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Cutting a public cloud provider out of your hybrid cloud

Public cloud providers come with the risk of vendor lock-in, poor service and other issues that can derail your hybrid cloud. However, having a backup plan in place rids you of those provider problems.

A hybrid cloud merges the existing private cloud with the facilities of a public cloud provider. It is an increasingly attractive way for your company to get the best of both worlds in your cloud environment. It mitigates data center growth, it can help you in case of unplanned spikes in computing demand, and optimizes the cost-effectiveness of each enterprise workload.

However, the public cloud provider itself represents a potential single point of failure for your enterprise, which is a risk all companies should be aware of. Provider problems such as unplanned downtime or other service disruptions can leave your important workloads unavailable. Other issues like poor or inconsistent service, undesirable service or changes to your existing service-level agreement (SLA), unexpected cost increases, and even mergers or acquisitions -- particularly when working with smaller or niche providers -- can quickly morph an important business partner into an unwanted liability.

Just as a private cloud network should build resiliency by eliminating single points of failure, a hybrid cloud can improve resiliency by establishing a backup public cloud provider. This can allow workloads to be migrated between providers as desired, or recovered and restarted on a backup provider when trouble strikes the first provider.

Be sure to select backup public cloud providers with environments that are fully compatible with existing workloads and are not susceptible to the dreaded vendor lock-in -- it is not worth having to recode a workload to operate with a different provider's application program interface (API) set. Remember, your cloud provider research doesn't end with your first SLA with your first provider. It's important to test multiple providers regularly. This way, you can verify your company's workloads -- particularly its mission-critical ones -- can indeed be moved among providers without problems, if and when that becomes necessary down the line.

About the author:
Stephen J. Bigelow is the senior technology editor of the Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. He can be reached at

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