Cloud computing is proven to reduce capital and operational costs, increased agility and simplified IT management. By purchasing IT resources from a service provider on demand, organization can focus on strategic initiatives rather than buying, implementing and maintaining IT equipment.
However, security and data privacy risks remain obstacles to public cloud adoption. Many organizations are also concerned about application performance and regulatory compliance issues, and turning over control of their environment to a third party.
Private clouds help address these concerns while enabling organizations to leverage the technical benefits of cloud computing. Applications and data remain behind the organization’s firewall, while the data center becomes more flexible, scalable and automated. However, implementing a private cloud requires a substantial technology investment and significant expertise.
A hybrid cloud offers a middle ground, enabling organizations to have certain services and applications managed externally on a public cloud and others managed internally on a private cloud. In a hybrid cloud model, organizations can maintain mission-critical applications and sensitive data internally while leveraging the efficiency and flexibility of the public cloud for services such as data archival. This is especially valuable for organizations that have highly dynamic workloads and spikes in demand, eliminating the need to overprovision computing power to account for peak demand periods.
A hybrid cloud isn’t the same as using public and private cloud services simultaneously. In a true hybrid cloud, the public and private clouds are integrated to allow IT to easily migrate workloads in order to optimize the environment. A single interface streamlines the flow of data between the public and private clouds and creates a consistent end-user experience.
A hybrid cloud must be managed with as much rigor as a private cloud and traditional data center solutions. The key is to minimize the design differences between the public and private cloud environments so a centralized management strategy can be applied to the hybrid cloud as a whole with as few adjustments as possible.
A hybrid cloud management strategy should cover:
- Security, including the encryption of data during transmission and at rest, access controls, firewalls and policy enforcement
- Fault monitoring and performance alerts, which should be centrally managed
- Best practices for configuration, change control, patch management and implementation
- Capacity planning and provisioning for both the onsite data center and the public cloud
- Budget controls, including alerts for both unused resources and charges that exceed certain levels
In most organizations, a change in culture will likely be necessary for hybrid cloud adoption. Successful implementation requires not only different skills and expertise but a different thought process than traditional IT infrastructure.
According to a TechTarget Cloud Pulse Survey, 39 percent of organizations are using a hybrid cloud – about the same as the 40 percent using a public cloud and far ahead of the 22 percent using a private cloud. IPC can help organizations take full advantage of the hybrid cloud model through a strategic approach that optimizes flexibility, efficiency and cost.