Article | July 23, 2021
After the pandemic hit us in 2020, most businesses have gradually shifted from physical or in-person interactions to a virtual platform. The situation accelerated the demand for better collaboration tools such as Software as a Service (SaaS). As a result, SaaS organizations offering all-inclusive services aim to grow in the coming years. Many organizations are leveraging the advantages of B2B SaaS marketing to sustain and excel at the competitive edge. During a conversation with Media 7, Stacey Witt, the Chief Marketing Officer at LoadSpring, said, “Our vendors and partners understand the agility and flexibility of our cloud platform and want their applications to be SaaS-enabled.”
SaaS businesses offer services starting from user authentication technology to cloud infrastructure. According to Gartner, Software as a service (SaaS) will remain the principal market segment, which is forecasted to grow to $ 151.1 Billion in 2021. Hence, 2021 is the best time to explore the benefits of SaaS and improve the marketing strategies to occupy a more significant share of the flourishing global market.
What is B2B SaaS Marketing?
B2B SaaS stands for business-to-business Software-as-a-Service. B2B SaaS is a cloud-based software distribution model used by businesses for numerous operations such as accounting, office productivity, customer relationship management (CRM), and other work-related activities. It is licensed software available on a subscription basis from a third-party provider, which hosts the applications and allows access to the customers through the internet. B2B SaaS Marketing is simply the technique used to market SaaS. As a flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient platform, SaaS triggers the attention of businesses to enter the market. Salesforce, the popular customer relationship management (CRM) tool, is the ideal example of a SaaS company.
SaaS companies have experienced a significant surge in client acquisition since the beginning of the pandemic and expect a steady rise in the future. Earlier, the marketers have focused on experimenting latest trends for business growth, but now considering its increasing demand across various businesses, a strategic approach is the need of the hour. Suppose you have not prepared your B2B SaaS marketing strategy yet in 2021. In that case, it is high time to start now by selecting the technics that are proven and can yield effective results by converting your marketing efforts highest rates possible.
10 Imperative B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies for 2021
According to BetterCloud, today, entrepreneurs of all sizes estimate that 70% of the business apps they use are SaaS-based. However, the forecast says that the numbers will rise to 85% by 2025.
SaaS platforms have made their products more scalable and subscription-based to handle the rising demand. However, if your SaaS marketing efforts are not up to the mark, your product can get lost in the mass. Here are the ten critical SaaS growth strategies to help you contend, survive, stay relevant, and succeed in the competitive world.
Emphasize Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is one of the essential parameters for preparing marketing strategies, and SaaS Marketing is no exception. It helps identify the major competitors and study their product, sales, marketing, and customer retention strategies. Competitor analysis will help you to develop better practices than your competitors and expand accordingly. By performing competitor analysis, you can identify the product's unique value proposition and stay updated on the latest trends. It also helps to analyze competitor's actions for better performance. As a result, you can assess and identify areas of betterment and opportunities in the market. Additionally, you can track the customer reviews on the products of your competitors and identify the gaps.
Focus on SaaS Content Marketing
Posting engaging content has a direct or indirect impact on your marketing outcome. A robust content marketing strategy helps create brand awareness, connect with the prospects, improve ranking, establish domain knowledge, and boost traffic engagement ratio. The tone of confidence in your content can help you gain customer reliance and be a potential gamechanger in a challenging SaaS ecosystem. In addition, you can use reprocessed content to target diverse audiences.
According to the ProfitWell study, SaaS companies that use content marketing experience 30% higher growth rates and 5-10% better retaining capacities. To ensure a robust SaaS content marketing strategy, you should:
Regularly update your content
Compelling and engaging content helps to nurture leads. To accommodate the challenges and demand fluctuations in 2020, many brands updated their content strategy to accentuate credibility, empathy, and value. Moreover, since social media use has increased noticeably due to the pandemic, organizations have also modified their communication strategy on social media. Updating current blog posts with latest information will benefit your SaaS marketing efforts and boost them on different networks to gain traffic. Insightful and up-to-date content also drives social media subscribers and followers.
Study your target’s preference
The more you know your target audience, the better way you can design content. Therefore, it is significant to segregate the targets based on their preferences to get relevant information and messages and successfully build subscribed audience database. You can also study their content preferences by collecting customer data to plan an effective marketing strategy for B2B SaaS.
Track your SaaS Content marketing performance
After content preparation, tracking the performance of your creation is vital. This performance analysis will help to change your content strategy for better lead generation. You can use Google Analytics to determine the lead generation and conversion path post you have set your goals. You can also use Google Analytics to measure the performance of your content by analyzing the sequence of users' actions on your website.
Implement and Maintain Expert SEO Strategy
A robust SEO strategy is a must for a successful B2B SaaS marketing strategy. That is because more than half of all website traffic comes from organic searches on Google. To ensure your SaaS platform is trust-worthy and index-worthy, you need to consider three types of SEO marketing strategy:
Technical SEO: Technical SEO refers to optimizing the on-site HTML components to allow Google crawlers to locate and index your website pages easily. It also makes your SEO performance effective by good loading speed.
On-Page SEO: Creating keyword-rich, compelling, and valuable content comes under the on-page SEO strategy. It helps Google crawlers understand the subject of your page so that they can be precisely indexed for relevant search queries.
Off-Page SEO: Improving your site's backlink profile is related to the off-page SEO strategy for B2B SaaS marketing so that Google identifies it as a highly authoritative and trustworthy source.
Implementing an SEO strategy is only the primary step. However, the only means to maintain search engine rankings is to constantly optimize your website according to the latest ranking criteria.
Optimize PPC Campaign
Advertising is one of the best and beneficial digital marketing tactics for SaaS marketers. Investing in Google and social media ads is a good idea if you have a decent marketing budget but not enough organic reach. You can target prospects through advertising, and with the right deal, you can get an assured ROI.
To optimize your PPC campaign, you need to run an A/B test for best placement, copy keywords, and target the right audience. Further, your ads should be keyword-enriched for better visibility on search engine result pages. Then, you can use PPC tools to expand visibility. In addition, you need to track your ad performance and reform your strategies if required. Above all, your ads should convey the value proposition and include compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) to drive the visitor's action.
Attractive Website is the key
Your website is one of the most vital marketing assets, and developing a dynamic website is the primary stepping stone for planning a robust marketing strategy. It is the face of your brand and the center of all your activities. Without a good website, your SaaS organization will face issues with conversion rates. As websites play a critical role in promoting the value of your product, it is amongst essential SaaS marketing techniques. Further, when you combine marketing goals with sales strategy, you clarify what will make it best for your SaaS business. If your website is attracting a lot of qualified traffic, it can proportionately increase the conversion list.
Create an ABM (Account-Based Marketing) Strategy
Account-Based-Marketing (ABM) helps organizations to grow in the market. An ABM strategy allows you to identify targets, create an email database, send targeted emails, ads, direct mail, and share success stories. Account-based marketing ensures that the marketers connect with pre-qualified leads and interact with them on a personalized level. With account-based marketing, marketers can gather volumes of information on each business and communicate with them based on their earlier activities.
SaaS Lead Generation and Conversion
Lead generation is one of the most significant yet most challenging parts of any SaaS business. Whatever strategies you implicate should head towards generating workable leads for your business. If your plan is not good enough to generate leads, you will not get new customers, and subsequently, your SaaS business will not grow. The lead generation technique for B2B SaaS is different from other marketing techniques because the product here does not have a physical existence. Hence, prospects have a choice of multiple alternatives on the internet. Inevitably, planning a robust lead generation tactic is crucial for B2B SaaS marketing.
Along with other marketing strategies, encouraging referrals and optimizing freemium strategy bring highly impactful results. When people decide to make a purchase, 88% of consumers trust the recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues. Viva-voce publicity can earn you many referrals and increase your sign-ups. In addition, freemium products always gain attraction. According to the global IT workforce management and optimization company, Blue Tree, 44% of SaaS companies offer a free demo. You can provide a core understanding of your product, yet you don't want to share so much away that most of your audience loses interest and drift away. Also, you must ease it out for freemium users to submit suggestions or report bugs, and you can utilize that information to optimize your overall marketing strategy.
Improve Your SaaS Pricing Structure
The pricing structure is one of the significant elements in SaaS marketing. It would help if you experiment with the prices based on the best for your business and audiences. With the evolution of your business, you need to consider the types of entrepreneurs who use your service and the features that they emphasize.
A well-structured pricing page is beneficial for SaaS marketers that clearly shows the required information for the target audiences to complete the conversion process. For example, if you offer a discount/deal/money-back guarantee, make sure it is in bold terms on the top of the page. Further, you can also include time-limited clauses to create urgency and intensify conversions.
Get Reviewed on Top Third-Party Review Sites
According to G2 and Heinz Marketing, 92% of B2B buyers mostly purchase after reading a trusted review. B2B SaaS marketing teams must pay special attention to this because customers rely on crucial reviews for efficient decision-making before investing. Businesses refer to sites like G2 when they are researching products. These sites provide reviews from similar entrepreneurs and attract high-intent buyers who will eventually make a purchase decision. These sites let them learn about their experiences so they can find the best fit for their brand. Make sure to list your business page on any relevant review site and optimize your information and meta description with keywords related to your brand.
Collaboration is Critical
Merging your marketing resources with a peer entrepreneur can increase business growth for both of your brands. Collaboration in the B2B SaaS marketplace can be a cost-effective way of enhancing your business and reaping long-term benefits. Here are some ways of collaboration:
Co-marketing: When two or more brands jointly promote a content piece, special offer, or an event, it is known as co-marketing. This form of collaboration helps you to expand your reach to new communities through new channels. Further, it allows you to gain more social media followers or newsletter subscriptions.
Partner or reseller: Partnering with businesses with similar customer bases can be risky if your organization has a limited number of internal sales resources. The successful SaaS partner programs must include free joining, co-marketing support, and a partner portal to manage relationships. If your partners are satisfied, they might just become your most active community members.
Event Partnership: Due to the impact of the pandemic on social gatherings, the events space has experienced more disruption since last year. Although event partnerships existed before Covid-19, the protocols and formats have changed, in 2021. It is vital for businesses to either organize or participate in an event to reach audiences. An event partner can promote your brand through their marketing channels.
The SaaS marketplace is a competitive arena, and with robust B2B SaaS marketing techniques, you can elevate your business. Deloitte says, 93% of CIOs have adopted or planning to adopt cloud SaaS. Further, due to the pandemic, SaaS marketers are about to witness advanced ways of connecting with target audiences. With the 10 SaaS marketing tactics discussed in this article, you can amplify the number of visitors to your website and enhance the possibility to produce a higher ROI and expand the client base. Tracking the performances of these strategies is also significant to optimize them for even better results in SaaS marketing and customer retention.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is SaaS so effective?
SaaS is a cost-efficient, easy to maintain, flexible, agile and scalable cloud platform. SaaS applications consume less bandwidth enabling optimum time-management capability. Further, the SaaS vendors handle the maintenance responsibilities, which reduces work hours and downtime. Additionally, web-based usability allows access to SaaS easily from any location with internet connectivity.
How do companies use SaaS?
SaaS, or software as a service, is a cloud-based centrally hosted software delivery model. SaaS applications are licensed to customers via a subscription plan. A SaaS company allows the application to be accessed over the internet by maintaining servers, databases, and software. The users can access the software from anywhere in any device.
"name": "Why is SaaS so effective?",
"text": "SaaS is a cost-efficient, easy to maintain, flexible, agile, and scalable cloud platform. SaaS applications consume less bandwidth enabling optimum time-management capability. Further, the SaaS vendors handle the maintenance responsibilities, which reduces work hours and downtime. Additionally, web-based usability allows access to SaaS easily from any location with internet connectivity."
"name": "How do companies use SaaS?",
"text": "SaaS, or software as a service, is a cloud-based centrally hosted software delivery model. SaaS applications are licensed to customers via a subscription plan. A SaaS company allows the application to be accessed over the internet by maintaining servers, databases, and software. The users can access the software from anywhere in any device."
Article | July 23, 2021
With the growth of cloud technology, several enterprises are now aware of the benefits of adopting hybrid and multi-cloud models. However, when shifted between different cloud environments, they face a set of challenges to ensure the applications' reliable performance. Thus, the introduction of the concept of containers in cloud computing comes into action. Containerization is simply the clustering of an application and all its components into a single, portable suite. With containerization rapidly gaining popularity in cloud computing, leading providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google, offer container services and orchestration tools to accomplish container creation and deployment. Based on Forrester's 2020 Container Adoption Survey, about 65% of entrepreneurs are already using or are planning to implement container orchestration platforms as part of their IT transformation approach. Kubernetes is one of the most known and future-ready, portable container orchestration platforms developed by Google. It is a scalable, reliable, robust, and secured platform, which can manage and accommodate high traffic for cloud applications and microservices. For optimal performance, implementing Kubernetes best practices and following a tailored configuration model is significant to ensure the optimal platform efficiency your enterprise requires.
This article will highlight the top eight best practices of Kubernetes that will help you orchestrate, scale, control, and automate your enterprise applications. But before we start, let us know the basic concept of Kubernetes.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes (a.k.a. k8s or "Kube") is Google's open-source container management platform spanning public, private, and hybrid clouds that automates numerous manual processes involved in scaling, deploying, and managing the containerized applications. Kubernetes is an ideal platform for hosting cloud-native applications that require quick scaling, like real-time data streaming through Apache Kafka. In simple words, you can cluster together groups of hosts running Linux containers, and Kubernetes supports you in managing those clusters quickly and efficiently. Gartner forecasts that worldwide container management revenue will grow sturdily from a small base of $465.8 million in 2020 to register $944 million by 2024. It seems that the popularity of Kubernetes across the enterprises will make the forecast achievable.
Using Kubernetes, outsourcing the data centers to public cloud service providers, or providing web hosting to optimize software development processes can become manageable. Moreover, website and mobile applications with intricate custom codes can deploy Kubernetes on their product hardware for a cost-effective solution. Moreover, it helps you completely implement and trust a container-based infrastructure in production environments, where you need to manage the containers that run the applications and ensure zero downtime. For example, if a container goes down and another container needs to start, Kubernetes handles the situation with its distributed system framework efficiently.
Reasons Behind the Popularity of Kubernetes Strategy
Kubernetes is in the headlines, and we hear about it on social media or at user groups and conferences. So, what is the reason behind its popularity? According to the Kubernetes service providers, it has become the standard for container management platform as it offers several advantages:
Scalability: It offers easy scalability of the containers across many servers in a cluster through the auto-scaler service, thereby maximizing resource utilization with a simple command, with a UI, or automatically based on CPU utilization.
Flexibility: The flexibility of Kubernetes expands for applications to operate consistently and efficiently irrespective of the complexity of the requirement.
Storage Orchestration: The open-source attribute of Kubernetes gives you the liberty to take advantage of storage orchestration from different cloud environments and shift the workloads effortlessly to their destinations.
Automation: Using Kubernetes, you can automatically place containers as their resource requirements without any availability concerns. It helps to combine critical and best-effort workloads, to drive the utilization and save resources.
Health-Check and Self Heal: Kubernetes allows you to perform the health-check and self-heal your containers with auto-replacement, auto-restart, auto-replication, and auto-scaling properties.
Reliability and Security: Kubernetes offers tolerance and clustering of significant errors, bringing stability and reliability to the project. Built-in data encryption, vulnerability scanning, etc., are some of the services of Kubernetes that enhance its security aspect.
Self-discovery: Kubernetes allows self-discovery by providing their IP address to the containers and providing a single DNS name to a group of containers.
Roll Out and Roll Back Automation: Kubernetes gradually rolls out changes to your application or its configuration while monitoring the application's health to ensure it does not kill all your instances at the same time. Kubernetes rolls back the changes in case of any discrepancy.
8 Kubernetes Best Practices for Efficient Deployment
According to Red Hat's "The State of Enterprise Open-Source Report," 85% of the interviewees agree that Kubernetes is the key to cloud-native application strategies. Kubernetes has evolved from the code that Google used to manage its data centers at scale. Nowadays, organizations use Kubernetes for complete data center outsourcing, web/mobile applications, SaaS support, cloud web hosting, or high-performance computing. For any platform to operate and perform at its optimum capacity, there are certain best practices that you should consider. In this article, we will discuss a few of the best practices of Kubernetes that can improve the efficiency of your production environment.
Use The Latest Version and Enable RBAC
Kubernetes releases new features, bug fixes, and platform upgrades with its consistent version update. As a rule, you must always use the latest version to make sure that you have optimized your Kubernetes. By upgrading to the newest release, you will get technical support and a host of advanced security features to control the potential threats while fixing reported vulnerabilities.
Enabling RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) will help you control access and admittance to users and applications on the system or network. The introduction of RBAC in the Kubernetes 1.8 version helped to create authorization policies using rbac.authorization.k8s.io API group. It allows Kubernetes to permit access to the user, add/remove approvals, set up regulations, etc.
Organize With Kubernetes Namespaces
A namespace is a kind of virtual cluster that helps your Kubernetes environment organize, secure, and perform. Thus, it can be considered one of the Kubernetes best practices that enables you to create logical partitions and apply separation of your resources and restrict the scope of user permissions. Thus, you can use it in a multi-user environment spanning multiple teams or projects.
Namespaces cannot be nested inside one another, and each Kubernetes resource must be in its own unique namespace. However, it is not essential to use multiple namespaces to distinguish slightly unlike resources, such as different releases of the same software: use labels to separate resources within the identical namespace.
Consider Small Container Images
Using base images may include the unnecessary inclusion of additional packages and libraries. Hence it is significant to use smaller container images as it helps you to create a high-performing platform quickly. As one of the Kubernetes best practices, you can consider Alpine Linux Images, which are much smaller than the base images. Alpine Images have access to a package repository that has necessary add-ons. You can add essential packages and libraries for your application as required. Smaller container images are also less vulnerable to security threats as they have lesser attack surfaces.
Setting Up Health Checks
Managing extensive distributed systems can be complex, especially when things are not running perfectly. The primary reason for the complication in the distributed system is that multiple operations work together for the system to function. So, in case of any discrepancy, the system has to identify and fix it automatically. Kubernetes health checks are simple ways to ensure that application instances are working.
Health checks are the effective Kubernetes best practices to analyze whether your system is operational or not. If an instance is non-operational or failed, then other services should not access or communicate with it. As an alternative, the system can divert the requests to some other ready and operational instances. Moreover, the system should bring your app back to a healthy state. Kubernetes provides you two types of health checks, and it is significant to recognize their differences and utilities.
Readiness probes allow Kubernetes to identify whether the application is ready to serve the traffic before permitting the traffic to a pod (most miniature Kubernetes objects). It fundamentally shows the availability of the pod to accept the workload traffic and respond to requests. In case the readiness probe fails, Kubernetes halts the traffic towards the pod until it is successful.
The liveliness probe allows Kubernetes to perform a health check to verify whether the application operates as desired. In case it fails, Kubernetes removes the pod and initiates its replacement.
Setting Kubernetes Resource Usage (Requests and Limits)
Kubernetes uses the process requests and limits to control resource usages such as CPU and memory. If a container requests a resource, Kubernetes will only map the schedule on a node to provide the requested resource. Whereas limits help to make sure a container never goes beyond a specific request value. The container will be automatically restricted if it goes beyond the limit.
To get a total resource value of Kubernetes pods (usually available in a group) comprising one or multiple containers, you need to add the limits and requests for each container. While your Kubernetes cluster might be operational without setting the resource 'requests and limits', you will start getting stability issues as the workloads start scaling. Adding 'requests and limits' will help you to get the optimal benefit of Kubernetes.
Discovering External Services on Kubernetes
If you want to discover and access the services living outside your Kubernetes cluster, you can do it by using the external service endpoint or Config Maps directly in your code. Even if you are unwilling to identify those today, there can be a compulsion to do so tomorrow. Mapping your external services to the internal ones will enhance the flexibility to transmit these services into the cluster in the future while reducing recoding efforts. Additionally, it will help you to easily manage and understand the external services your organization is using.
Database Running- Whether to consider or not?
Running a database on Kubernetes can get you some benefits regarding the automation Kubernetes provides to keep the database application active. However, it would help if you analyze them before you start. There can be failure incidents because the pods (database app containers) are susceptible to letdowns compared to a traditionally hosted or fully managed database. Databases with concepts like sharing, failover elections, and replication built into its DNA will be easier to run on Kubernetes.
Thus, simple questions like the following will help to draw a Kubernetes strategy to consider whether to run a database or not.
Are the features of the database Kubernetes-friendly?
Are the workloads of the database compatible with the Kubernetes environment?
What is the limit of the Ops workload acceptable in the Kubernetes environment?
If the answers to all the questions are affirmative, your external database is ready to run on the Kubernetes environment. Otherwise, you should consider other platforms such as managed DB or VM.
Addressing failures is inevitable in distributed systems. Kubernetes helps in handling failures by using controllers that can keep an eye on the state of your system and restart the halted services. However, Kubernetes can also often compulsorily terminate your application as part of the regular operation of the system. It can terminate Kubernetes objects for various reasons because enabling your application to handle these terminations efficiently is essential to create a steady plan and provide a great user experience.
The CNCF survey report 2020 highlights the progressive inclination towards adapting the Kubernetes platform. The survey received 1324 responses inferred in 2020, where 91% of respondents report using Kubernetes, 83% of them are in production, showing a steady upsurge of 78% from last year and 58% in 2018. Adhering to the Kubernetes best practices will provide you an opportunity to take your production environment to the next level and meet the business requirements. In addition, it will have a positive impact on the Kubernetes market size.
Several top marketers and service providers are doing their best to ensure their customers get the desired benefits for Kubernetes deployment in production. Moreover, they also pitch for services on Kubernetes and allow businesses to gain the most out of it. In the latest interview with Media 7, Red Hat's Director of Product Marketing, Irshaad Raihan says, "We look to inspire great ideas and help our customers reach for the impossible. Once we have buy-in into the "why," we arm customers with the most relevant data points to help them make a purchase decision around product and vendor."
What exactly is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an open-source, portable, and scalable platform for container orchestration, automating several manual tasks for managing the containerized workloads. Kubernetes allows clustering running Linux containers and supports managing those clusters quickly and efficiently.
Why is Kubernetes so popular?
Kubernetes has become one of the efficient container management systems as it offers several advantages, such as easy scaling of the containers across many servers in a cluster. It helps in the easy movement of workloads between different types of environments. It also offers high error tolerance, which contributes to the stability and reliability of the workload and has built-in security tools that provide enhanced safety to the platform.
What is an example of Kubernetes?
One of the most popular Kubernetes use cases is the popular game Pokemon Go. Niantic Inc. was the developer and witnessed more than 500 million downloads with 20 million active users every day. Pokemon Go's parent company was not expecting this kind of traffic. As an advanced solution, they opted for Google Container Engine powered by Kubernetes.
Where is Kubernetes used?
You can use Kubernetes to manage microserver architecture. Kubernetes simplifies various facets of running a service-oriented application infrastructure. For instance, it can control the allocation of resources and drive traffic for cloud applications and microservices.
"name": "What exactly is Kubernetes?",
"text": "Kubernetes is an open-source, portable, and scalable platform for container orchestration, automating several manual tasks for managing the containerized workloads. Kubernetes allows clustering running Linux containers and supports managing those clusters quickly and efficiently."
"name": "Why is Kubernetes so popular?",
"text": "Kubernetes has become one of the efficient container management systems as it offers several advantages, such as easy scaling of the containers across many servers in a cluster. It helps in the easy movement of workloads between different types of environments. It also offers high error tolerance, which contributes to the stability and reliability of the workload and has built-in security tools that provide enhanced safety to the platform."
"name": "What is an example of Kubernetes?",
"text": "One of the most popular Kubernetes use cases is the popular game Pokemon Go. Niantic Inc. was the developer and witnessed more than 500 million downloads with 20 million active users every day. Pokemon Go's parent company was not expecting this kind of traffic. As an advanced solution, they opted for Google Container Engine powered by Kubernetes."
"name": "Where is Kubernetes used?",
"text": "You can use Kubernetes to manage microserver architecture. Kubernetes simplifies various facets of running a service-oriented application infrastructure. For instance, it can control the allocation of resources and drive traffic for cloud applications and microservices."
Article | July 23, 2021
When a SaaS startup moves to the scale-up phase, a shift often happens.Suddenly, security shoots up on the ever-growing list of business priorities and with good reason.As a business scales, it needs to manage more customers and more data than ever before. And if the business is aiming to attract larger clients, these clients will no doubt have greater security concerns and stricter standards to be accommodated.Of course, there’s also the reality that once your SaaS business reaches the scale-up phase, it’s likely your team has put a lot of time and effort into establishing the business’s place in the market.
Article | July 23, 2021
Modern organizations need fast-paced solutions to scale their services and integrate their applications for a digital foothold, resulting in a demand to shift their ecosystem from on-premise to a cloud environment. Therefore, selecting the exemplary cloud architecture based on the organizational ecosystem is the need of the hour; otherwise, it may directly impact their business growth. Hence, companies are interested in opting for a hybrid cloud solution that will allow gradual migration of their workloads without affecting the daily operations, providing enhanced security by allowing segregation of the critical and general workloads to private and public clouds, respectively.
Many businesses across the globe are raising concerns on whether to adopt a public, private or hybrid cloud platform. According to Gartner, over 75% of midsize and large organizations will adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy by 2021. Today, organizations realize that a hybrid platform is a good-to-go solution after managing IT resources and workloads in public and private cloud environments.
The hybrid cloud definition says that it is a combination of storage, computing, and services environments of an on-premise, private and public cloud. It creates a single platform to operate both in on-premises, private resources, and public cloud resources, such as those offered by Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It allows seamless sharing of data and applications when computing and processing requests vary within the organization. A hybrid ecosystem establishes interconnectivity initially through data virtualization, following via connection tools and protocols such as application programming interfaces (APIs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or wide area networks (WANs). The goal is to create a collaborative, automated, secured, and organized environment, where integrating these applications among one another and with on-premises systems is easy and fast.
How is Hybrid Platform Different from Others?
Deployment of a hybrid infrastructure describes the organization's ecosystem where on-premise, public, and private cloud environment conglomerate to provide a secure and unified platform. Hybrid cloud platforms allow you to leverage the utilities of the private and public cloud ecosystem.
The private cloud is an infrastructure that can isolate all your vital business data of an organization behind firewalls on a single server, which are non-sharable and thus is a perfect fit for businesses dealing with confidential and sensitive information.Whereas public cloud platforms are shared spaces that offer massive amounts of storage capacity and other resources, they are highly scalable. In addition, due to the shared architecture, public clouds are affordable and allow organizations to control the security and backups provided by the server's data center.
Hybrid platforms are secured, scalable, and cost-effective, allowing you to have a flexible option to separate the workloads and benefit private and public cloud platforms.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud
According to the Mordor Intelligence research report, Hybrid Cloud Market was valued at USD 52.16 billion in 2020 and projects to record USD 145 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 18.73% for the forecast period 2021 to 2026. The vital factors such as flexibility, reliability, scalability, cost-effectiveness, security, and rapidity drive its progress.
Flexibility and Reliability
One of the prime benefits of a hybrid environment is its flexibility. A typical hybrid cloud solutions flexibility refers to the service that enables you to utilize the ecosystem as per their needs. Hybrid cloud architecture can use traditional on-premise systems and the latest cloud technology, with/without registering to a third-party host. Organizations with hybrid infrastructure can migrate workloads and access information to and from their traditional systems and to the public/private cloud whenever necessary, without any service interruption.
As we know, a hybrid cloud infrastructure allows us to utilize both a public cloud and a private cloud. It permits more resources via the public cloud services that enable the organizations to expand their storage capacity and computing resources. Thus, workload migration to a hybrid ecosystem makes it easier to facilitate, implement and scale the resources whenever demand exceeds the ability of the on-premise infrastructure.
Typically comprised of private cloud and public cloud architectures, hybrid cloud management allows you to own and operate the data center infrastructure with a significant capital expense. On the other hand, it also enables the public cloud infrastructure to offer resources and services accountable as variable and operational expenses. Thus, hybrid cloud users can select any infrastructures that make it affordable to run the workloads. Moreover, it can accommodate the business demand upsurge and increase its capacity without additional cost. As cost-saving is one of the prime aims of organizations, a hybrid infrastructure leverages a cost-effective approach with no compromise on your ecosystem's scalability, flexibility, security, and agility. According to a study by IT management solution provider Flexera, 76 % of organizations use cost efficiency and savings to measure cloud progress.
Securing business-critical information is always a challenge in any network-enabled ecosystem. Typically for a public cloud, susceptibility to data breaches and data leakages are common. While cloud service providers make exhaustive efforts to ensure data protection for their clients, yet public cloud infrastructure remains at high risk because of its open environment framework. Whereas, for the private cloud ecosystem, companies hold direct control over the stored data. They can manage and establish strict protocols for accesses because the data stored in the private ecosystem are generally highly critical and confidential. However, with a hybrid service, companies can leverage the security of a private cloud with the flexibility and benefits of a public cloud. You can migrate the business-critical data from the private ecosystem to a public cloud for different operations, analytics, and applications. You can also implement extensive encoding methods to ensure data security as much as possible. Hence, Hybrid cloud security is simply protecting the data, applications, and infrastructure that incorporates a certain degree of workload sharing, consistency, and management across multiple cloud environments.
Speed/Rapidity is one of the noteworthy attributes of network-enabled applications. Although a hybrid platform is not fundamentally quicker than a public cloud platform, it allows network optimization to curtail latency and simplify data migration. In addition, hybrid cloud storage transfers non-critical workloads to the public cloud and critical workload on the private cloud and optimizes the network to streamline the traffic. As a result, you can work faster and increase their productivity.
Few Setbacks to Keep in Mind
Despite several benefits, you should consider some of the hybrid cloud challenges before workload migration. Flexera's 2020 State of the Cloud Report says that the complexity and dynamic nature, the hybrid/multi-cloud environment brings many challenges, such as assessing the suitability of on-premises apps for migrating to the cloud. However, analyzing and noting the limitations can make it easy for organizations to utilize their hybrid ecosystem optimally.
Latency and Compatibility
As we know that a hybrid cloud strategy is derived by combining private and public cloud platforms, there can be compatibility issues between them because of their distinct properties. Moreover, analyzing the compatibility of the on-premise applications before migrating to the cloud requires a lot of effort and bandwidth. For example, the private cloud component of a hybrid application cannot respond as fast as the front-end public cloud component and can cause operational latency and other complexities.
Temporary Risk Due to Data Transfers
Data transfers across a hybrid cloud platform can involve third-party (public cloud host) for many organizations, resulting in unnecessary and unacceptable security risks. In addition, data leakages are also a common concern while shifting the on-premise applications to the cloud infrastructure. Therefore, organizations must consider encryption of all traffic to protect the network and avoid temporary security risks for the data in transit.
Using Identity and Access Management (IAM) protocols steadily across private and public clouds requires a highly synchronized effort to meet security and compliance requirements. It is also an essential protocol to ensure no gaps are present in the hybrid cloud design. However, organizations dealing with confidential data, such as the healthcare or finance industries, may face few compliance setbacks. In addition, knowing the actual position of the data and who has access can be a real challenge in a hybrid environment. Hence, organizations need to adopt single sign-on applications and allocate authorizations only when critical and necessary.
Initial Implementation Cost
The on-premise or private cloud component requires substantial investment, maintenance, and operational skills for traditional hybrid cloud architecture. Thus, implementing additional software, though necessary, can further add to the initial cost for a private cloud. At the same time, proper data planning, security tools, employee training, and cloud certifications can boost the initial investment for the public cloud.
Is Hybrid Cloud Environment A Right Choice for Your Business?
Advanced companies align their business transformation strategy with the orchestration of their cloud platforms to achieve a 'GenX' business model. This model establishes an automated and agile organization, empowered by data, directed by AI insights. IBM's Voice of the Enterprise Digital Pulse report by 451 Research says that 3 out of 5 of approximately 1,000 organizations surveyed have implemented a hybrid ecosystem with integrated on-and off-premises cloud services.
Here are some hybrid cloud use cases to help you analyze whether a hybrid infrastructure fits your organizational ecosystem.
Hybrid cloud is particularly effective for dynamic workloads. For example, a trading company entry system that experiences significant demand surges is ideal for implementing hybrid cloud infrastructure. Using an easily scalable public cloud for your dynamic workloads while leaving more sensitive workloads to a private cloud or on-premises data center helps to increase your operational efficiency without hampering the security of your critical data.
Segregation of Critical and Non-Critical Workloads
When your company leverages several SaaS applications, it requires identifying and segregating their workloads to perform while keeping the data security aspect high priority optimally. In comparison, hybrid cloud storage diversification allows moving business-critical workloads to the private cloud with access control mechanisms for security. You can shift the non-critical applications to a public environment and utilize them for business analytics. Under a hybrid ecosystem, both these platforms share information under the same data management yet remain distinct.
Periodical Migration to Cloud Environment
Suppose you are planning to upgrade your operational infrastructure but not sure about its operability. In that case, you can migrate a portion of your critical workload to the private cloud and general applications to the public environment of the hybrid cloud platform and analyze the performance. You can continue expanding your cloud presence as needed by periodical migration of the workload, utilizing the hybrid structure. It enables you to assess the platform in terms of your current requirements and potential future growth.
Big Data Management
Hence, opting for a more brilliant choice by implementing a hybrid cloud strategy will allow you to run a portion of the big data analytics using a highly scalable public cloud platform. Furthermore, you can ensure data security and retain your confidential big data behind the firewall while using the private cloud.
A hybrid cloud allows you to assign public cloud resources for short-term projects at a much lower cost than the on-premise data center. Thus, you can maintain efficient investment by controlling over-expenditures on the equipment that you may require temporarily.
Additionally, utilizing a hybrid environment to supplement your on-premise infrastructure is a better choice for projects that require multi-user collaboration or significant data storage and may hinder your current network performance or surpass your network capacity.
Multiple Business Requirements
Assume your organization needs to fulfill several business requirements. You can cater to some of your critical business needs by only a private cloud and other essentials through a public cloud. Under such circumstances, the hybrid solution is perfect for you. Hybrid cloud services help in many ways to provide benefits of both solutions for a business.
A well-integrated and balanced hybrid approach gives your business the best of both worlds. It allows you to leverage public cloud and private cloud services without completely offloading your data to a third-party data center. Hybrid Cloud Computing can be an ideal solution for your high-focussed businesses.
With the extensive features and benefits of the hybrid ecosystem, your organization will be able to take a step ahead to the world of modern technology and get to see the advantage of combining the security and control of private infrastructure with the scalability and versatility of public cloud computing.
How do hybrid clouds work?
The hybrid cloud creates a single platform for the on-premise, private, and public cloud data, allowing gradual migration of the workloads without disturbing the daily transactions by establishing interconnectivity between different platforms. In addition, the hybrid cloud provides the security of the private ecosystem and the flexibility of the public infrastructure.
Are hybrid clouds secure?
Hybrid clouds allow the migration of sensitive workload to its private infrastructure that you can protect behind the company's firewall. Thus, you can secure all the confidential data within the hybrid cloud infrastructure. In addition, you can shift the remaining non-critical workloads to the public portion of the hybrid cloud ecosystem, which you can utilize for several computational purposes.
Why hybrid cloud?
Hybrid cloud provides the security of the private environment and the scalability and flexibility of the private environment, which makes it one of the most preferred infrastructures for several organizations.
What is hybrid cloud storage?
Hybrid cloud storage is a method to manage cloud storage that uses both local and off-site data. With hybrid cloud storage, businesses can shift their workloads between on-premises or private clouds. In addition, hybrid clouds help organizations to get the most out of containers, which simplifies shifting workloads among clouds.
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"name": "Are hybrid clouds secure?",
"text": "Hybrid clouds allow the migration of sensitive workload to its private infrastructure that can be protected behind the company’s firewall. Thus, all the confidential data can be kept secured within the hybrid cloud infrastructure. The remaining noncritical workloads can be shifted to the public portion of the hybrid cloud ecosystem, which can be utilized for several computational purposes."
"name": "Why hybrid cloud?",
"text": "Hybrid cloud provides the security of the private environment and the scalability and flexibility of the private environment, which makes it one of the most preferred infrastructures for several organizations."
"name": "What is hybrid cloud storage?",
"text": "Hybrid cloud storage is a method to manage cloud storage that uses both local and off-site data. With hybrid cloud storage, businesses can shift their workloads between on-premises or private clouds. Hybrid clouds help organizations to get the most out of containers, which simplify shifting workloads among clouds."