As computing needs evolve, enterprises continuously find it difficult to scale their business offerings on private or on-premises computing environments. That’s why there are third-party or public cloud providers to enable businesses to carry out larger computational workloads.
However, there are situations where companies may wish to combine private cloud or on-premises infrastructure and public cloud to create a single, flexible, cost-effective computing environment infrastructure. This is where the hybrid cloud comes to play.
A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing framework where private cloud, on-premises infrastructure and public cloud blend to serve as a single computing ecosystem. It is a cloud architecture that integrates some level of workload portability, storage, network orchestration and management across two or more cloud computing environments.
A hybrid cloud typically involves orchestrating a computing workflow that synchronizes an enterprise’s on-premises data center, private or public cloud, and other private assets such as edge devices. With a hybrid cloud, enterprises can model a computing architecture that allows them the flexibility to deploy workloads on private and public clouds as seamlessly as possible.
SEE: Hybrid cloud: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Benefits of hybrid cloud
Under private cloud infrastructure, businesses face many obstacles when trying to scale their workloads. For instance, if a need for expansion arises, enterprises will need to commit a lot of finance to make that work; they may need to purchase more physical machines, which must be installed and maintained at extra cost.
However, this bottleneck is removed with a hybrid cloud, as businesses can easily rely on the public cloud to add more computational power to their IT system. In other words, a hybrid cloud removes the need to purchase extra servers for on-premises infrastructure, as businesses can easily utilize the resources provided by a public cloud service.
Every business owner wishes to be in total control of their entire business infrastructure, and the hybrid cloud offers a great deal of that. Through a hybrid cloud environment, businesses can avoid leaving all of their IT infrastructure in the hands of a third-party cloud provider. In addition, a hybrid cloud will also make it possible for businesses to determine how to customize the private side of their cloud infrastructure when adjustments need to be made.
Another good side of a hybrid cloud is that latency can easily be reduced by optimizing infrastructure with edge computing. Since businesses have the advantage of controlling their own network infrastructure, they can easily simplify how data is transferred and processed within the computing ecosystem.
This is not to say that the hybrid cloud is faster than a public cloud environment. However, the point is that a hybrid cloud offers the flexibility that makes it possible to customize operations in the most efficient way possible.
Through the hybrid cloud, businesses can better control the security measures they can apply to their IT system while benefiting from the bigger computing power that a public cloud brings. In addition, with the public cloud being a major target for hackers, organizations can save their enterprise by adapting quality security practices they deem necessary to their private cloud without losing the gains of the public cloud.
SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)
One way this can be achieved is through encryption. Since data still gets moved from the private to the public cloud, enterprises using the hybrid cloud environment can transfer their data using encryption to ensure that data is protected even in transit.
A hybrid cloud makes it easier for organizations to lower their long-term expenses, especially when they wish to scale up. Scaling up a hybrid cloud is less expensive because there’s less worry about the cost of abandoning physical resources for a transition to the cloud.
In addition, since the hybrid cloud is a mix of on-premises or private cloud and public cloud, businesses can easily expand the public cloud subscription during scale-up rather than working on a physical data center expansion.
Drawbacks to hybrid cloud
The complexity of architectural design
Designing a hybrid cloud ecosystem to ensure seamless synchronization between private and public cloud is not an easy feat. Businesses will need the services of professional cloud engineers or architects to ensure they do not run into computing problems in the long run.
The cloud architect must understand the setup of a business’s private cloud and the entire workings of its intended public cloud provider to come up with a quality hybrid cloud configuration.
Through the hybrid cloud environment, a business can be exposed to some security complications that, if not properly handled, could lead to serious problems. Some of the security complexities that could occur in a hybrid cloud setup are issues with providing secure access across the two platforms, processing user authentication across the private and public cloud, and detecting hidden vulnerabilities.
Lack of clarity
A hybrid cloud ecosystem makes it difficult to maintain clear visibility into cloud resources. When there is a lack of clarity, it becomes difficult to monitor costs and meet regulatory compliance.
Key features of hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud supports dynamic workloads. As a result, businesses can easily use the public cloud for dynamic workloads and the private cloud for more sensitive or volatile workloads.
Big data processing
Big data is never processed at a constant volume. A hybrid cloud has the configurations to handle big data analytics on the public cloud and falls back on the private cloud to protect sensitive data.
Make change at your own pace
A good hybrid cloud architecture makes it easy to test where certain workloads work best, allowing you to see what works for your enterprise.
Backups and disaster recovery flexibility
A hybrid cloud should be able to offer backup and disaster recovery flexibility depending on the volume or sensitivity of the data. This way, organizations can choose whether to back up data in the public or private cloud or on-premises.
Explore more about the cloud
With cloud a subject of great interest and discussion, there are plenty of other themes to explore in this field. Have a look at recent TechRepublic articles on navigating complex cloud infrastructures amid the growing skills shortage, the top five best practices for cloud security, and the top five trends to watch in cloud security.