There are lots of claims in the cloud computing world about hybrid clouds and how effective and powerful they are. But we also know that the cloud computing world is full of buzzwords and terms that are frequently misunderstood.
We examine some of the claims about hybrid cloud and share our verdict at the end. Should your organisation consider a hybrid cloud solution or just want to learn what this entails, read on.
A hybrid cloud is simply a combination of public cloud infrastructure and private, on-premises hardware (e.g. your office server). If you already have in-house IT resources that you are replicating or augmenting w/an external vendor, then you have a hybrid cloud!
Hybrid cloud is an industry favourite because it mixes both the cost-effective third-party support of public clouds plus the security and performance of private clouds. It also allows for flexibility for organisations that are tied to on-premise infrastructure but have an increase of data - they can choose to put some of it on the cloud and some keep on-premise.
Multi-Cloud is another cloud computing buzzword (in fact, we explained multi-cloud in this blog post). 'Multi-cloud' refers to a strategy where you mix and match services from different cloud providers, with each cloud service performing a different function. One main difference between hybrid cloud solutions and multi-cloud solutions is that the components of a hybrid cloud work together in tandem, whereas multi-cloud uses separate cloud environments for distinct purposes.
A hybrid cloud infrastructure could rely on load balancing from a public cloud, with proprietary database and storage in a private cloud. Then, operations may shift between the two clouds based on load, cost and other factors.
A hybrid cloud is an excellent choice for industries like healthcare, law and finance where compliance is required. Why? Because hybrid clouds always include a private cloud component. Private clouds are built-for-purpose to your exact specifications and are incredibly secure, enough to satisfy any data protection or other regulations on your industry. Public cloud security has also dramatically-increased in recent years to meet demand and expectations. At SysGroup, we work with many organisations in these compliance-driven sectors and ensure that we protect and secure their data in the cloud.
For example, a healthcare organisation could employ a hybrid cloud solution to transfer patient data between facilities while staying compliant, or move their archive files off-premises in a public cloud to reduce their on-site storage but remain compliant with data retention policies. Or, a financial firm can use a public cloud component in addition to their on-premises infrastructure in order to store encrypted data off-site as a backup solution. See how we helped others in the financial sector.
A hybrid cloud is great for workloads that rise and fall during the year. By moving as many non-sensitive functions as possible to the public cloud, it allows an organisation to benefit from public cloud scalability and reduce the demands on their private cloud infrastructure. For example, a company working with big data could use a hybrid cloud model to store accumulated business, sales test and other data in a private cloud, and then run analytical queries in a public cloud, which can scale to support more demanding computing tasks. Seasonal traffic spikes or 'cloud bursting' can be effectively managed through a hybrid solution.
Substantial savings come from the elasticity of a hybrid cloud. In fact, in an IDG survey puts the average IT cost savings from hybrid cloud implementation at 24%! These savings come in the form of:
Modernisation - Updating, consolidating and virtualising will reduce your overall infrastructure 'footprint'
Operations - IT labour costs are reduced through automation and integration of your systems
Applications - Trim redundant applications and take advantage of the pay-per-use structure of public clouds
Development - Reduce your development costs by testing new applications in public clouds