Think cloud solutions and you think of cheap ways to manage modern businesses that require less office space and less paper file storage, right? It’s a desirable goal and just one of the many things to consider in terms of either moving to or improving in your workplace. Where things can get complicated is making the decision: To go public, or to go private?
Go private and you can save money on licensing costs but your capability and storage may be pretty limited. Go public and you can benefit from unlimited data capability and possibilities for expanding your software the infrastructure set, but security and compliance may be mitigated. Plus you may have to hire additional staff, who have expertise in cloud systems.
If only there were a way to take these two seemingly mutually exclusive cloud modalities and make of them a super solution that affords you the best of both. Turns out you can. Invest in two solutions that allow you to switch modes as and when needed and it could pay dividends down the track. In fact hybrid cloud solutions are so attractive that CIO estimates that by the end of 2017 ‘almost half of large enterprises globally will have deployed hybrid cloud infrastructure.’ So how do hybrid cloud solutions offer the best of both worlds?
If there’s one attribute that future-proofs a company better than any other in this time of unpredictability and disruption, it’s agility. And if there’s one attribute legacy technologies lack? The very same thing. To be nimble – to be able to move quickly and lightly without kickback or rebound – you need flexibility, not just in your personnel but also in your software arrangements. Hybrid cloud gives you just that. In the last several years, moving to cloud has generally meant signing up for a public cloud service, one with a decent range of usability, suitable for its client.
The beauty of hybrid is in readopting some aspects of these old technologies by adding a private cloud to the public service, but leaving behind the biggest problems — space, servers, power for cooling etc.
It’s no surprise then that hybrid models are scalable. Investment in private IT infrastructure, can be costly, and if not chosen wisely, can become obsolete in a short time. A hybrid solution mitigates this risk, because you can extend your IT capabilities without heavy infrastructure investment. Not only does this ensure that the systems can meet the current IT needs of the organisation, but it is also future-proof.
Compliance, risk management and security
One of the biggest attractions of a private cloud setup is that your company’s data stays within the virtual walls of the organisation. This is particularly important if your company works with highly sensitive data. However, by pursuing a hybrid solution, you can ensure that your most important data stays within the confines of your system, while moving the less sensitive data onto the cloud. By being able to do both, you can test the waters at a relatively low risk. As Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Azure mentioned to CIO:
‘You can take advantage of storage connectivity. Why do I want to buy a new SAN to store data that I'm just backing up? Toss that up in the cloud. And while I'm figuring out how to best secure that data, I can have that data encrypted as it moves to the cloud. So there's low risk; even if I did screw up and that data leaks, it's not putting the business at risk.’
When adopting a hybrid cloud solution, you can maintain security without sacrificing the agility of a public setup.
Another important benefit of a hybrid cloud model, is that it promotes business continuity. Despite popular belief, business continuity doesn’t just involve backing up or replicating data on the cloud. Business continuity is actually about having a plan B in place, so that if the worst occurs, business can go on as usual. Hybrid cloud solutions promote business continuity by providing ‘disaster insurance.’ Pertinent data can be moved or replicated into a public system so that if disaster strikes, nothing is lost, and downtime costs are kept to a minimum.
Is a hybrid solution for you?
Although hybrid cloud solutions are an appealing option for an increasing number of businesses, creating this model isn’t straight-forward. A hybrid model is a bespoke solution for your company and internal staff members may not have the level of expertise needed to successfully implement the model.
Another key challenge is that your existing legacy technology may not be compatible with cloud solutions so integration would take a significant amount of time, money and resources. In some instances, with a system that has both public and private capabilities, it may result in your team needing to run two different stacks.
Lastly, adopting a hybrid model isn’t just the remit of the IT team. You need to ensure that the move has the support from your senior stakeholders, who will be key in ushering in change to teams who may not be familiar with cloud technology.
However, if you can successfully identify and meet these challenges, then you will be left with a secure, flexible system that can grow with your company. If you would like to know more about the latest in cloud technology trends, then you should download our Cloud 2017 @ CeBIT program today.