Cloud Transformation: Hybrid Cloud Computing Explained
The hybrid cloud combines solutions from private and public cloud platforms. But why invest in a hybrid cloud? What are the advantages over other solutions? Read on to find out more!
If you use any kind of technology, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the cloud — and how it can help you store data.
If you work in or are familiar with IT, you have certainly heard about Cloud Computing.
The question is: what is the best type of cloud to meet my company’s needs? How to choose between public or private?
This is not an easy question to answer because it needs to take into account a number of factors, such as cost, performance, security, control, availability, speed, flexibility, and agility.
And that’s where your third option comes into play: the hybrid cloud, which combines solutions from private and public cloud platforms.
What is a Hybdrid Cloud?
As we have already mentioned, a hybrid cloud uses a combination of cloud solutions that work together on-premises and off-premises to provide cloud computing services.
It combines a private cloud with one (or more) public cloud services, with proprietary software that allows communication between each distinct service.
A hybrid cloud is an IT architecture that incorporates some level of workload portability, organization, and management between two or more environments. These can be:
• A private cloud and a public cloud;
• Two or more private clouds;
• Two or more public clouds;
• A virtual environment connected to at least one public or private cloud.
Single or separate clouds become hybrid when environments are connected optimally. It’s important to emphasize that this interconnectivity is the only way hybrid clouds can function.
In a hybrid cloud strategy, workloads are migrated, management is unified, and processes are orchestrated through interconnectivity. The level of development of these connections directly impacts how well a hybrid cloud performs.
This environment allows your enterprise to take advantage of both cloud platforms and choose which cloud to use according to your specific needs.
So, what differentials can a hybrid cloud provide for your company?
• Connect several computers through a network;
• Consolidate IT resources;
• Scale-out and provision new resources quickly;
• Allow migration of workloads between environments;
• Incorporate a unified management tool;
• Orchestrate processes with the help of automation.
Differences Between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud
Have you ever heard of multi-cloud and wondered what would be the difference between this model and the hybrid cloud? The names may be similar, but the structure, not so much.
A hybrid cloud relies on a single management plan. A multi-cloud strategy is just the opposite: administrators need to manage each cloud environment separately.
Hybrid clouds are computing environments that combine public and private cloud computing (allowing data and applications to be shared between them), while multi-clouds are comprised of more than one service and cloud provider, public or private.
In other words:
Refers to the presence of various types of clouds (public or private) with some form of integration or orchestration between them.
Presence of more than one cloud of the same type (public or private), originating from different vendors.
Types of Hybrid Cloud Architecture
Like us (human beings, not our company, we’re not that selfish), clouds are unique. So there is no standard architecture for the cloud.
How you organize a cloud’s resources and create your hybrid cloud will be as unique as your fingerprint. However, there are some basic principles that correspond to two general ways of creating hybrid cloud environments.
Traditional Hybrid Cloud Architecture
• Hybrid clouds result from connecting a private cloud environment to a public cloud.
• In this model, you can create a private cloud yourself or use pre-packaged cloud infrastructure. You would also need to have a public cloud to link it to.
• Powerful middleware or a pre-configured VPN can migrate vast volumes of resources between environments.
Modern Hybrid Cloud Architecture
• This architecture favors application portability when building hybrid clouds.
• This model focuses more on applications. Teams develop and deploy applications as small, independent, loosely coupled collections of services.
• When the same operating system runs across all IT environments, and a unified platform is used to manage everything, the application becomes universal.
What are the benefits of a Hybrid Cloud Solution?
Corporations from all sectors are moving towards hybrid cloud solutions. This move was already expected as a way to reduce costs while avoiding local resource overload.
From retail to the insurance market, from healthcare to the financial sector, hybrid cloud environments have already shown that they are useful, effective, and worth the investment in structure and staff.
That’s because hybrid cloud models improve computing and storage capacity and optimize the scarce resource of physical space – something increasingly expensive and rare in the home office (or anywhere office) era.
Hybrid cloud services are robust because they enable:
* Greater control over private data;
* Storage of sensitive data in a private cloud or datacenter;
* Leverage the powerful computing resources of a public cloud;
* Eliminate or at least significantly lessen security risks by limiting the exposure of private data to the public cloud;
* Save costs by extending your private resources to a public cloud only when needed;
* Use much less space compared to a strictly private model.
* The interconnectivity of this type of cloud allows your operations and development teams to work together.
* This strategy is one of the ways for companies to achieve their digital transformation goals.
Why go hybrid?
The ability to scale on-demand means that hybrid cloud models have many uses. In this sense, there are several possibilities for hybrid cloud applications in the corporate environment. Some examples are:
1. Reducing risk
It’s not news that corporations have to take on a certain amount of risk whenever they try something new. This cloud strategy mitigates this risk by reducing the need for a substantial upfront investment.
2. Application development
The ability to quickly create applications in any cloud, with secure and consistent operations.
Your corporation can deploy a new application and pay only for the resources it uses rather than paying upfront. This mitigates losses in the event that an application fails or does not have the expected result.
3. Data regulatory compliance
The hybrid cloud allows companies to comply with regulations. Something that is more commonly found in industries that deal with personal or sensitive information that must legally be stored on private servers (like insurers, legal firms, and governments). All while benefiting from the expanded computing power of public clouds.
Challenges of Implementation
Despite the benefits that hybrid cloud computing provides, it’s essential to keep in mind that every strategy will have its own challenges when it comes to implementation.
Compatibility: While on-premises and public cloud environments work together in a hybrid cloud approach, they are not always fully compatible and not easily synchronized. For example, a hybrid cloud’s back-end data center component will never respond as quickly as a public cloud’s front-end. This can cause latency issues.
Data handling: Improper data movement and placement on a hybrid cloud can produce security and cost challenges. To secure data in transit, it’s important to ensure that all your data traffic is encrypted. It’s also crucial that you place your data in the right environment to avoid moving data across cloud environments and triggering cloud network fees.
Complex access management: Authentication and authorization are among the most prominent hybrid cloud security challenges. Organizations should adopt centralized protocols to access data in both private and public cloud environments.
Skills gap: Hybrid cloud adoption requires users and IT staff to have a particular set of technical skills. The expertise required to handle public cloud infrastructure differs from that of a private data center. The learning curve needed to close that skill gap can lead to human error.
Private cloud maintenance: A hybrid cloud’s private component requires substantial investment, maintenance, and expertise. Implementation of additional software such as databases, helpdesk systems, and other tools can further complicate a private cloud. Proper data planning, public cloud security tools, and investment in employee training can help smooth out adoption.
Regardless of the challenges, all cloud solutions will incur their own share of pitfalls and complexity. It’s up to your IT team to understand where things can go wrong in order to dodge possible issues along the way.
The best advice we can give you is this: when it comes to an undertaking of this magnitude, a helping hand can go a long way. Digital transformation is one thing, but cloud migration is something that an IT consultancy could better handle.
If you’re still having trouble wrapping your head around any of these concepts or would just like to know more about the different options available to you, why not check out some of our other content on the subject of cloud computing here? MJV is also hosting a webinar on the topic of Cloud Migration on April 13th if you happen to be interested (we’ll also be recording the webinar, just in case you miss it).
If you have any questions related to Hybrid Cloud Computing or Cloud Computing in general, our consultants are always available here. Remember, no matter how difficult the road ahead may be, you don’t have to go it alone.