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Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Architecture

SoftArc seeks to achieve higher levels of flexibility and increased options for data deployment, where they will have an on-premises cloud service, and third party cloud based service. This basically requires the company to have a hybrid clod architecture, consisting of a private on premise cloud and a public third party cloud service; services will orchestrate between the two clouds. For the in-house services, a private cloud will be deployed. A private cloud architecture will be built at the Sydney headquarters to provide on site data services. The private cloud will be implemented by having a dedicated data center consisting of a hardware and software infrastructure to be used privately and exclusively by SoftArc.  The private cloud architecture on premise will allow the company to host applications and services in the cloud, while retaining full control over data security and its use.  Specifically, SoftArc should have an on-premises cloud (an internal cloud) hosted at its Sydney data center as well as allow for greater configuration. This is advised because it will enable standardized processes and security albeit limited in terms of scalability and size.

To serve the international and regional branches and offices, a public cloud is to be used, provided by a third party service provider, such as Amazon Cloud Services. The public cloud service is operated and owned by the third party, but is cost-effective and will allow for a pay per use payment model, saving the organization the relatively high capital investment costs for an on-premise private cloud. The public cloud enables high level scalability depending on the demand and this can be achieved seamlessly. However, some aspects of control and configuration options with the public cloud will be limited. Combined, these will form a hybrid cloud architecture, consisting of a private and a public cloud architecture. To make better use of the available hardware and software resources SoftArc can use virtualization of hardware and software to have higher capacity data center and reduce energy costs. The public cloud will extend and leverage on the on-premise private cloud running some of its applications and allow greater flexibility and access to resources by regional and global locations. Further, the architecture will incorporate a software layer, for instance, Eucalyptus, to provide a seamless connection between the on-premise private cloud and the public cloud. The hybrid cloud architecture will enhance dynamic workloads and flexibility in service provision, as well as in situations of high fluctuations in workloads where there are several spikes (Rouse, 2016).

Private On-Premises Cloud and Public Cloud Service

The hybrid cloud architecture has significant cost benefits; research shows that hybrid clouds result in an average of 17% reduction in IT costs (‘Rackspace,’ 2017). The business will reduce overall total ownership costs and have an improved cost efficiency through leveraging hybrid clouds benefits. Hybrid clouds also improve security because sensitive information can be placed in a secure dedicated on-premise server and leverage the high availability and flexibility to conduct transactions on-line within an agile, seamless, and secure environment. The hybrid cloud will enable SoftArc to future proof the business while enhancing innovation because the business has access to a vast resource pool of public clouds form where new capabilities can be swiftly tested and allow getting to market faster, without a significant upfront investment (‘Rackspace,’ 2017), (Chang, Walters & Wills, 2015).   The hybrid cloud architecture provides a holistic approach to using It where the right job is matched to the right solution. The hybrid cloud will assure business continuity where business processes and activities continue despite a disaster or failure. Scalability is among the most visible and important benefits of hybrid cloud architectures, as it can be very expensive, inefficient, and inaccurate to forecast IT infrastructure requirements in the future. The hybrid cloud will allow the company to scale as and when required in the future. The hybrid cloud results in improved connectivity and and secure systems as well as enhancing risk management because the ‘waters can be tested’ first before full deployment to the cloud ('Iseek,' 2016).

However, while the hybrid cloud is the best suited for SoftArc needs, the limitations of the hybrid cloud must also be considered. The public cloud has low implied costs of operation and ownership, however, the private cloud requires a huge expenditure to implement and own. Care must also be taken to ensure security in the cloud. Integrating the applications and data in the hybrid cloud can be a challenge as both exist in a symbiotic relationship and this requires a suitable infrastructure for deployment. There are also possible problems with compatibility across infrastructure due to the dual infrastructure levels; networking is also a challenge in the hybrid cloud (Tracey, 2017), (Tracey, 2016).

The risks listed below are likely to impact the SoftArc cloud migration; the scoring was done using a matrix of likelihood-ness and impact, to form a risk profile scale of between 0 and 1.

Information is valuable and its security is paramount; the following steps should be taken to guarantee information security;

Virtualization for Higher Capacity Data Center and Reduced Energy Costs

To ensure security in the hybrid cloud, the data should be encrypted, especially when it is being accessed from the public cloud, as well as in the private cloud, both when the data is at rest and when being processed in the cloud and being shared. While the hybrid architecture allows for scalability; the security measures, procedures, tools, and systems remain scalable for future growth; security protocols must be able to grow alongside growth in cloud data requirements and services. Data leaks is a major security risk that must be plugged; data visibility and where data is stored must be carefully considered and so a monitoring procedure must be put in place to guarantee data security and prevent leaks. SoftArc must ensure all regulatory and compliance laws are well understood and also ensure a robust policy for the managing cross cloud data and information policies (Froehlich, 2017).  The data will be accessed from multiple locations around the world; the access points must be secured using suitable ad strong API’s to secure the data from the end-user access points (Kirti, 2016).

While safer for data, the cloud still suffers from the same flaws plaguing traditional IT data centers, such as failures, such as natural disasters. When choosing the public cloud service provider, SoftArc should ensure with the SLA,  the provider has cloud backup data centers to ensure continuity even when there is a disaster in one location. The public cloud service provider should implement measures to ensure data redundancy, such as implementing RAID architecture (RAID 6) in it data center architectures. For the private cloud service, SoftArc should first have its on-premise data center also backed up, with a separate cloud backup based on virtualization. Virtualization entails having a virtual version of the on-premise data center stored in the cloud to ensure continuity in the event there is a disaster at its Sydney data center. The cloud redundancy measures should be combined with cloud automation for the virtual backups to ensure BCP during migration and in the event of a disaster (Higginbotham, 2011).

Further, the on-premise data center servers should be implemented with redundancy in mind, by having the hard disks for the servers implemented using a strong RAID architecture, such as RAID 6.0 to ensure redundancy, even when there is a failure in one or more physical servers. Further, the virtual version of the data center, stored in the cloud should also mirror the physical server and be virtualized to ensure continuity , especially during the migration to the hybrid cloud platform. Before implementing the fl migration, the company needs to back up its resources and data and virtualize them, just in case the migration suffers hiccups. The migration should not be wholesale; SoftArc should use the on-premise data center to ‘test the waters’, by migrating a few non-critical applications and testing their performance, before gradually fully migrating to the cloud (Calzolari, 2006).

Enhanced Dynamic Workloads and Flexibility in Service Provision

SoftArc will be using software and infrastructure as a service (PaaS and IaaS) when using the public cloud; these must be managed in relation to virtual instances of its virtual machines. An instance refers to a virtual machine (VM), hosted on the infrastructure of a public cloud service provider, such as Google Compute Engine. An instance is created on the service providers’ platform, or using the provided command line tools, such as Google’s gcloud command line tool. The cloud provider (Google) can run images for Windows and Linux Servers, both public and private images. From the command line tol, SoftArc will be able to specify the number of VM instances to run and configure them, for instance, set the amount of memory, CPU’s, using pre-determined configurations or by creating custom configurations. Instances belong to the cloud provider’s platform console project, and a single instance can have more than a singe instance. When creating an instance, the operating system, zone, and machine are specified by SoftArc. Deleting instances removes them from the project. There are a variety of tools for controlling and managing instances; for Google, the tools include gcloud, the Google Cloud Platform Console, and the REST API; advanced configurations are undertaken using the SSH (secure shell) for Linux and RDP (remote desktop protocol) for Windows instances. When SoftArc creates instances, it enjoys full root privileges on the created instance. The user with administrative privileges can add other system users with Windows User Account and standard Linux commands after connecting to the instance, either using SSH or RDP.  The documents can be managed using a suitable document management system for the cloud to provide electronic file cabinets  to store, search, restrict access to certain documents, monitor access, track edits, retrieval, and sharing documents (Brooks, 2017).  The cloud application level is more complex since applications are built on top of the infrastructure and platform; application management requires tracking the SLA’s for application availability, performance, security, and total cost of owning the application.

Management of the cloud entails management at the three levels of the cloud, including platform, infrastructure, and service, all which must be defined in the SLA. The SLA should specify the main aspects of statefulness, such as server response in the correct steps; access where unauthorized users can access the cloud resources successfully. The response time should also be specified in the SLA as well as time out and versioning. At the infrastructure level, the cloud service provider guarantees and manages the infrastructure SLA (IaaS), whose performance and other features must be specified in the SLA. SoftArc should independently verify and test the guarantees as set in the IaaS SLA. This will require SoftArc to have a trained team to administer and manage the cloud infrastructure SLA. The cloud application platform for PaaS should also be managed effectively; many providers do not usually provide SLA’s for platforms, posing challenges in managing security, functionality, and availability for PaaS. However, SoftArc can use the provided API’s to track and manage the PaaS parameters, or use highly matured APM to hook with the underlying responses between the application and platform and the infrastructure and platform.  The SSH protocol is used for managing Linux for web services.

Setting up Share-point on AWS requires following the right steps that may be painstaking, but highly crucial for success;

  1. To start off, the scale and size of the migration must be determined as a comprehensive server specifications and prerequisites are required for SharePoint. The requirements must be set and adhered to in order to avoid hiccups and pop-ups during installation.
  2. The second step requires the number of servers to be determined; the expected user count, volume, and transaction count for SharePoint must be determined before hand, as well as the level f expected integration. From these information, the number of servers needed can be determined, and it is at this point that the migration team should decide whether to consolidate other services such as SQL, SharePoint, and Active Directory on the servers together. For this case, it is recommended that the MS SQL 2012 is consolidated with the SharePoint in a single server.
  3. The next step entails selecting the SharePoint version to use (whether 2013 or 2016 versions) and if not using SharePoint, then a fresh 2016 version can be started.
  4. The fourth step entails setting up an AD, whose structure must be planned for and decided, as well as versioning and naming. The AD, for the SoftArc case should be linked on site to the SharePoint on AWS instance; this requires that the AD relationship is also determined, relative to deployment.
  5. After securing the SharePoint site, the DNS is set up and this can be done by importing the certificate into the SharePoint IIS and then assign it to the SharePoint site and an alternate URL applied. The DNS entry is then applied to the provider account; this will enable full external access to SharePoint on the AWS site via secure SSL certificate.
  6. The last step requires cloning the SharePoint server; this is an additional step but requires separate migration of the database to the AWS and then re integrating it to the SharePoint.

The migration process requires using the AWS templates by also running the SQL Quick Start templates on AWS website (Gollamandala, 2017).

References

Calzolari, F. (2006). High availability using virtualization . Retrieved May 12, 2017, from

 https://arxiv.org/pdf/0910.1719.pdf

Chang, V., Walters, R. J., Wills, G., & IGI Global,. (2015). Delivery and adoption of cloud

 computing services in contemporary organizations.

Froehlich, A. (2017, January 27). 5 Security Considerations For The Hybrid Cloud. Retrieved May

12, 2017, from https://www.informationweek.com/cloud/5-security-considerations-for-the- hybrid-cloud/a/d-id/1328000

Gollamandala, O. (2017, April 12). Using AWS in a Hybrid SharePoint Environment. Retrieved

 May 12, 2017, from https://www.datavail.com/blog/using-aws-in-a-hybrid-sharepoint- environment/

Higginbotham, S. (2011, May 29). How to Ensure Business Continuity in the Cloud. Retrieved May

 12, 2017, from https://gigaom.com/2011/05/29/how-to-design-your-service-for-failures-in- the-cloud/

'Iseek' (2016, November 01). 7 benefits of a Hybrid Cloud solution. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from

 https://www.iseek.com.au/cloud/7-benefits-of-a-hybrid-cloud-solution/

Kirti, G. (2016, June 23). Why APIs beat proxies for cloud security. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from

https://www.infoworld.com/article/3087361/security/why-apis-beat-proxies-for-cloud- security.html

'Rackspace' (2017). Hybrid Cloud Benefits & Advantages - Rackspace. Retrieved May 12, 2017,

 from https://www.rackspace.com/cloud/hybrid/benefits

Rhoton, J., & Haukioja, R. (2013). Cloud computing architected. Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Recursive

Press.

Rouse, M. (2016). What is hybrid cloud? - Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017,

 from https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/hybrid-cloud

Tracy, P. (2016, September 23). Explaining the hybrid cloud, its advantages and disadvantages.

 Retrieved May 12, 2017, from https://www.rcrwireless.com/20160922/big-data- analytics/hybrid-cloud-iot-tag31-tag99

Tracey, C. (2017, February 01). 5 Important Things you need to Know about Hybrid Clouds.

 Retrieved May 12, 2017, from https://www.veber.co.uk/5-hybrid-cloud-advantages-and- disadvantages/

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