If you are running part of your system in a public cloud and other business-critical operations on-premises, on the edge, or in a private cloud, you are operating a hybrid cloud environment.
Not integrating and combining your resources can lead to compliance and governance risks, security vulnerabilities, siloed systems and lack of visibility, affecting performance and your bottom line.
What’s the solution? Hybrid cloud consistency. In this report, we look into the steps and guides on how to create cloud consistency with Microsoft Azure.
The benefits of Azure Stack and hybrid environments
There are several benefits to hybrid environments. While companies may feel the need to migrate everything to a primary cloud in order to simplify operations and reduce costs, leaving behind on-premises data centers or edge computing is not always the best of ideas. The edge, powered by 5G networks, can provide low latency, security and high-level performance that the cloud data centers cannot provide. Additionally, on-premises infrastructure allows organizations to control their assets completely.
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Combining cloud technology with edge computing and hybrid cloud environments, users can get the best of all worlds: The speed of the edge, the ownership of in-house resources and the cost-efficient scalable services of the Azure cloud. Furthermore, the cloud offers speed of innovation, security and the necessary tools to integrate and manage all hybrid and edge-cloud environments.
Microsoft Azure Stack is a family of products and solutions that extend Azure to your data center or the edge. Products include Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Edge.
With Azure Stack, your organization can:
- Manage private, public, on-premises and edge computing resources
- Handle spikes in demand
- Reduce capital IT expenditures
- Pivot and adapt according to business needs
- Free up resources
- Integrate security
- Access cutting-edge technology
- Accelerate and modernize
- Reduce hardware and software cost
- Integrate compliance and governance
- Design, deploy, test and operate new systems, software, apps and web applications
Azure hybrid cloud consistency components
Microsoft explains that four Azure components are essential to creating a true hybrid cloud solution (Figure A):
Azure Active Directory
This service works to provide a common identity for all users’ on-premises and cloud applications. This component provides single sign-on across the entire environment. Admins can manage security and governance controls. They also have the flexibility to adjust permissions without affecting the user experience.
Management and security integration across hybrid clouds
Using Azure, you can integrate your management and security services for all your environments. Azure provides tools that can help you monitor, configure and protect hybrid clouds. The system is designed to be an end-to-end solution, constantly updated to address real business challenges.
Azure data services
To create a consistent data platform for the data center and the cloud, Azure hybrid cloud provides common tools that ensure seamless and efficient access to all data. Azure data services combine with Microsoft SQL Server to create a consistent data platform. Users can work with operational and analytical data. The data services can be applied on-premises and in the cloud for data warehousing, analysis and visualization.
Unified DevOps across the cloud and on-premises data centers
Azure Cloud Services, combined with Azure Stack on-premises, provide unified development and DevOps. A DevOps team can build applications that run in either environment and can quickly deploy to the right location. This tool simplifies DevOps processes.
How to unify hybrid cloud operations
Using Azure Resource Manager and Azure Arc, you can add resources to your environment and manage them through one cloud dashboard. Microsoft explains that the best strategy to manage hybrid environment consistency is using a primary cloud platform to unify operations.
In Azure, all your private or public cloud assets, edge or on-premises resources and operational processes are unified under a centralized control. Primary clouds do not have to host most of your workloads, but they must host the services and the controls necessary to run the core operations like management, governance, compliance and security.
By unifying operations of hybrid and edge cloud environments, you can (Figure B):
- Implement gateways and controls
- Manage and govern your operations consistently
- Increase innovation, agility and business growth
Using Azure Arc and Resources Manager, you can (Figure C):
- View, manage or optimize costs, and identify and provide mitigation guidance for cloud-related IT spend risk
- Audit, apply or automate requirements from recommended security controls
- Identify and provide mitigation guidance for security-related business risks
- Onboard, organize and configure resources and services
- Enforce authentication and authorization across user identity and access
- Accelerate deployment using templates, automation and pipelines
- Establish policies to ensure compliant, consistent and repeatable resources
- Manage inventory and visibility
- Gain visibility of all your hybrid environment assets and monitor their performance
You can also:
- Track, patch and optimize supported resources
- Create backups, business continuity and disaster recovery best practices
- Leverage common technology platforms such as SQL databases, virtual desktops and SAP
- Run workload operations for mission-critical workloads
- Manage virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters and databases
- Use Azure services and management capabilities, regardless of where they live
- Create, provision, resize, delete and manage virtual machines based on VMware vSphere or Azure Stack HCI
- Run Azure data services on-premises, at the edge and in public clouds using Kubernetes and the infrastructure of your choice
No matter what your digital infrastructure or your line of business is, when unifying your operations with the tools of a primary cloud, you can control all your resources from just one dashboard. Azure provides solutions and tools to create a unified hybrid cloud consistency from performance to onboarding and scaling. Having a hybrid framework and plan is essential when migrating, building and operating multi-cloud, edge-cloud or hybrid-cloud environments. Consistency is integration, management, intelligent performance and governance.
If you’re interested in how Azure compares to its competitors, have a look at these articles on its performance against IBM Cloud, AWS and Google Cloud.