The hybrid cloud is all about integrating different methods in order to ultimately run workloads in the best way possible.
By allowing companies to use computing resources whenever they are needed and pay based on what’s needed, public cloud computing services have revolutionized the application delivery model. But as more businesses have embraced cloud computing, it’s become apparent that there are instances where cloud doesn’t meet all their various requirements, or the move to the cloud doesn’t make technical or financial sense. Furthermore, businesses have come to realize the unique advantages of using public clouds, but have also found value in using dedicated servers and creating private clouds.
Hybrid hosting does just that, providing a combination of platforms that could include public cloud, private cloud and dedicated infrastructure, which is configured to provide your business the best platform for its applications. Some tasks are best handled using dedicated hardware that’s run in-house or leased through a web host. The hybrid cloud allows different platforms to communicate and work together to optimize application delivery.
The Hybrid Cloud: Bringing the Cloud to Everyone
To understand why the concept of the hybrid cloud is so revolutionary is that it allows more organizations to use the cloud in more productive ways.
As public cloud computing took off, small and medium-sized businesses and startups were the main consumers, and the main benefactors of its increased efficiency and performance. This was largely due to smaller businesses having made less overall investment in their own infrastructure, as well as their applications tending to be less complicated and more adaptable to the cloud.
These smaller companies are also more likely to have their applications and infrastructure handled off-site and by an external IT staff, making the transition to the cloud easier for them to deal with because they may be less worried about giving up internal control. They would be able to easily see quality and availability advantages in moving to a reputable cloud vendor.
On the other hand, many SMB’s and startups have found that as their business grows, it could be more practical to buy dedicated infrastructure for specific applications especially where security and demanding databases are involved. It can also cost less overall when you compare the lifetime cost of dedicated hosting and the hourly cloud computing fees.
Cloud computing had once been heralded as a way for small companies to leverage the computing resources that were once only available to large companies, not only leveling the playing field, but also giving them an advantage.
But hybrid cloud is solving many of the problems that stopped large companies from truly embracing the cloud.
By incorporating deployment models that include their existing infrastructure, hybrid cloud allows enterprises to carefully move certain applications in the cloud instead of a one-time shift. New applications can also be launched in the cloud, allowing them to respond to new business needs without the added worry of enterprise resource planning.
Meanwhile, enterprises can use their internal resources more efficiently by virtualizing them and creating an internal private cloud using data centre infrastructure they already own.
A good example of a hybrid cloud application is eCommerce. For instance, an eCommerce site could have the following setup: the customer-facing webpages and media hosted on the public cloud; client data kept securely within a private cloud; and the payment processing done on dedicated servers using a dedicated firewall for PCI compliance. The public cloud allows the store to scale up its website as the holiday season approaches, so that it’s highly available for customers during major shopping events such as Cyber Monday.
Limiting Vendor Dependency
Like any business partnership, there are risks in trusting a cloud provider. Therefore it’s understandable that many companies don’t want to be overly dependent on external cloud providers. When an enterprise runs its entire infrastructure in the cloud, this creates a dependency on the cloud provider, making the organization more vulnerable to changes in their service provider’s technology and performance, as well as policies and fees. The cloud provider could even close, causing an organization to have to scramble to migrate their applications elsewhere.
Decision makers really need to evaluate the economic stability of the supplier and trust them.
Quicker Implementation and Testing
The cloud has made it much easier for companies to provision applications and scale them quickly. Even if a company has a majority of its infrastructure in-house, many companies are finding advantages to developing and testing new applications. The cloud allows these applications to be rolled out quickly and those that are popular get the resources they need to remain available. Again, these cloud-hosted applications can also tie into the organization’s other applications.
Efficient Use of IT Resources and Spending
A lot is made about the ability of cloud computing to quickly increase in scale, but it also has the ability to scale down when fewer resources are used. This elasticity also relates to the element that makes cloud computing so attractive economically because cloud hosting services tend to charge based on the amount of resources used.
Traditionally, it was important to build data centre capacity for peak application usage. This meant that organizations would have to buy physical infrastructure for the highest usage and this capacity would lie dormant at all other times.
Creating a hybrid cloud with more cloud computing in the mix means that there will be less purchasing of infrastructure for peak usage, and rather greater spending when applications are being used.
Lower energy, infrastructure, and facility costs
Businesses should also factor in the cost of maintaining and supporting their physical infrastructure, which is typically included in the price of public cloud computing services.
Because cloud providers are focused on keeping the infrastructure running, they tend to be better equipped to maintain high service levels in comparison to an organization’s IT staff. Shared hosting facilities are also able to take advantage of economies of scale, letting them get volume discounts on hardware, run the infrastructure of many companies cooperatively from the same building, as well as use less energy overall by dividing resources among many different companies.
By virtualizing resources, private clouds can also help an individual organization use its resources more efficiently because it allows separate applications run on a single server when resources permit. This means that servers that would otherwise have run at a small capacity can remain turned off.
Scalability and Re-allocation
Applications run in cloud environments are able to scale rapidly, and internal applications can “cloud burst” or scale in the cloud when added resources are needed.
Similarly, because of the shared nature of cloud computing, the resource use of other cloud customers can affect service levels if they happen to be located on the same server. In these instances, it can make sense to make an application from the cloud to dedicated infrastructure.
Why Your Business Should Consider Hybrid Cloud
The decision to embrace the hybrid cloud isn’t really a matter of do or don’t; it’s about finding a balance. A business that uses just one application platform (whether it’s public cloud, private cloud or dedicated hosting) could be limited in its options. It’s important to know your applications and their requirements, and how each approach would benefit them, as well as finding a service provider partner that you can trust to make sure each platform supports your application as a whole.
A hybrid cloud allows you to create a solution that meets your specific business needs and takes into account your budgetary and technical constraints.