Hybrid Cloud Deployments: When, Why, and What Goes Where?

Article originally published here on MSDynamicsWorld.com on Jan 29, 2015.

I recently read an article about the top 20 hybrid dog breeds. Call me focused on my work, but it reminded me of hybrid cloud computing. From Goldendoodles to Puggles, to the American Bull Dane, the best and often most popular mixed-breed dogs seem to benefit from the strengths of both origin breeds. Dog lovers can now enjoy the smart, hypoallergenic lapdog or the strong, trainable watchdog that's just right for them!

With the hybrid cloud model, an organization can get the best of both worlds in cloud services: the higher security environment of private cloud plus the often more cost-effective benefits of public cloud, allowing the organization to create a balanced deployment that perfectly meets their needs. This can include private cloud deployment of mission-critical applications with specific security or other requirements, while solutions with less stringent needs can be added to a public cloud.

For most organizations that use a hybrid cloud architecture, private cloud can be used for the highest levels of control and security. This is often recommended for production environments, high-impact and regulated data, customized solutions that are sensitive to automatic upgrades and those that have complex workloads. On the other hand, public cloud - like Concerto's, which is based on the Microsoft Azure platform - can be used to deliver superior performance while helping to control costs. The public cloud might be used by the same corporation for demo environments, test and development environments, web front-end development, disaster recovery and applications with low-impact data that will not be impacted by automatic upgrades.

An example may help to illustrate the sort of division of data and applications that can be managed through hybrid cloud deployment.

If an organization is running Microsoft Dynamics GP and Solver's BI360 (or another complex business-critical application), the production environment for GP would reside in a private cloud environment, including a SQL server or remote desktop server for the rich client. The Solver BI360 component, a dedicated SQL-based web server for publishing those reports, would also exist in the private environment. The development environment for these servers could exist in the public space through Azure infrastructure as a service. So in this example, the majority of the elements would sit in the private cloud and one would sit in the public cloud.

Many customers also deploy a customer portal where their customers can access their accounts to track orders. In order to achieve the cost-efficiencies of both public and private platforms, the portal (SharePoint, for example) and related needs can reside in Azure or another public cloud platform and then reach back into the private cloud to retrieve the data from the Dynamics application, such as GP, AX, or NAV.

When it comes to choosing cloud service providers, enterprises have many options. Some corporations use different cloud providers for different applications- one for private cloud needs and others for public cloud applications, or they may use a single cloud provider that connects their platforms with a comprehensive hybrid package. There are, of course, pros and cons to both approaches, but it's important to examine which is the better long term fit for the needs of the enterprise.

What you can take from these examples is that ideal hybrid solutions vary based on each organization's specific needs and priorities. But an important reality is this: choosing the wrong cloud environment for the wrong application can have long-term effects on fundamental business processes. And since it's important to deploy the right data into the right cloud, it's also critical to seek advice from those that know best. Organizations must ensure that their potential cloud provider had a successful track record with complex integrations and interconnected platforms that don't sacrifice the business objectives or the cost-efficiencies.

However you deploy your solutions, the right hybrid architecture should be a little like that new maltipoo or Chorkie you have decided to bring home. It may be unique, but it delivers all the best qualities for your situation - without compromise.

Learn more about Concerto's Hybrid Cloud Platform.