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AWS hybrid cloud tools that beat setup barriers

A hybrid cloud is complex, with various storage and networking requirements. The right tools and services get IT admins a step closer to bridging AWS and on-premises workloads.

Many enterprises turn to hybrid clouds in their data lifecycle management plans, moving information to and from...

the cloud as needed. But IT teams must use the recommended hybrid storage tools -- and networking that connects public and private clouds -- to guarantee both environments function properly.

Hybrid clouds aren't easy; they present setup challenges, and it can be difficult to identify the proper tools and services -- not to mention third-party tools and partnerships -- to orchestrate the functionality and migration of public cloud and on-premises workloads. Amazon provides an array of capabilities that are suited for increasingly popular AWS hybrid cloud projects, including tools and services geared toward data storage and networking.

Storage for hybrid architectures

When an application resides in a public cloud, a portion of that application's data storage should also be placed in the public cloud. Establish a data store with the application workload to vastly increase application performance and reduce WAN bandwidth demands for storage tasks. Many of the AWS cloud services that entice hybrid customers -- including serverless computing, Amazon CloudWatch log file storage and API call tracking through AWS CloudTrail -- also incorporate storage through services like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS).

But shuttling data from local stores to the cloud and back presents unique security and reliability challenges, which can vary depending on the size of the data transfer. These AWS hybrid cloud storage services can help fill a variety of your data transport needs:

AWS Storage Gateway. The AWS Storage Gateway connects on-premises applications and cloud-based storage, such as Amazon S3 and Amazon EBS. Local applications connect to AWS Storage Gateway through a gateway appliance using conventional storage protocols. Users connect as a file gateway for file storage, a volume gateway for block storage or a tape gateway to create a virtual tape library. The gateway appliance uses compression, encryption, local cache and bandwidth management to optimize data transfers.

Enterprises can use AWS Storage Gateway for data backup, archiving, data migration and disaster recovery tasks, among others.

Enterprises can use AWS Storage Gateway for data backup, archiving, data migration and disaster recovery tasks, among others. The service also enables local workloads to seamlessly use both on-premises and AWS cloud storage. Data is processed in the cloud and then returns to local storage or tiers that aren't accessed frequently.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). It's a challenge to install, configure and manage on-premises databases. Amazon RDS is a scalable relational database service that handles hardware provisioning, setup, patching and database backups. You can provision Amazon RDS in multiple availability zones to automatically replicate data for high resilience.

IT teams with an existing on-premises database can use AWS Database Migration Service to migrate or replicate existing databases to Amazon RDS. An IT team can set up continuous replication with the service for homogenous or heterogeneous database transfers, enabling it to access and back up databases locally and in the cloud.

Access Amazon RDS through the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface, or through third-party applications or tools via API calls. IT teams can use Amazon RDS for memory, performance or I/O optimization; it also runs popular database engines, including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL and MariaDB. Teams can also create and populate a new database in RDS. Once available, applications use Amazon RDS for a wide range of queries.

AWS Snowball. As data sets expand, enterprises have security worries and encounter bandwidth limitations during a data transfer. This is especially true when an organization chooses to shift a huge data set to the public cloud. The AWS Snowball appliance doesn't rely on the internet to move data, and it can transfer petabytes of data to and from the cloud.

AWS ships a Snowball appliance to a user; the user attaches the appliance to the LAN, establishes a connection and selects content to migrate. The Snowball client encrypts and transfers the content across the LAN. Once the transfer finishes, the customer ships the Snowball appliance back to AWS, where the data moves to S3 instances.

This also works in reverse, enabling users to move volumes of data from the cloud to local stores. Users track the progress of the migration through the AWS Management Console, and they can sign up for text message notifications or Amazon Simple Notification Service alerts.

Storage partnerships. AWS has a variety of partnerships with storage vendors, extending the reach of AWS and giving the user more hybrid storage options.

NetApp's ONTAP Cloud runs as a VM on Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances and uses EBS to form a Data ONTAP storage node in AWS. Avere Virtual FXT Edge filers provide network-attached storage in the cloud that enable enterprises to use cloud bursting and cloud NAS together on AWS to support a hybrid infrastructure. Ctera supports its Enterprise File Services Platform from an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) on AWS, enabling users to synchronize, share, secure and manage data across AWS servers, remote offices and endpoint devices.

State of the cloud quiz: Do you know the latest cloud computing trends?

Cloud migration tools are on the market that can address migration issues from private cloud to public cloud, but users often choose to go it alone. Take this quiz to test your knowledge about the current cloud computing trends.

Connect AWS and private clouds

Network connectivity is a big determining factor to create an AWS hybrid cloud, as enterprises must integrate on-premises and public cloud resources through a common, dedicated network. Network services can improve performance and make better use of existing bandwidth. They also bolster security for hybrid environments by isolating and controlling cloud resources.

AWS Direct Connect. Users depend on internet connectivity to access cloud workloads, and connectivity is crucial to integrate on-premises workloads and AWS resources in a hybrid scenario. Inconsistent internet connectivity makes workload and hybrid performance unpredictable, causing some enterprises to invest more money in WAN bandwidth. But cloud providers have their own dedicated connectivity, such as AWS Direct Connect. This dedicated connection can improve bandwidth use, offer greater stability and can partition into two or more virtual interfaces to preserve isolation between public and private environments.

AWS Direct Connect uses 802.1Q virtual LAN technology to establish 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps connections between on-premises and AWS Direct Connect locations via telecom partners. The service is compatible with all internet-compliant Amazon services, including Amazon S3, Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC. Teams manage AWS Direct Connect through the AWS Management Console.

Amazon VPC. AWS specializes in multi-tenant, shared resources that pass among users. An IT team can use Amazon VPC to provision and manage isolated sections of the cloud, enabling them to launch resources and run workloads within the VPC.

Enterprises that move to an AWS hybrid cloud often use a virtual private network to establish the connection between the local data center and VPC. Amazon VPC routing tables connect a VPC to the internet and the local data center, directing traffic to the correct destinations. Amazon VPC also enables control over IPv4 and IPv6 address selection, subnet creation and gateway management.

Network partnerships. AWS Direct Connect depends on telecom providers to maintain a dedicated link between the business and a corresponding Direct Connect location. AWS maintains partnerships with telecom partners, such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Equinix, for these connections. The number of available providers depends on the region and the level of connectivity an enterprise requires.

Next Steps

See if the AWS hybrid architecture makes financial sense

Market pressures force AWS' hybrid hand

AWS finds a home with hybrid and multicloud users

This was last published in July 2017

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