for those performance-sensitive systems and applications.
The Azure hybrid model allows you to deploy the right workload in the right place.
Put performance-sensitive workloads with high availability and short latency requirements in an MSP’s data centre and place workloads less affected by connectivity in Azure’s public cloud. This way, you don’t rely on general internet but have the security of (ideally Tier3+) data centre connectivity infrastructure.
Have any of these Azure Hybrid Cloud use cases made you reconsider how Azure can work in your business? Or perhaps they’ve sparked an idea for optimising your current Azure environments?
To discuss your options and begin mapping an Azure pathway, arrange a free consultation with a Node4 Azure expert.