Datapipe’s Tony Connor talks about hybrid IT – the cloud of the future.
When cloud computing first moved from cutting edge to mainstream, business leaders were faced with two options: private or public cloud. Private cloud was the preferred choice, largely because it is not a great leap from traditional owned infrastructure. Recently, momentum has been building around the public cloud as AWS and Azure have brought it centre-stage and the benefits of cost efficiency, flexibility, along with a tempering of security concerns has seen an increase in use cases. Hybrid IT is the next phase in the cloud evolution. Hybrid IT combines the best of both worlds by implementing private and public cloud and offers a third option that falls between the two: community cloud.
Hybrid IT is the cloud of the future, but what is it?
As cloud has evolved, the status quo has shifted to hybrid IT as it delivers numerous advantages over pure-play private and public approaches. But what is hybrid cloud? The definition of hybrid can vary depending on whom you are speaking with. Many see hybrid as a combination of private and public cloud, working together but separately. With the common definition of hybrid as a combination of private and public, the community cloud is overlooked.
What has community got to do with Hybrid IT?
According to Gartner, community cloud occupies a position between private and public offerings. In a public cloud solution, services are shared between an unlimited number of non-isolated users. Community cloud is a multi-tenant infrastructure shared among several organisations from a specified group with common computing requirements.
These requirements include regulatory concerns, such as PCI DSS compliance or they could be requirements for performance, such as needing speed in response times for data analysis. In a private cloud deployment, users are fully isolated from one another. A community offering splits the difference by limiting the number of users and isolating them by group.
A hybrid IT deployment can feature a combination of all three cloud computing types and community cloud helps organisations realise the benefits of the public cloud, including multi-tenancy and paying only for what you use, but with an added level of performance and control that is usually the domain of the private cloud. The community cloud can be on-premises or off-premises and can be governed by participating organisations or third party managed service providers.
Why Hybrid IT is the future
Hybrid solutions deliver significant advantages over pure-play architectures. First and foremost, hybrid IT allows organisations to take advantage of the best aspects of public, private, and community cloud. Resources that are non-critical like development and test workloads can be housed in the public cloud such as AWS or Azure and while these cloud environments are inherently secure, by balancing the public cloud with the private cloud and housing mission-critical or sensitive workloads on owned-infrastructure, everyone can be happy. In addition, any moderately sensitive assets can go into the community cloud.
The hybrid model really does do what it says on the tin and gives organisations the best of both worlds. On an organisation’s private cloud, they can house customer data and other sensitive information. On the public, they can ensure they are able to meet demand for their service by scaling during spikes in demand, or they can work quickly in the development stage – again by scaling easily to meet the needs of the development team.
Hybrid cloud is also valuable as a stepping stone between on-premises and cloud deployments. For some organisations, security and regulatory concerns may make it difficult or impossible to move certain applications into community or public cloud environments. With a hybrid solution, it may be possible for that firm to allow some applications to remain in the on-premises data centre while moving others into cloud environments.
Solutions like AWS Direct Connect and Azure ExpressRoute make it easy for the transfer of data between the two infrastructures. The organisation can gradually make progress towards more complete cloud adoption rather than waiting until every legacy component is ready to be shifted into the cloud. This means the cost and performance benefits of cloud services will be reaped far sooner than it would otherwise. Put simply, hybrid IT lowers the barrier of entry for enterprises that have yet to take major steps towards cloud integration.
According to Gartner, the single greatest driver of hybrid IT adoption is the desire for superior business agility. With a hybrid solution in place, an organisation will have far more options available in terms of its overall infrastructure strategy and deployment of specific IT resources.