Cloud computing has many scalability and cost-saving benefits, which makes it popular with many types of companies. During the past decade, many prominent public cloud services like Amazon AWS and IBM Cloud have emerged. These provide on-demand storage, computing services, and infrastructure for businesses wanting to reduce their IT costs. As cloud solutions gained popularity, sensitive data security concerns arose. To get the best of both security and scalability, solution providers came up with enterprise hybrid cloud offerings.
Read on to know what’s an enterprise hybrid cloud, including infrastructure, and use -cases. At the end of this article, you should be able to decide if this is the right cloud model for your company.
What is an Enterprise Hybrid Cloud
An enterprise hybrid cloud is a unified environment that combines the best of public and private clouds. Essentially, this model leverages the benefits of the cloud and the service level agreements(SLAs) that come with it. It also integrates security and control of data centers. Additionally, this model provides a unified and centralized means of management and governance across all systems—cloud and on-premise.
To better understand the benefits of an enterprise hybrid cloud, let’s briefly discuss the pros and cons of public and private cloud solutions.
A public cloud is a model where a cloud service provider owns and operates the computing resources. Often, multiple tenants share these resources.
The pros of a public cloud are:
- Unlimited scalability to meet your business needs
- No upfront capital expenditure
- Reliability due to SLA backing
The cons of public cloud services are:
- Diminished control over data
- Increasing recurring costs as your business expands
- Not as secure as a data center
A private cloud, on the other hand, is an environment where your firm owns and operates all resources.
The pros of a private cloud are:
- Highly secure
- Complete control over your data
- Flexible, as you can change your processes or storage quickly
The cons of a private cloud are:
- High capital costs
- In-house maintenance costs
- Reduced redundancy
Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of public and private cloud solutions, let’s look at enterprise hybrid cloud options!
Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solutions
In light of the pros and cons of private and public clouds, let’s understand how a hybrid cloud solution combines them.
Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud Solution
Since a hybrid cloud combines at least one public and private cloud, you can scale up or down the resources you use. Additionally, your data is secure, as an enterprise hybrid cloud uses encryption techniques to protect your data from cybercriminals. You also have complete control over your data and applications.
Importantly, you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment that may need regular maintenance or periodic replacement. This can open new opportunities for project-based businesses to access scalable hardware for last-minute projects fast.
Drawbacks of a Hybrid Cloud Solution
Like any technology, an enterprise hybrid cloud also has a few drawbacks. First, an enterprise hybrid cloud is complex as it combines both private and public cloud infrastructure. Thus, it’s hard to implement off the bat. Likewise, isolating an issue and troubleshooting it is also challenging.
That said, in general, the benefits of an enterprise hybrid cloud far outweigh the cons. To answer how it provides these benefits, let’s understand how this model works.
How do Hybrid Clouds Work?
At its core, enterprise hybrid clouds connect the data stored in your data centers with applications that work on the public cloud. This connection happens through data virtualization, APIs, interconnected devices, VPNs, and more. Thus, hybrid clouds connect the two types of environments.
Next, let’s see some specific use-cases where enterprise hybrid clouds are beneficial.
Hybrid Cloud Use Cases
Like any solution, an enterprise hybrid cloud is well-suited for some specific situations similar to the ones described below.
If you’re thinking of implementing a new application, it makes sense to try them on the public cloud as it’s cheaper than investing in on-premises infrastructure. If the application is successful, you can always move it to your private cloud. An even better option is to keep the data in your private cloud and operations in the public cloud.
If you experience a demand surge during a specific season, you can leverage the services of a public cloud to handle the additional traffic. The rest can be on your private cloud as usual. This helps you save costs since you don’t have to invest for short spikes. You can also meet these seasonal demands.
It can get expensive to provide geo-redundancy for your private cloud, as it entails twice the capital expenditure and overhead costs. A better option is to use the public cloud for redundancy, mirroring, and data backup.
Some regulations require you to keep your sensitive data within a geographic region while storing other data anywhere. This is another use-case where hybrid clouds would work best. These use-cases are sure to give you an idea of how you can leverage the benefits of an enterprise hybrid cloud environment. Before you make a decision, here’s a brief description of its architecture and components.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
As described earlier, a hybrid cloud requires both a private and a public cloud to work. Often, the private cloud serves for mission-critical data and applications for security. In addition, many companies combine it with one or more Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings from public cloud providers. You can also set up a hybrid cloud to use the data from your private cloud in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud applications.
Regardless of your hybrid cloud architecture, you’d need a public cloud service provider. Some of the most popular public cloud solutions are:
- Alibaba Cloud
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Google Cloud
- IBM Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
Now that you know the architecture, below are some essential components to enhance your solution. This includes usability, flexibility, and scalability of your enterprise hybrid cloud.
Components of Enterprise Cloud Management
The components below are necessary for an enterprise hybrid cloud as they help you to optimally leverage the benefits of this architecture. Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list, and is only meant to give you an idea of the kind of components you can have.
- Governance frameworks your company creates and customizes to offer complete control and visibility over your mission-critical data and applications
- Connectors such as APIs and VPNs that enable you to deliver turn-key projects using both your private and public clouds
- Public cloud resources accessibility when needed, to ensure you suffer zero disruption to your business
- Security to keep your data and applications safe always
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver the automation and insights of your environment
- Tools to continuously monitor and assess the health and performance of your private and public cloud infrastructure
- Report generation platforms to provide insights for informed decisions
When you include these essential components, your IT environment will be robust, flexible, and highly available for users.
Now that you know what a hybrid cloud is, let’s explore if this is a good fit for your company. While the answer depends on your business goals and existing infrastructure setup, let’s talk about some aspects to consider.
Should I switch to an Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure?
Before you switch to an enterprise hybrid cloud infrastructure, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
What are your current storage needs and how much do you expect them to increase in the future? If you anticipate a demand spike for a specific product or event, a hybrid cloud is a cost-effective option.
Does your company support remote working? If yes, then an enterprise hybrid cloud is a good choice. This is because the public cloud can provide on-demand access to data for your employees. At the same time, you can control access to sensitive data by moving them to a private cloud solution.
Control and Automation
Go for a hybrid cloud in your enterprise if you want to strike a balance between control and automation. A public cloud can provide the automation and flexibility you need while a private cloud offers high levels of control. Combining the two cloud deployment models gives the best of both worlds.
Security and Redundancy
A hybrid cloud enterprise is a good choice for firms looking to have high levels of security and redundancy for their data. In particular, it can help companies like healthcare firms where patient data and confidentiality are the core aspects of their business.
If you operate in a country with strict data storage rules, hybrid environments are a good choice. You can use the private cloud to store data within the geographic area while storing non-confidential data and applications on the public cloud.
I hope these examples give you an idea of how and when a hybrid cloud can be helpful in enterprises. If your company has any of the above requirements or if you think this setup will be beneficial, go for a hybrid infrastructure.
Before we end, let’s do a quick recap.
In summary, an Enterprise hybrid cloud combines public and private cloud infrastructures. Its architecture leverages the two cloud models to give the best of both worlds. That is, the scalability of a public cloud solution with the ability to retain data and enhanced security through a private cloud solution.
Hopefully the architecture and the components I discussed here come in handy while you design your firm’s solution. In addition, the use-cases and the consideration sections should help your decision-making process.
Do you have more questions about enterprise hybrid cloud? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
Do all hybrid enterprise clouds have a private and a public cloud?
Yes, all hybrid cloud setups must have at least one private and one public cloud. This is because a hybrid enterprise cloud combines the best of both these worlds. That said, hybrid clouds are complex and may not be everyone, so make sure it is what your company needs.
Are multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments the same?
No, they are not the same. A multi-cloud environment consists of one or more public cloud environments and may not have a private cloud as a part of the setup. On the other hand, a hybrid enterprise cloud must include at least one private and one public cloud.
Are poly cloud and hybrid cloud environments the same?
No, a poly cloud is a strategy that allows you to manage multiple cloud providers within your firm. For example, you can combine machine learning from Google Cloud and automation from AWS in a poly cloud. A hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a connector that seamlessly connects a private and a public cloud solution.
Are hybrid cloud environments safe?
Yes, hybrid cloud environments are well-known for security since they can use a wide range of tools such as encryption, automation, and orchestration. This enables you to protect data and applications. In addition, it leverages the security advantages of a private cloud with the flexibility of a public cloud to give you both.
Do hybrid clouds have any disadvantages?
Yes, they are complex and hard to implement. This requires expertise and thus costs more to setup and maintain. Also, troubleshooting can be hard due to this complex setup. Combining the two cloud deployment models can also be confusing for some employees. You can bridge this by creating a unified interface, training, and documentation. However, this can add to your costs.
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