Cloud computing has provided us with exceptional flexibility along with more accessible and economical solutions. The introduction of hybrid cloud saw further advances through the management of multiple clouds from various providers, and experts are now touting hybrid IT as the next step.
Cloud-based services are divided into the categories of public and private, each with its own set of benefits and limitations. Public clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud provide us with cost savings through their shared services, are typically easy to use, and are highly scalable. Private clouds, on the other hand, offer many benefits of cloud computing but are generally understood to be more secure and controllable since they are designed for use by only one organization. For some organizations, one of these two categories is easily recognized as the most suitable, but for many others, something in the middle provides just the right fit. Enter the hybrid cloud, an infrastructure that allows independently operating public and private clouds to communicate via encrypted connections. This combination model lets businesses manage particular IT resources themselves and outsource others to service providers, merging the individual parts into a tailored hybrid cloud.
(Infographic Source: CBS Interactive)
Offering the best of both public and private cloud, hybrid cloud solutions provide holistic IT applications that allow business and IT leaders to pick and choose the most relevant mechanisms. Moreover, by combining private cloud, public cloud, and dedicated services in one platform, breakdowns are minimized, and maximum component advantage and operation is attained. The cost savings of such a mixed model have also been recognized as essential benefits as overall IT costs drop through reduced IT ownership and the ability to make use of (and pay for) resources only when they’re needed. Furthermore, hybrid cloud solutions have the potential of addressing security and compliance concerns more efficiently wherein sensitive data can be stored on dedicated servers without losing the benefits of the high performance and scalability of the cloud.
Of course, hybrid cloud solutions also come with their own unique challenges. Although many of the public and hybrid solutions offer advanced security solutions, the perception that such platforms are vulnerable to privacy and security issues is still high since information transported across networks could potentially be interfered with. Furthermore, both hybrid and public cloud solutions tend not to suit situations in which data transfer is sensitive to latency and ping times such as the JMA supercomputer which is used to predict tsunamis and earthquakes, producing intensely time-critical predictions. Finally, the costs involved in hybrid solutions tend to be greater than public cloud services, and organizations with smaller IT budgets are often served satisfactorily through public cloud providers.
Hybrid IT demonstrates the continued development of IT infrastructure, creating unified frameworks out of mixes of private clouds, public clouds, legacy systems, and collocations. As organizations increasingly make use of global data centers, hybrid IT assists in the management of IT resources across numerous facilities and locations using APIs and organizational services that ensure an agile, practical, and connected infrastructure.
Already organizations habitually utilizing hybrid cloud solutions are considering, if not implementing, hybrid IT applications. Government and transportation sectors, in particular, find hybrid IT allows them to cater to dispersed users in rapidly changing arenas, but smaller organizations too are benefiting from ‘IT as a service’ through the multitude of adaptations hybrid IT offers. Thanks to the ability to retain legacy systems in a gradual infrastructure transformation, hybrid IT means businesses can appropriately utilize all resources in an efficient and connected infrastructure.
Says Lydia Leong, distinguished analyst in the IT Leaders group at Gartner, “Not everything can or should be cloud.” Hybrid IT could provide the middle ground that allows existing, non-cloudy IT infrastructures to operate alongside cloud applications, permitting measured migration over time.
By Jennifer Klostermann