5 ways to ensure hybrid clouds take root

'A hybrid approach leverages the best of both worlds in what could be called a mash-up of on-prem and off-prem resources'
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Implemented properly, hybrid cloud should enable the rapid, unobstructed movement of data and workloads between environments, be they on-premises or in clouds. Not having this flexibility defeats the purpose of having hybrid cloud environments in the first place. 

Photo: Joe McKendrick

"It is not realistic to assume that organizations will wholly replace their current in-house content repositories overnight in favor of a cloud-only approach," says Kevin Craine, content strategist with AIIM, in a recently released guidebook. "A hybrid approach leverages the best of both worlds in what could be called a mash-up of on-prem and off-prem resources."

With this in mind, Craine explores the key steps enterprises need to take to ensure their hybrid cloud projects are delivering value. Here are his recommendations:

Assess the business challenge. "Thoroughly evaluate the current process" with IT and business stakeholders, Craine writes. "How does it perform today, where are the bottlenecks and roadblocks, and in what ways will a change in approach make a difference?"

Prioritize migrations. There are many events across the business -- mergers and acquisitions, for example -- that may have greater urgency for hybrid. Once an assessment of the business challenge is made, "you are in position to make better decisions regarding which systems should remain on premises, and which ones are good candidates for migration to the cloud," says Craine. 

Ensure flexibility. "Once you migrate content to the cloud, it is important to ensure that you can move it back again, or from one cloud provider to another." Craine cautions "some providers make it difficult to reclaim ownership of your content once it's migrated, so look for solutions that remove those roadblocks and constraints." 

Build an enterprise metadata strategy. Metadata management is key to establishing a governance strategy across multiple domains "that transcends where the information is located," Craine explains. "This approach overcomes the physical barriers regarding whether or not the data is housed within the organization or in the cloud, and it also bridges the gap organizationally between IT practitioners and records managers."

Establish a Center of Excellence. Such a mechanism is, at its core, "both a planning methodology
and a cross-functional forum where business analysts, IT support, and executives all work together on common goals and steps to leverage the advantages across the enterprise," says Craine. "In this way, organizations reuse the architecture of the solution and the expertise involved rather than reinventing the wheel each and every time."

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