By Joe Kim, SolarWinds Chief Technology Officer


I recently presented at our Federal User Group meeting in Washington, DC and hybrid IT was the hottest topic at the event.  It reminded me of a blog written last year by our former Chief Information Officer, Joel Dolisy, which I think is still very valid and worth a read.



It’s really no surprise that agencies are embracing hybrid clouds given that federal IT is balancing the need for greater agility, flexibility, and innovation, with strict security control. Hybrid clouds provide the perfect alternative, because they allow agencies to become more nimble and efficient while still maintaining control.


In today’s IT, there’s no room for barriers. Things exist in many places; applications, for example, must be stateless, mobile, and easily scalable to accommodate periods of peak demand.


Hybrid clouds offer three specific benefits that on-premises or hosted solutions cannot offer.


Lockdown Security


The hybrid model can help alleviate agencies’ cloud security concerns. Agencies can opt to keep extremely sensitive data on-premises in private clouds, while using public clouds to run applications.


That said, some agencies have begun placing contractor-owned and operated cloud offerings directly onto their networks. The contractors are providing physical security and boundary protection based on agency requirements. This helps solve acquisition challenges and allows agencies to more readily adopt innovative new commercial technologies.


Better Disaster Recovery


Systems may simply go down due to events that are beyond anyone’s control – power outages, hurricanes, and other phenomena. These situations require disaster recovery programs, and hybrid clouds can play a part in their implementation.


Hybrid clouds make disaster recovery far easier to implement and manage, and far more cost-effective. First, there’s no intensive physical installation, because everything is software-defined. Second, the hybrid cloud model can be more financially beneficial to an organization, especially agencies experiencing tight budgetary purse strings.


Greater Efficiency


With big data, processing time can sometimes take weeks, which may as well be a lifetime. Integrating existing on-premises computers with off-site hosted cloud resources can shave that time down to minutes.


Hybrid architectures make this possible. An organization can spin up hundreds of extra processors as necessary, for a specified period of time. This can help ensure that applications remain fully accessible and functioning, and speed up the dissemination of critical information.


There are other types of savings that can be had, specifically in terms of space. Data center consolidation has been in full swing since 2010, when the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) was first introduced. A hybrid approach can help agencies in this effort by allowing them to save an enormous amount of space currently dedicated to compute resources that can be virtualized.


There are many benefits to hybrid cloud deployments, but they still have to be monitored closely. I wrote about the need for network monitoring, and the same rule of thumb can be applied to the cloud. Administrators must monitor their servers and applications – preferably with an agentless tool – that exist within both their on-premises and hosted environments. While hybrid clouds do offer the best of both worlds, agencies will want to always make sure the workloads they’re running within those worlds remain fully optimized. It’s also important to note that hybrid cloud deployment should be the goal, not just a transitional state.


Find the full article on our partner DLT’s blog, Technically Speaking.