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What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?

Today, organisations are shifting away from a purely traditional public cloud computing model to a Hybrid Cloud model. Hybrid cloud has become the preferred cloud strategy for the enterprises in the coming decade, and more than 60% of the businesses plan to adapt to the hybrid cloud.

What are the primary cloud concerns for CTOs, CIOs and the CFOs? – Cost Management; Security; Expertise and Resources. How does Hybrid Cloud adoption address these concerns?

So, What is a Hybrid Cloud?

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Hybrid cloud is “Two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).” It refers to a mixed cloud computing, services, and storage environment made up of on-prem infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud services such as – AWS or MS Azure with orchestration between various platforms. The combination of using public clouds, on-prem computing, and private clouds in your data centre refer that you have ‘Hybrid cloud infrastructure.’

In other words, the Hybrid cloud environment allows the organisation to combine private and public cloud by allowing data and applications to be shared between them. Whenever there is a fluctuation in demand for computing and processing, the hybrid cloud computing enables the businesses the ability to scale seamlessly on-premise infrastructure to the public cloud and handle any overload without giving the third-party datacenters the access to their data entirely. Organisations achieve the computing power and flexibility of the public cloud for non-sensitive and basic computing tasks while retaining the business-critical data and applications on-premises safely and securely behind the company firewall.

Therefore, Hybrid Cloud offers the best of both the worlds by spreading the computational data across the public and private cloud computing. Companies can optimise their environments and ensure their day-to-day activities are streamlined. For, e.g., the email can be stored on a public cloud to ensure the demands of the employees accessing their accounts doesn’t slow down the access of essential data on the private side of the cloud granting the organisation the need to be in control.

The advantages and disadvantages of deploying a Hybrid Cloud:
a. Benefits of Hybrid Cloud:
  1. Scalability: In today’s fast-growing companies there is a pressure for accurate forecasting for IT infrastructure. Scalability of the same can be highly inefficient and extremely expensive. Hybrid cloud environment provides the businesses with easy scalability to cloud environments for particular workloads, computing resources and eliminates the capital expenditures for the short-term spikes in the demand and scales both up and down unlimited due to on-demand cloud resources.
  2. Lower Capital Expenditure: Today, the businesses are moving from Capex to Opex model. The companies need not invest in their own data centres or IT infrastructures or resources to manage the same. Hybrid cloud is the solution for the growing enterprises since the company’s workload is contained within a private cloud while retaining the ability to increase their workload on-demand and perform the increase of usage in the public cloud. The organisation pays for the public cloud portion of the infrastructure only when it is required making it a highly efficient and cost-effective model.
  3. Enhanced Security: Hybrid cloud systems provide more control in architecture and design and a higher level of data security than public cloud systems. It also empowers the organisations to protect their valuable data on their terms since they are the ones who decide where to store the critical data and the data is protected from internal and external threats with the lowest possible risk of data exposure.
  4. Flexibility and Reliable: The availability of both scalable and secure resources and cost-effective public resources of hybrid cloud give the organisations more opportunities to explore a variety of operational avenues and find the optimal cloud solution based on their requirements. It is reliable since the services are distributed across multiple data centers ensuring there are no outages at the same time.
  5. Speed to Market: In the digital age, organisations need being on-demand with the ability to build prototypes, set-up test environments, and launch new products. All this demands an IT infrastructure that is available in the working in full capacity. Hybrid cloud enables the organisations to deploy resources and automate the process that yields results at the speed of light. Therefore, the organisations are no longer limited by their IT footprints.
b. Disadvantages of Hybrid Cloud:

Despite its advantages, the hybrid cloud does pose business, technical, and management challenges.

  1. In the hybrid cloud computing, there might be potential SLAs (Service Level Agreements) breaches, connectivity issues and other service disruptions. To mitigate these risks companies could architect hybrid cloud workloads that can become interoperable with multiple public cloud providers which might complicate workload design and testing. In some cases, the enterprise would require to redesign workloads slated for hybrid cloud to address specific API of the public cloud providers.
  2. In hybrid cloud computing, it requires expertise from cloud architects and local IT staff to construct and maintain the private cloud. The implementation of additional software such as databases, helpdesk system and other applications can further complicate a private cloud. The company responsible for the technical support of a private cloud should be able to accommodate any changes to the public cloud service and APIs over time.
  3. Last but not least, If the combination of a private and public cloud not picked correctly, the hybrid cloud compatibility could potentially become a bottleneck for Hybrid Cloud environments. A fast performing on-premise infrastructure might not be able to successfully perform in coherence with a slow performing public cloud infrastructure resulting in poor performance of the Hybrid Cloud.

Therefore Hybrid Cloud Computing has become the norm for the enterprises, and the businesses want to be able to pick and choose where and how they can combine the cloud services with their established on-premise infrastructures. With the digital transformation becoming the critical strategy for every enterprise, they are adapting to the on-demand hybrid cloud which provides them with the flexibility of increased speed to market.

Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM have grabbed the leadership positions in the Hybrid Cloud Computing space and are impacting the most exceptional growth market in the history of cloud business technology this year and has become the primary engine of digital transformation across industries where businesses are embracing the three layers of cloud computing – SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS for their mission-critical business operations.

Although Amazon is portrayed as the runaway leader for the cloud, Microsoft’s Azure cloud business is massive and growing faster than Amazon. Microsoft’s Azure cloud stack extends widely into the SaaS and PaaS offerings. Microsoft’s positioning of the intelligent cloud to the intelligent edge is phenomenal as its vast partner ecosystem functions as a powerful influencer penetrating the market with force multiplier.

To summarise, like every IT project, building an enterprise hybrid cloud infrastructure brings along many advantages and challenges too. However, when properly planned, organisations can maximise the benefits of the technology and minimise and mitigate any challenges and risks that it may pose. Hence the critical strategic element of any business is their cloud strategy which must be considered in line with the organisational goals and objectives.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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