“The benefits of hybrid cloud are clear. It’s faster, more agile and efficient.”
You’ve heard this time and again from the major hybrid cloud providers (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, …) And, while it might have been possible to dismiss the hybrid cloud in the early days of the cloud as nothing more than a buzzword, that’s no longer true. The hybrid cloud has evolved beyond the marketing hype to offer real solutions for an increasingly complex and challenging IT environment.
So what is hybrid cloud exactly? Why are we talking so much about it? And if it is so important, why aren’t we all there yet? Despite being introduced back in 2011, the concept of a hybrid cloud is still hazy in many people’s minds. This is understandable given that there are many misconceptions about what hybrid clouds are and how businesses use them.
Here are five common misconceptions about hybrid clouds set straight:
In cloud computing, there are three main cloud deployment models: private, public, and hybrid. This concept is often expressed as simply “there are three types of clouds: private, public, and hybrid”. Although accurate, the shorter version is a bit vague. As a result, it can lead to an erroneous assumption that hybrid cloud deployments contain hybrid clouds, just like public cloud deployments contain public clouds and private cloud deployments include private clouds. In reality, hybrid cloud deployments contain both private and public clouds. The private and public clouds operate independently, but data or applications move between them. The latter is a key element in hybrid clouds. If data or application portability is not present, it is simply an environment in which both private and public clouds are used.
A common misconception is that few businesses use hybrid clouds — and those that do are large companies. However, many companies of all sizes have hybrid cloud environments. One 2019 report found that 35% of small and midsized businesses and 58% of large companies have hybrid cloud strategies in place. And the numbers are expected to rise. Gartner is even predicting that using hybrid clouds will become the standard.
Retailers often use hybrid clouds to deal with spikes in IT demand during the holiday shopping season. They run their applications run in a private cloud. When the private cloud reaches its capacity, the overflow is sent to a public cloud. This is known as cloud bursting. While well-suited for retail operations, cloud bursting is not limited to retailers. Other types of businesses can use this approach to handle spikes in IT demand. For example, a tax preparation service might use cloud bursting to handle the additional workload during tax season. Plus, businesses in any industry can use hybrid clouds for tiered storage and disaster recovery. In the latter case, a company can set up its primary site in a private cloud and use a disaster recovery service in a public cloud for the secondary site. With this setup, crucial operations can quickly failover to the secondary site if disaster strikes.
People often think that managing data is more complex in a hybrid environment because both public and private clouds are used. However, public and private clouds do not work in isolation. Thanks to the portability systems linking the two clouds, companies can easily move any amount of data at any time between the clouds. Companies also have greater control over where data is handled and stored, making it easier to manage and secure the data. For example, they can use a public cloud to store non-sensitive data while storing sensitive data in a private cloud. Doing so lets companies prioritize their security efforts. They can concentrate more of their IT assets on securing the sensitive data, which can help mitigate the risk of noncompliance with regulations such as Canada’s Personal Information and Protection and Electronics Documents Act (PIPEDA).
One of the elements in a hybrid cloud is the public cloud. Companies sometimes use the same public cloud services, which can lead to the expectation that there is a standard template companies can follow when setting up a hybrid cloud. However, no such template exists, as hybrid clouds are tailor-made. The private cloud must be designed to meet a business’s specific needs. Similarly, the data and application portability systems need to be customized for the business.
Thinking about starting the hybrid cloud journey? Take the first step by contacting our I.T. Projects team. We make I.T. easy to deliver a hybrid cloud infrastructure that is optimized to meet your business’ requirements.