Hybrid cloud refers to a mixed computing, storage, and services environment made up of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud—such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure—with orchestration among the various platforms. Using a combination of public clouds, on-premises computing, and private clouds in your data centre means that you have a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud
The cloud is really just a collection of purpose-built servers. In a private cloud, the servers are dedicated to a single tenant or a group of related tenants. In a public cloud, the servers are shared between multiple unrelated tenants (customers). A public cloud is off-site, while a private cloud can be on-site or off-site — or, in common IT parlance, on-prem or off-prem.
As an example, let’s look at a hybrid cloud meant for data storage, a hybrid data cloud. A company might set up a rule that says all accounting files that have not been touched in the last year are automatically moved off-prem to cloud storage to save cost and reduce the amount of storage needed on-site. The files are still available; they are just no longer stored on your local systems. The rules can be defined to fit an organisation’s workflow and data retention policies.
Flexibility and Scalability
Undoubtedly, the primary advantage of the hybrid cloud is its flexibility. It takes time and money to manage in-house IT infrastructure and adding capacity requires advance planning.
The cloud is ready and able to provide IT resources whenever needed on short notice. The term cloud bursting refers to the on-demand and temporary use of the public cloud when demand exceeds resources available in the private cloud. For example, some businesses experience seasonal spikes that can put an extra burden on private clouds. These spikes can be taken up by a public cloud. Demand also can vary with geographic location, events, or other variables. The public cloud provides the elasticity to deal with these and other anticipated and unanticipated IT loads. The alternative would be fixed cost investments in on-premises IT resources that might not be efficiently utilised.
For a data storage user, the on-premises private cloud storage provides, among other benefits, the highest speed access. For data that is not frequently accessed, or needed with the absolute lowest levels of latency, it makes sense for the organisation to move it to a location that is secure, but less expensive. The data is still readily available, and the public cloud provides a better platform for sharing the data with specific clients, users, or with the general public.
The public cloud component of the hybrid cloud provides cost-effective IT resources without incurring capital expenses and labour costs. IT professionals can determine the best configuration, service provider, and location for each service, thereby cutting costs by matching the resource with the task best suited to it. Services can be easily scaled, redeployed, or reduced when necessary, saving costs through increased efficiency and avoiding unnecessary expenses.
An emerging trend
For good reason, the result is that hybrid cloud solutions have become the newest trend in cloud computing, offering multiple deployment models that create a more seamless, automated, secure and productive setting for enterprises that that want to stay ahead of the curve in order to establish competitive advantage.
The rewards for adopting an enterprise hybrid cloud platform are great, but like any new technology, the integration process can come with its own set of challenges. For example, when it comes to adopting a public and multi-cloud approach, the initial complication comes with the tools for deployment. Many enterprises have the necessary tools to program their network in a single domain within their data centre. However, securely connecting to external clouds beyond the walls of in-house facilities represents its own set of challenges.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) platforms can help enterprises facilitate complex connections and to fully and securely take advantage of hybrid cloud solutions. A good SDN platform should enable large enterprises to take advantage of cost-effective and innovative cloud services from one or more provider, while securely and seamlessly integrating with their existing in-house infrastructure.