As one of the world’s keenest adopters of virtualisation, Australia had a leg up when the pandemic sliced through global business in 2020.
Although many Australian enterprises had mature virtualisation environments to serve customers, partners and employees at a distance, many were still constrained by not having all their workloads in public cloud where they could deliver maximum business value.
And many enterprises want reassurance of tangible benefits before another round of digital transformation, which is why ‘hybrid cloud’ is another leg up, says Tom Ceglarek, Telstra Purple’s Head of Hybrid Cloud.
“Hybrid cloud is just a quicker way to achieve the digital transformation that business leaders crave,” says Ceglarek.
“Customers are struggling with continual rounds of transformation, which tend to take longer than expected to deliver results. But it doesn't have to be that hard when hybrid cloud offers the business benefits of speed and agility without the hot burn of a full-blown digital transformation.”
Bridging the gap with hybrid cloud
Think of hybrid cloud as the bridge between private (‘on-premises’) and public cloud, offered by so-called ‘hyperscalers’ such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or in Google’s Cloud Platform. These elephantine cloud providers offer enterprises almost limitless scale, flexibility and accessibility to dial infrastructure and applications up or down as circumstances dictate.
Enterprises have liberty to put, say, a customer service app (‘workload’) in a public cloud where their customers easily access it, protect sensitive or regulated client data on-premises, and call up third-party clouds (such as for billing and fulfillment) on demand. Enterprises with hybrid cloud leverage hyperscalers’ greater resources to invest in new technologies and services, further speeding customers’ own internal transformations.
What distinguishes hybrid cloud from a disparate ‘multi-cloud’ architecture is the presence of an on-prem component but, most importantly, sophisticated integration and software orchestration of services and workloads. While hybrid cloud users have ‘one pane of glass’ through which to manage their IT infrastructure, multi-clouds may be more complex and risky.
“Hybrid cloud should reduce your complexity and decrease the overhead on CIOs and the IT team to deliver value to the business, faster,” Ceglarek says.
Enterprises that virtualised their environments—or are on that journey—can lift their workloads into a managed, hybrid cloud to gain public cloud benefits.
“For highly virtualised enterprises with workloads on-prem or in a private data centre, hybrid offers more resilience, greater performance, higher availability and simpler management without the expense and uncertainty of a wholesale ‘lift and shift’ to a hyperscaler,” says Ceglarek.
“And they get surge capacity, consumption-based billing and scale without the heartache of another transformation. Hybrid cloud is a really easy way to achieve the business outcomes they want without refactoring their entire IT infrastructure.”
The healthy way to hybrid cloud
Over the past 12 months, Telstra Purple helped an Australian health food delivery company realise its aspiration to digitally transform for business growth.
Starting with a pilot to back up to public cloud, the partners soon realised that performance and availability of the on-premises, virtualised infrastructure was lagging. Ceglarek says he “flipped the script” to lift the remaining virtualised workloads into public cloud, while keeping some workloads on-prem.
“As COVID hit, they saw a huge spike in demand for their product as people just wanted it delivered. So our customer now leverages the scalability and speed to serve increased customer demand without rewriting any of their apps. They just deploy more apps and balance them as needed. So it was a good outcome.”
Although initially hesitant to go ‘all-in’ on hybrid cloud, Ceglarek says the immediate and tangible benefits showed how it could be a stepping stone to full, public cloud digital transformation.
“Now they work within peaks and troughs in their business cycles. As a consumption-based model, they consume hosts hourly to cater to demand spikes. Now they’re looking at exiting their private data centre to move everything into public cloud.”
Telstra Purple’s 4-step plan to hybrid cloud nirvana
Such hybrid cloud transformations start by assessing a customer’s business, its unique attributes, heritage and future ambitions.
Telstra Purple’s Cloud Adoption Framework digs deep into what will deliver maximum success from a business transformation. The four stages are:
- Discover — Organisation strategy aligned to cloud outcomes, change management program initiated, workload assessments conducted
- Define — Governance and policy guardrails erected, target state and migration plan agreed, remediation projects initiated to align best practice
- Deliver — Cloud foundation laid, governance and policy implemented, ‘factory’ migration aligns with strategy outcomes
- Drive — Infrastructure, apps and data managed and optimised, transformation to cloud native state (ongoing).
Ceglarek says a successful hybrid cloud starts with a business discussion.
“Transformations aren’t numbers on a spreadsheet and nor is it just gathering requirements like how much RAM you need. Telstra Purple customers’ hybrid cloud transformations succeed because we collaborate with every part of their business and learn which apps they have, how are they used and by whom? Among other questions we ask are sensitivities about privacy and governance, especially about regulated data flows.
“And then we simulate possible outcomes — What happens if we lift this workload in the cloud to scale it for rapid responses to peaks and troughs in demand? And when all that’s done, we’ve created real and enduring value, together as partners.”