Top tips for building a successful hybrid cloud strategy

The consensus among experts is that hybrid cloud will become an even more integral part of modern business strategies in 2024 and beyond. What should modern businesses do to leverage hybrid cloud effectively?

Johannesburg, 16 Feb 2024
Jacques Joubert, service delivery manager and Jennifer Mbesa, GM for Operations at RDB Consulting.
Jacques Joubert, service delivery manager and Jennifer Mbesa, GM for Operations at RDB Consulting.

According to a recent IDC survey, 60% of respondents in South Africa plan to increase spend on a hybrid cloud approach – bringing together public cloud, private cloud and on-premises infrastructure.

According to Jacques Joubert, service delivery manager at RDB Consulting, a hybrid approach offers greater flexibility, adaptability and scalability so that businesses can easily adjust to changing market conditions and handle fluctuating demand. From a security perspective, hybrid cloud strategies offer a balance between the capabilities of the public cloud and the control offered by private clouds, which is especially beneficial for businesses dealing with sensitive data. In addition, being able to access industry-specific solutions that cater to the unique needs of different types of businesses and leverage the latest technological advancements – like artificial intelligence and machine learning – without having to spend a lot of money, is another big selling point for hybrid cloud environments.

All of this being said, Joubert highlights that a number of variables come into play when actually moving applications and workloads to the cloud and these must be carefully scrutinised before businesses decide to do so. “Over the years, we’ve seen many businesses jump on the cloud bandwagon; fully committing to a cloud strategy without doing their homework and properly planning/preparing to make the change. This is a big mistake.”

Before adopting a hybrid cloud model, businesses must spend some time developing a well-defined strategy, understanding their current architectures and business needs, notes Joubert. As part of this, it is important to question the purpose of your cloud move so that you have a clearer idea of what you hope to achieve. “If, for example, you want to meet the growing demands of your clients and provide them with the highest level of service, your team has to have the necessary cloud-related skills and knowledge to leverage cloud capabilities effectively,” says Jennifer Mbesa, GM for Operations at RDB Consulting.

In addition, you have to put the right people and tools in place to properly manage the complexity that comes with hybrid environments. “Because this technology is changing all the time, remember that your teams will need to engage in continuous learning and professional development to make sure that they have the most up-to-date skills,” she says. Before going hybrid, it’s equally essential to have conversations around costs and conduct a cost-benefits analysis to assess the financial feasibility of migration.

For Joubert, once you understand the “why”, you then need to consider the “how”. The moving of applications and databases must be done logically and strategically to ensure effective data management. “Could you split up data or group data better so that you can move things more logically? Often, companies don’t know what data they have or how it fits together because their data is sitting in different silos,” explains Joubert, stressing that this must be addressed before migrating.

“Remember that your transition strategy can, and should, happen in phases; especially for workload modernisation. The idea is to try things out, see what is and isn’t working and then adapt accordingly. In line with this, client feedback should be welcomed and encouraged because it is an essential tool for improvement. “Savvy businesses will tailor training and development efforts around client input so that they can better align what they are offering to the specific needs and preferences of their client base, thus providing their customer a better experience,” says Mbesa.

Going forward, the hybrid cloud model is only set to improve and evolve, making hybrid clouds more powerful, efficient and better tailored to the needs of different types of businesses. This evolution further solidifies the role of hybrid cloud in enabling the digital transformation strategies of organisations of all sizes and across all industries across the globe.