Why Hybrid Cloud?
The adoption of cloud computing has considerably grown over the last few years. Cloud storage promised increased availability, flexibility, scaleability, security and innovation, not to mention the often-touted cost savings that can be achieved. However, for many businesses looking to move to the cloud these benefits lack tangibility. For others that have moved, they never materialised.
Why is this?
Public cloud offerings from the likes Microsoft, Amazon and Google offer remarkable promises of scaleability, flexibility and economies of scale. However, not all workloads are suitable for hosting in such an environment. Failing to realise this is the often the first mistake businesses make when considering moving to the cloud. Many assume that they can simply lift and shift their on premise/private cloud based applications to the cloud.
Apart from the obvious data sensitivity and sovereignty issues etc., an application needs to be architected specifically to take advantage of public cloud functionality. Otherwise, there is really no business benefit of it running in such an environment and it may very well end up being more expensive to do so.
On the other hand, private clouds offer optimum levels of security and availability, but may well be overkill for some workloads. This is especially true for those that experience significant peaks and troughs in demand. The initial costs for private cloud do tend to be higher. Alternately, the TCO can be significantly lower in the long run than that of the public cloud hosted environment. Especially if the supporting infrastructure has been sized correctly and the workloads hosted remains relatively static.
However, such private cloud instances rarely provide the degree of flexibility need to support business innovation.
So what is Hybrid Cloud?
Because of these issues, the hybrid cloud is rapidly becoming a leading cloud solution of choice by enlightened businesses. Hybrid clouds integrate private computing resources, like data centres and private clouds, and public cloud services. While separate entities, the private and public resources share applications, data, services, and are typically but not always managed as single unified environment.
For example, take a legal firm which needs to store confidential client data on a private cloud. They need to keep this data behind the corporate firewall for legal and compliance reasons. However, they want to take advantage of the scaleability offered by public cloud to host an Internet-facing client application which relies on that data.
A hybrid cloud environment would allow the business to do two things:
- harness the cost benefits and efficiency of public clouds
- maintain the security and control of a private one.
The above example illustrates a particular use case of a hybrid cloud based environment. However, the real advantage of hybrid cloud lies in the ability to gain a comfortable and flexible middle ground to ensure all your workloads are treated appropriately and cost-effectively. Perhaps even more critical, it gives them greater flexibility to rapidly adapt to evolving business needs or changes in the market they operate in.
In my next blog post we will take a look at how such environments are created and in subsequent posts strategies for migrating applications to the hybrid cloud.