Cloud computing has radically altered the landscape of today’s network environments. Whereas organizations once confined their data and computing operations to private data centers, virtualization and the spread of multiple service platforms have made it possible for assets and activities to be located in public clouds that can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to the easy access of public cloud services. Concerns over lack of control and privacy have led many companies to decide that going fully public is not the best route for their IT infrastructure. For companies that want to maximize the benefits of both public and private cloud environments, hybrid cloud deployments offer tremendous advantages. Versatile and responsive, hybrid clouds are fast becoming a popular solution for organizations looking to adopt creative solutions for their IT and computing needs.
One of the key benefits of implementing a hybrid cloud solution is control. Rather than entrusting all aspects of IT infrastructure to a third-party cloud provider, companies can customize the private end of their hybrid cloud model to their specific needs and adjust them accordingly as they see fit. Since a portion of the networked enabled application remains private, internal IT staff can retain control of critical operations and deal with day-to-day management of servers and other infrastructure.
While public cloud providers are responsive to an extent, some organizations stand to benefit greatly by exerting direct control over their IT assets in a hybrid cloud architecture. Since circumstances and needs tend to change frequently in today’s fast-moving economy, retaining the ability to reconfigure and make other adjustments to the cloud environment that contains most of a company’s vital data assets makes it easier to adapt to those changes with minimal disruption. There’s also less chance of being caught off-guard by changes in a cloud provider’s terms and conditions or a sudden loss of service.
One important byproduct of retaining control over networked enabled applications is speed. Of course, a hybrid cloud environment isn’t inherently faster than a multi-cloud environment or a purely public cloud. It does, however, allow IT staff to optimize the network to minimize latency and make it easier for data to get where it needs to be. Hybrid environments can also take advantage of edge computing architectures to further increase speed and locate crucial services closer to end users.
While public clouds have to spread their resources and be many things for many customers, private clouds can be more purpose built and minimize their resource demands. Whether by offloading non-critical operations to the public cloud or configuring the network to handle only critical traffic, the private portion of a hybrid cloud can be designed to help users work faster and be more productive.
Protecting valuable data is always a challenge in any networked enabled applications, but this is especially true of public clouds. While cloud providers go to great lengths to ensure that customer data is protected, the fact remains that public clouds are fundamentally much more open environments than a private network. This makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks and various forms of data leakage. For organizations that can’t afford to take risks with customer data or with their own proprietary data and assets, a public cloud simply presents too many risks.
With a hybrid cloud model, however, companies can leverage the security of a private cloud with the power and services of a public cloud. While data stored in a private environment will likely still have to be transmitted to the public cloud for analytics, applications, and other processes, extensive encryption methods can be implemented to ensure this data remains as secure as possible. Since IT staff retains direct control over the structure of a private cloud, they can manage access to that data across an organization and establish strict protocols for how critical assets should be managed.
One of the challenges of a private network is the capital investment required to build, maintain, and expand that network. Before public cloud services gave companies the ability to vastly expand their computing resources without actually investing in physical infrastructure, organizations could only grow their operations as quickly as they could afford to purchase new servers. While there are a lot of advantages to maintaining an in-house network, they also limited a company’s agility, making it difficult to take advantage of opportunities.
With hybrid cloud architectures, however, they can have the best of both worlds. Critical data, assets, and operations can continue to reside in the private cloud, but organizations can now leverage the expansive power of cloud computing to quickly and efficiently increase their operational capacity. Public cloud computing resources make it easier to develop new applications and run powerful analytics programs that would simply be beyond the capacity of a small organization with no more than a few servers at its disposal. With this impediment to growth removed, hybrid clouds offer the opportunity for companies of all sizes to compete with more established competitors faster than ever before.
While implementing a hybrid cloud solution imposes some additional costs beyond establishing a purely private or public environment, in the long run, it can significantly lower IT costs. The scalability of a hybrid cloud makes it an attractive alternative to a purely private cloud, which can be extremely expensive to both update and expand over time.
More importantly, by storing critical data in the private portion of a hybrid network, companies can mitigate the potentially ruinous cost of migrating assets from one cloud provider to another (or worse, having to find a new provider quickly should an existing partner go out of business). Public cloud providers have very specific terms for how data kept in their network is handled. In some cases, customers must pay a termination fee to move their data out of one public cloud and migrate it into another one. Sometimes, the provider isn’t even obligated to return the data in a format that’s usable to the customer, which can create serious obstacles to migration. With a hybrid cloud, critical data is always retained in the private cloud, making it significantly easier to switch from one public provider to another. This can offer significant cost savings over the long run.
Hybrid cloud deployments offer many benefits to organizations of all sizes. As they become more widely implemented, companies could well see the advantage to combining the security and control of private networks with the expansive power and versatility of public cloud computing. While some organizations may benefit more from a multi-cloud environment, many of them will likely seek to incorporate principles of a hybrid cloud architecture into their IT solutions. computing. While some organizations may benefit more from a multi-cloud environment, many of them will likely seek to incorporate principles of a hybrid cloud architecture into their IT solutions