The debate regarding the future of cloud computing continues to rumble on, and central to this is the notion of whether the private or public cloud will become dominant. Increasingly, it appears as if neither of these two competing technologies will in fact become primarily used by businesses, given the existence of the hybrid cloud.
The hybrid cloud is becoming increasingly important given the flexibility that it offers. Many SMEs in particular value the fact that it effectively provides the qualities of both the public and private cloud in one convenient package; the best of both worlds.
Many tech analysts and writers have spoken about the significance of this technology. Writing on CenturyLinkVoice in August, Century Link’s Richard Seroter pointed out that it is not merely within the field of cloud computing that consumers are used to accessing hybrid products.
For example, hybrid cars have become extremely popular as people feel the need to reduce their usage of fossil fuels. But the gasoline-driven vehicle remains dominant, and many still choose to utilise such cars for long distance journeys. Another example of a hybrid product outside of the field of computing is hybrid wine. This is an obscure concept to many people, but in fact most of the public has consumed wine made from hybrid grapes that are grown in non-traditional wine regions.
Thus, the idea of combining the qualities of two separate products within one computing platform is not such a foreign one, even if it does take some people a little while to get their heads around.
When making a decision about what to keep within a company’s in-house network and what should be outsourced to the public cloud, a lot of factors and concerns need to be taken into consideration by IT professionals.
Firstly, and most naturally, it is necessary to consider the value of each to that particular environment within which they are operating. Public clouds have been particularly embraced by organisations for their scalability, geographic reach and the potential to enable businesses to reduce their investments in infrastructure management. However, the very same business may value on-premises and data centres for tasks which require a higher level of physical control or which utilise specialised hardware which is particularly tuned to a specific set of applications; for example, a data warehouse.
Thus, defining the overarching principles of a company is essential in deciding what cloud services will particularly suit a business. Then at this point it is possible to make tactical moves in the cloud marketplace. At this stage, it is important to consider that migrating applications to the cloud can be tricky if the workload involved isn’t a cloud-friendly. Closely working with developers and architects can therefore be extremely beneficial to IT professionals handling a cloud migration.
Establishing specific characteristics of the system such as its ability to scale, how well it can handle failure, whether or not there will be latency issues, where the data will reside and ultimately be stored, and what tools will be used to manage the data work in a cloud environment, should be considered a priority.
Hybrid cloud is a great system for new cloud adopters, as it effectively helps businesses that area new to the cloud soften the blow of the compromises which are necessitated by each individual choice between public and private clouds.
It is always worth bearing in mind, though, that the existing structure of the company can greatly contribute to the cloud infrastructure that a business opts for. If a company has a large on-premises investment then it would make sense to take advantage of this, and invest strongly in the public cloud. This doesn’t mean that such a business should avoid the hybrid cloud, what it does mean is that the way that the hybrid cloud is weighted can and should be affected by individual circumstances.
Many businesses have successfully moved to a hybrid cloud environment, but it would be naive to believe that this is straightforward and likely to proceed without any hiccups. Most businesses will face challenges regarding mismatches in capabilities between public and private cloud environments. Furthermore, there can be issues related to diversification in security models, for example, identity management, level of control, unexpected latency issues that pop up after applications migrate to public, and difficulty managing cloud resources with the tools and processes that are generally utilised for on-premises cover, can all cause difficulties.
Nonetheless, this list should not be considered intimidating, as service providers can often help in the potentially daunting process of migrating to the cloud.
Technological change has historically been a rapid process, but this is nevertheless an extraordinary time in the development of the sphere. With Big Data, Internet of Things, and the rise of the cloud and the hybrid cloud in particular, the way people organise their businesses is evolving at a tremendous pace. Being at the centre of this process in the coming years will benefit almost any business.