Tuesday, 19th October 2021

Three guiding principles to establishing data resilience for a hybrid cloud strategy

According to the 2020 Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index, 7 out of 10 U.K. businesses accelerated their adoption of transformational technology programs due to the pandemic. By Stephen Gilderdale, Senior Director, Dell Technologies

For these organisations, 89% said that the virus highlighted the importance of investing in a more agile, scalable I.T. environment with multiple cloud environments featuring among the top five technology priorities over the next one to three years.

These figures show how a hybrid cloud strategy is rapidly becoming the I.T. strategy of choice. This is mainly due to its capability to offer enterprises the best of private and public clouds, along with edge technologies and greater choice and flexibility. Such a strategy also presents an opportunity for businesses to rethink their data protection and resilience approach.

Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy offers several advantages regarding data protection:

· Cost optimisation: A hybrid cloud offers flexibility and choice as to where to store data to optimise costs over the lifecycle of the data.

· Right-sizing recovery and availability: Cloud computing has driven organisations to think comprehensively about what data is necessary and how to treat each workload, taking the time to understand what storage is needed at any given time.

· Minimise risk: We know that diversifying investments is a sound strategy to avoid losing everything. A hybrid cloud approach provides location diversity for data, minimising the risk of data loss and cloud-vendor lock-in.

Three guiding principles to establishing data resilience

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, we recommend these three broad guiding principles that can enable organisations to establish a long-term hybrid cloud data resilience strategy:

1. Architecture matters

We suggest advocating for scalable and efficient architectures, technologies, and products built with a hybrid cloud in mind. The reason being that data resilience is a long-term strategy. The more costly your organisation's data is, the riskier it is to protect it. Making sustainable investments to support data resilience will reduce risk over the long term. This includes:

· Storing data efficiently: Storage costs, cloud or not, are usually equal to or increasing at a rate faster than data is growing. Backup data offers an opportunity to leverage data deduplication efficiencies to ensure that the most data can be stored in the smallest footprint. It's also true that efficiently stored data enables efficient data mobility. Data can be transferred across clouds to allow restoration anywhere and allow strategic direction changes quickly and cost-effectively.

· Optimising hybrid cloud infrastructure costs: Assess all hybrid cloud infrastructure components required, including compute, block and object storage, egress and transfer

costs, and API call costs. This will ensure no surprises when it comes to the run costs to enable an I.T. strategy.

· Leveraging cloud economics: Choose capabilities that deploy technology as a utility service so that infrastructure does not become an expense when it is not in use. Ideally, look for ways to consume I.T. where you only pay for what you use via a subscription-based or consumption-based model. The architecture should be modular, starting with a minimal resource footprint and growing with the organisation's needs.

2. Develop well-defined data protection policies

For many organisations, data is their competitive advantage. This data should be protected by considering these options:

· Responsibility: Public clouds generally operate under a Shared Responsibility Model, meaning an organisation maintains some responsibilities for their data and workloads. At the same time, the cloud provider may also take some responsibility. Data protection and availability typically falls on the customer to implement and manage. Consequently, it's essential to ensure that the corporate data protection policies extend across the hybrid cloud strategy.

· Reviewing the data protection strategy regularly: It is best to ensure the data protection strategy is up to date with the changing technology and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

3. Simplifying your data protection solutions

According to our survey mentioned earlier, nearly four in ten respondents used solutions from multiple data protection vendors. Organisations using multiple vendors are likely to experience almost 5x higher data loss costs and 2x higher downtime related costs. These enterprises are likely investing more in time, money and staffing resources to protect their data and applications, and yet their annual data loss and downtime costs are significantly higher than those working with a single data protection vendor.

While thinking through a data protection plan for a hybrid cloud strategy, CIOs should look to data protection solutions that protect data wherever it resides.

Organisations are becoming well-versed in the benefits of a hybrid environment. By adopting these three guiding principles, they will be able to effectively manage and protect their data and workloads and begin to reap the rewards of a robust hybrid cloud strategy.

By Adrian Davey, IT strategy consultant to Agilisys.
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