When cloud computing burst onto the scene, many companies rushed to cash in on the craze. What many of them discovered, however, was that moving to a purely public cloud solution brought along its share of downsides. Acknowledging this, companies have recently been turning to data centers to build network solutions that combine scalable public cloud platforms and private networks, known as a hybrid cloud.
A hybrid cloud architecture can take many forms, but it essentially combines a private network (either in a colocated or virtualized server) with a public cloud environment over a single cross-connection. By fully optimizing both sides of the network to integrate with the other portion, hybrid deployments offer a number of advantages that are shaking up networks.
IT flexibility is everything for organizations in today’s fast-moving economy. They need to be able to deliver just the right services at just the right time to meet customer demands. Companies utilizing a purely private network infrastructure often run into their own limitations at some point. Maybe they don’t have the capacity to grow or find themselves saddled with aging equipment that doesn’t meet their current or future needs. Whatever the reason, when they hit those limitations, it can undermine business growth and leave them unable to take advantage of new opportunities.
Under a hybrid cloud architecture, however, companies can retain full control over their IT assets while also gaining access to scalable cloud computing resources that allow them to expand capacity on demand. Meanwhile, the private portion of the network can be fully optimized to the exact specifications of the company’s needs in terms of data security and access, which is important due to concerns about public cloud security. Having such extensive control makes it less likely that a change in a cloud provider’s terms of service will cause disruptions or compromise data in any way.
With companies gathering more data and delivering more online services than ever before, network performance is a key differentiator in a competitive marketplace. Public cloud platforms may offer tremendous benefits, but they often come at a cost of performance. Part of the problem is that the public cloud needs to be all things to all customers and may not be able to meet a company’s very specific needs. Perhaps the development tools of a cloud platform are ideal, but the data management solution falls a bit short.
Hybrid IT solutions allow companies to create purpose-built network environments that meet their specific needs and leverage only the best aspects of public cloud services. This distributed architecture results in faster, more efficient performance, allowing them to move quickly to capitalize on opportunities. When it comes to uptime reliability, they can also rest easy knowing that mission-critical assets remain in the high-availability private portion of the hybrid network rather than the public cloud environment.
The rapid proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and streaming content services has made edge computing architecture an important element of company networks. Deploying data generating IoT edge devices closer to end users makes it possible for companies to gather even more data, which helps to inform business strategy. Getting the most out of these devices, however, can be challenging. Existing computing resources may lack the capacity to handle the increased data traffic, or IoT edge devices may be distributed so far from the network core that latency problems render them all but useless.
Hybrid cloud architecture can empower edge computing strategies by using public cloud resources to extend the reach of a private network, essentially functioning as a bridge to IoT edge devices. Interfacing with the public cloud allows these devices to get the processing resources they need faster, which reduces the latency impact associated with distance. The distributed architecture of the public cloud also makes it easier to add devices to an expanding edge network without having to purchase new physical assets for the private portion of the network. At the same time, the private portion of the network can compensate for concerns over public cloud security.
It’s no accident that most of the advantages associated with hybrid IT solutions involve big data. Analyzing accumulated data for actionable insights and trends that inform business strategy is absolutely crucial to success in today’s economy. Finding ways to manage that data is a huge challenge since most of it is unstructured. Sophisticated algorithms are needed to identify useful information within this mass of data, and most of those algorithms are powered by the scalable resources of cloud computing platforms. Public cloud services have made it possible for even the smallest start-ups to access the processing resources once available to only the largest enterprises.
But computing power is just one side of the equation. Much of the data companies gather contains confidential and needs to be protected by the most stringent security measures. Storing this data in a public cloud environment generally isn’t a viable long-term solution. Hybrid IT solutions, however, offers an ideal solution. Vital data can be stored behind the heavily encrypted confines of a private network while only portions of it are shifted over to the public cloud computing environment. This allows companies to leverage the power of cloud computing analytics to gain actionable business insights while also providing ample security against data breaches to give their customers peace of mind.
As cloud-based network solutions become more sophisticated, many companies are finding that hybrid cloud architecture offers the ideal balance between control and scalable flexibility. When set up within a carrier-neutral data center environment with extensive connectivity options, these networks allow companies to enjoy the best of both worlds while delivering services that bring value and security to their customers.