Fear of cloud technology is, in part, driven by its name. Many of us perceive clouds to be short-lived, impossible to reach, and inaccessible—attributes that we don’t always want for our storage and compute needs. And the term “hybrid cloud” does more to confuse than clarify; although cloud solutions have been available for over a decade, there are still many uncertainties that prevent adoption—cost, security concerns, and lack of expertise. It’s the hybrid cloud’s reliability, cost efficiencies, and ease of use that make it a complete solution for businesses large and small.
Change is inevitable. The best way to understand a changing landscape is to educate yourself on the matter to make informed decisions—and the adoption of a hybrid cloud strategy is just one instance. Let’s dive deeper:
Understand Hybrid Cloud
Cloud computing is described in one of two ways, and services are separated into three basic categories: public, private, and hybrid. Public cloud services, like the storage and infrastructure offered by Google or Microsoft Azure, allow customers to “lease” cloud resources, which are hosted by the vendor.
The private cloud designation offers a dedicated infrastructure that is not shared with any other organizations. On the other hand, public clouds are built on shared resources. Private clouds are hosted on-premise or externally by third-party vendors who specialize in cloud hosting.
A hybrid cloud uses the best of both worlds—taking advantage of the costs and ease-of-use from the public cloud, as well as the security and privacy of a private cloud. “Originally, hybrid cloud solutions were brought to the market as a launching pad for switching IT to either a private or public cloud,” says Daniel Newman, co-founder of V3 Broadsuite, writing for Dell Insight Partners. “Today, however, more businesses are interested in keeping the hybrid cloud solution as a complete solution.”
Leverage the Hybrid Cloud as a Business Solution
Hybrid cloud configurations are ideal for varied workloads. Typically, organizations employ a private cloud for mission-critical, sensitive data and a public cloud for less sensitive storage, for instance. A hybrid might be two public clouds sharing a connection or a private cloud connected to a community cloud. Hybrid clouds can be more efficient than having one public or private cloud. Consider that they:
- Scale easily and are more agile.
- Enhance disaster recovery options.
- Manage network assets more efficiently.
- Deploy new applications more quickly.
Hybrid clouds were once considered back-ups for companies that couldn’t afford an on-premises server, but today they are a critical solution to any business. Other significant benefits of the hybrid cloud include:
- Faster data speeds. Hybrid networks can be set up to send essential data to private servers, vastly increasing load times and transfer speeds.
- Better security. Private servers store sensitive data with layers of encryption that only in-house users can access. Non-sensitive data can be publicly stored and accessed through a public service.
- Cost-Effective. When you allocate resources properly and manage usage, hybrid cloud is the most cost-effective solution.
Understand the Risks of Transitioning to Hybrid Cloud
Despite the advantages of moving to a hybrid cloud, there are some risks. Consider that being dependent on only one cloud host can put you at risk. In this situation, it’s best to create redundancy across various cloud platforms. Maintaining regulatory compliance is a top concern for those who handle sensitive data; all cloud services must adhere to security measures to protect against breaches.
What the hybrid cloud does is simple–it transfers data between the private and public network–but it requires a complex setup, secure connection, and careful management.
Embrace Better Strategies for the C-Suite
Even as cloud adoption soars, integration remains problematic. As of last year, 82% of businesses are using a hybrid cloud solution in some form, but many companies discovered that integration isn’t quick or painless. Recent Cloud Endure studies show that 65% of companies rather perform cloud strategies and migrations alone, but instead rely on service providers and system integrators to assist.
During adoption, the C-suite should work closely with the technology providers to develop a safe plan for transition. Be sure to vet their capabilities, features, and portability, so there are no surprises later on. You can then shift your focus to migration and integration planning, and worry about optimization shortly thereafter.
Financial services, government, education, healthcare, and other industries with regulation and compliance obligations don’t want to invite public scrutiny. However, many concerns over cloud adoption are based on myths, fears, and mismanaged expectations.
“Careful, phased migration of applications and data to one or more cloud services—migrating workloads to the cloud after assessing each legacy application to determine which cloud model (internal/private or external/public) is the best fit and which app migrations should be prioritized to shift first based on business goals” – James Bond, Cloud Chief Technologist, HPE
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A version of this article was first published on OnRamp.com