You’ve probably heard the term “hybrid cloud” many times. But what does it really mean and should your company invest in it? Let’s find out.
What is the hybrid cloud?
In its most basic form, a hybrid cloud is a cloud computing infrastructure that combines the features of both private and public cloud in such a way that it allows for easy exchange of data or applications. This idea of a hybrid cloud stemmed from the fact that every organization’s needs are unique, so a one-size-fits-all approach would not work when it comes to cloud deployment. Also, organizations learned that they had more flexibility and reliability by combining different infrastructures in varying levels into a single product. This is how the idea of a hybrid cloud was born.
Getting a bit more technical, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines hybrid cloud as “a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.”
Besides flexibility, a hybrid cloud also offers greater levels of performance and cost value when compared to a private or public cloud, not to mention the combined features and benefits that end-users gain from using it. According to IDC, the continuing quest for optimized infrastructure and the ability to source application and infrastructure components from multiple vendors are some of the big drivers for hybrid cloud adoption.
A report by Gartner says that nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. In an another report, Synergy Research Group said private and hybrid cloud saw 45 percent growth in 2015.
Now that you know what a hybrid cloud is, let’s look at some reasons why it is good for your business.
Benefits of hybrid cloud
- Architectural flexibility — You can use a mix of private and public cloud infrastructure components in such a way that you can get the combined benefits of both.
- Better access control — Unlike cloud-only or local-only solutions, a hybrid cloud allows you to define and enable multi-tenancy. This way, you can provide access to the right personnel and create custom network segmentation when needed.
- Enhanced security — One of the concerns about cloud technology has been security. With hybrid cloud, you have better security because you can choose to have dedicated servers for some parts of your application to isolate or restrict access. In addition, you can configure your devices in such a way that your dedicated and cloud servers can communicate through a private network.
- Compliance — Hybrid cloud’s flexibility makes it easy for your organization to comply with statutory requirements. Moreover, it can meet the different requirements of auditors, especially in gray areas like multi-tenancy.
- Cost value — A hybrid cloud allows you to pay only for what you use, so your organization can decide what areas need a dedicated server and what can be outsourced to vendors. This flexibility greatly increases the value of every dollar you spend.
- Predictability — With a hybrid cloud, you have more control over your applications, and this increases the predictability of application deployment. You can always choose to have dedicated servers to meet your performance needs, and the rest can be supplemented with public cloud services.
- Innovation — Hybrid cloud creates the right environment for innovation, because you’re no longer impaired by the drawbacks of any particular cloud technology. You can mix and match different components to come up with products that can take your organization to greater levels.
These advantages have persuaded many companies to adopt hybrid cloud in a big way. Let’s briefly see how some organizations have leveraged the power of hybrid cloud.
The city of Asheville in North Carolina had a unique and complex problem. It had a Disaster Recovery (DR) facility, but it was located just two blocks from the main data center. For Jonathan Feldman, Asheville’s new CIO, this was not a happy situation as there was no geographical redundancy. To fix this problem, Feldman decided to have DR for an on-premise application in the public cloud, and this entailed the complex process of moving virtual machines between different infrastructures. Working with a company called CloudVelox, Feldman and the city of Asheville moved the entire DR system into AWS, and, thus, achieved a high level of automation.
This is an interesting case study because running a disaster recovery system is expensive, complex, and time-consuming, to say the least.
Bernhardt Furniture Co. is one of the largest family-owned furniture companies in the United States, and has been a leading global manufacturer of diversified furniture for the last 125 years. To keep pace with the changing times, Bernhardt needed to reinforce its image as a leading furniture manufacturer by transforming its paper-based sales process into a mobile catalog and ordering app. The existing selling process was frustrating for both representatives and wholesale buyers as it involved flipping through binders and filling paper forms to document orders, not to mention the increased chances for errors, risks, and confusions.
Lacey Griffith, the company’s director of IT, approached IBM for a solution to the problem. IBM used a hybrid-cloud strategy to design a virtual showroom app for mobile devices, with an aim to give sellers quick access to the latest product information. This app not only eliminated the need for paper forms, but also gave a new level of sophistication to the entire sales process. It helped sellers to demonstrate a product and its features, and also simplified the process of taking orders. In addition, this app gave the company better data analytics capabilities.
As a result, Bernhardt moved away from a paper-based process toward more strategic processes. It was able to provide a better sales and ordering experience that in turn improved the overall efficiency of the organization.
These case studies are just two examples of how the power of a hybrid cloud and how it can transform organizations in a profound way.
Best of both worlds
Hybrid cloud is a technology that combines the best of the worlds of private and public cloud to give you greater flexibility, reliability, and improved performance. Better access control, enhanced security, predictability, and compliance are some of the other key benefits it offers. With such advantages, it’s no surprise that many companies have already started reaping its benefits.
Are you also ready to enjoy the convenience of choice with the confidence of reliability and consistency that comes with having a hybrid cloud deployment?
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