If you’re an organization which heavily relies on IT (and these days that’s almost everyone) then you know the struggle of building and maintaining the needed computing infrastructure to keep your business going. This is where the cloud comes in to help, but it turns out it’s also not suitable for everyone. So, what to do?
It’s a challenge that is answered by the so-called hybrid cloud. In order to understand it better, we have to start from a little further away.
Types of cloud architecture
There are three main types of cloud: private, public and hybrid.
The private cloud can be your own hardware, setup on your premises and run by you. This means you have to take care of everything to make sure it runs smoothly and is accessible by employees everywhere. It can be expensive and difficult, but you have full control over what happens.
A second type of a private cloud is a hosted one. This means the organization can pay a service provider to setup and maintain the private cloud at a data center and provide access only to the client. Renting a dedicated server can also be a type of a private cloud. It can also be expensive, but much more convenient as the provider does what you say.
Then we come to the public cloud. This means using a service from a provider like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and so on. It can be simply taking a shared server or a usage plan. The problem is that the client has little to no control over what the provider does. Sure, if you’re a big enough client, they will try to meet your requirements, but not for the SMBs.
Finally, it’s the hybrid cloud. It basically tries to combine the best of both worlds. You keep a private cloud for the more important data and operations, thus preserving the higher security and integrity, but you also use a public cloud for the more common and front-end tasks. While it can lead to lower costs, the primary goal of the hybrid cloud is not that.
The hybrid cloud itself could feature different combinations of the public and private cloud setups. Even using two different public cloud services together can be defined as a hybrid cloud. Or connecting a dedicated server to a cloud service and so on. The exact definition of a hybrid cloud can vary a lot, but the gist of it combines at least one public and one private cloud.
Benefits of the hybrid cloud
As we mentioned, driving costs down is not the goal of the hybrid cloud. While it can definitely happen, depending on your needs and setup, the actual benefits are all about digital transformation, ease of work and increasing productivity and efficiency.
This means that combining cloud services gives your organization more flexibility to change and adapt to the changing IT demands and requirements faster and more efficiently. As a result, the company will be more competitive and quicker to react.
The hybrid cloud also allows the client to not be vendor- or provider-locked. It can operate as it sees fit and take the best out of every service. You can also enjoy the extra computing power if the need arises.
Another benefit is that by joining the different clouds together, you can have direct access to everything from the private cloud. It would be faster and more secure. Of course, this would also depend on the setup you choose, but the point is that you will get a lot of options and possibilities that normally won’t be available to just one type of cloud.
Hybrid cloud drawbacks
Of course, it’s not just roses, there are some thorns, too. Using two or more cloud services can heighten the security risk as it’s simply more points of access. It can also have some issues when transporting data or with service compatibility, i.e. not all clouds could work together as well as expected.
Most of those challenges can be conquered, but that will mean more money. As a result, a hybrid cloud, while potentially very beneficial, can also get expensive. Especially if you don’t plan out things well. If you do, you can also enjoy a lower cost in the long term. But we will have more on that soon, so stick around.