Having The Best Of Both Worlds With Hybrid Clouds
“It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds. A Harvard education and a Yale degree.”
- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th President of the United States.
If a child is offered the option of candy or a rollercoaster ride at the amusement park, chances are he or she would love to have both. Even adults would like to have all the beneficial options instead of choosing only one of them. It’s common human psychology to want more, to yearn for “the best of both worlds.”
Why can’t we have the same in cloud computing? Why do we have to forsake our existing IT infrastructure to go on the cloud? Why do we have to restrict ourselves to traditional IT if we don’t want to accept cloud computing until the technology matures and security concerns are addressed. Why does it have to be “either-or” and not “both”?
Think about the following scenario. You spend thousands of dollars to acquire your dream home theater system over the last year. You sacrifice simple pleasures like that expensive Indian restaurant you used to frequent twice a week, you work overtime for that coveted bonus and miss quality time with your significant other, you put off your annual holiday – all for the sake of that home theater you’ve wanted for so long.
Now, a week since you started using it, you are informed by the news channels that all that technology is obsolete. You cannot sell the equipment you have bought (no buyers) and you cannot upgrade (completely different technology). You wouldn’t be pleased, would you? And that’s putting things mildly.
Now, think of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who has just spent millions on upgrading the company’s servers, only to be told that the technology is obsolete and that he should shift to cloud computing. Not only will that amount to wasted expenditure, the CIO may well retort, “If it ain’t broken, why fix it?” In light of the massive expenditure recently undertaken and the additional initial investment required for migrating to the cloud, future efficiencies of scale and operations wouldn’t cut much ice with the CIO.
However, all is not lost. With hybrid clouds, it is possible to have “the best of both worlds,” using traditional IT infrastructure in combination with cloud computing for maximum effect. Hybrid cloud can be defined as the “use of physical hardware and virtualized cloud server instances together to provide a single common service.” In other words, the company provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally by cloud computing providers.
Not only does this approach make optimal use of resources, it also helps address most of the security concerns that have held back adoption of cloud computing. Companies can choose to keep their most important data on local servers, while offloading the rest on clouds. They can choose to carry out critical operations like business intelligence in their own data centers, while using cloud computing for more mundane, yet processing-intensive tasks. This should allay some concerns that I had mentioned in one of my previous articles, How Small Firms Can Benefit Big From Cloud Computing (And Why They Are Not).
Gartner analyst Stanley Zaffos has been quoted as saying that “the hybrid cloud storage appliance actually has intelligence, software and local storage built into it.” According to Zaffos, “by deduping the data and encrypting it, it’s reducing bandwidth charges,” as well as monthly storage charges.
It’s no coincidence that several providers are leveraging hybrid clouds as an entry mechanism to the immense potential of cloud computing. The latest to join the bandwagon, HP, is leveraging its BladeSystem converged infrastructure of servers, storage and network connectivity bundled together with automation software for management and governance . Additional security will be provided to allow connectivity between public clouds and clients’ existing IT infrastructures.
As you can see, with hybrid clouds, it is possible to “eat your cake and have it” as well.
By Sourya Biswas
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