Navigating the challenges of hybrid cloud integration with legacy systems

By Jonathan Crowl

IT professionals having a meeting in a server room about hybrid cloud integration

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Hybrid cloud adoption is fast on the rise at the enterprise level. Projections from Markets and Markets expect the hybrid cloud industry to be worth nearly $92 billion by 2021.

That continued growth doesn’t come without its own challenges, though, especially when it comes to hybrid cloud integration with existing legacy systems. Every business faces a unique set of circumstances that will affect the complexity of this integration. The number of applications being used and the way those applications are used can impact the cost of managing this integration, as can the time and resource demands already placed on the IT team.

Once you’re familiar with the benefits of hybrid cloud and have selected the right integration platform, the next step is to develop a plan that will ensure a seamless transition without taking systems offline or exposing your data to external threats. The following are some potential challenges to consider as you develop this transition plan.

Tackle connectivity head-on

Latency in data exchange is one of the biggest threats facing hybrid cloud integration. Slow data exchanges can impede or even paralyze the performance of certain enterprise apps. When you transition to the hybrid cloud, you need assurances that appropriate connectivity solutions are in place.

For many enterprise organizations, the solution is to enlist the help of a third-party vendor that offers a dedicated data center and circuit for quickly and reliably facilitating the transfer of this data. Doing so provides you with a reasonable degree of assurance that it’s necessary to move information back and forth between the private cloud, on-premise data storage or other destinations, it can be done quickly and without sacrificing performance.

TechTarget notes that while this third-party approach can be the best solution, it’s still important for organizations to implement tools that let them independently monitor and manage their cloud environment, providing another degree of quality assurance for a vital aspect of your company’s digital operations. Keep a close eye on connectivity at all times. If latency issues become a constant problem, it’s probably time to seek out another solution.

Minimize downtime with replication tools

One of the greatest challenges facing hybrid cloud integrations is the need for lengthy periods of downtime as data is transferred. But instead of shutting down services and solutions to clear a path for data’s cloud transfer, organizations can simply copy existing data and replicate it in the cloud.

This process requires the use of “replication tools,” which facilitate integrations and data exchanges with minimal or no downtime, making the transition less of a hassle for organizations. Additionally, the use of real-time replication tools can help process and replicate new data as it comes into the organization while the integration is taking place. This can further minimize downtime and create a more seamless integration. Once the process is complete and services are running off of data stored in the cloud, data in the original storage location can be either deleted or archived to a secure location.

Use VPNs to manage data transfers

Cracks in your enterprise security might be exposed while integrating solutions or transferring data. One way to maintain security during the transition is to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to encrypt data as it’s being transferred. Data in motion can be a particular liability if you face compliance requirements that must be maintained throughout the transition. With a VPN and encryption, you’re more likely to meet those compliance standards at every step in the process.

Help the role of enterprise IT evolve through the hybrid cloud

What is hybrid cloud computing going to mean for your IT team once the integration is complete? For the most part, the difference will lie in the role vendors and third-party services play in daily IT operations.

Instead of managing internal assets, private data centers and limited integrations with external solutions, hybrid cloud integration makes these collaborations with external entities far more commonplace. IT must get used to working with outside organizations and experts on a regular basis. With a more collaborative approach comes the likelihood that cloud-hosted solutions will evolve at a much faster pace, with old solutions replaced more frequently than they would have when using a legacy system.

Ultimately, this transition is good for the organization and could make life easier for IT staff. But the transition to a faster-moving, more collaborative approach will require a culture shift for some IT departments.

Hybrid cloud integration is a large, potentially complex project for enterprises, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Proper planning is all that’s needed to lay the foundation for a hassle-free transition.