Hybrid cloud architecture is a combination of private cloud architecture and public cloud architecture. If implemented properly, it can deliver the best of both private and public clouds. It is, however, more complex to implement than single cloud architecture. This means that it can also be more expensive than single cloud.
A hybrid cloud combines private-cloud architecture and public-cloud architecture. A multicloud combines multiple public clouds. Hybrid clouds can therefore operate as either private or public clouds. Multiclouds can only operate as public clouds, albeit supercharged ones.
Often, when businesses ask “what is hybrid cloud architecture?”, the answer they want is practical rather than technical. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to the main business uses of hybrid clouds.
This is probably the most obvious use of a hybrid cloud. Sensitive data will stay in the private cloud. Other data can be kept in the public cloud and/or travel between the two clouds.
Speeding up data analytics
This is essentially a corollary of the previous point. Modern companies increasingly rely on data analytics. The volume of data they need to analyze, however, often varies significantly according to their business cycle.
Using a hybrid cloud allows businesses to balance security with scalability. When business cycles peak, they can scale up their public cloud use. This will allow non-sensitive data to be analyzed quickly. Sensitive data will be kept safely in the private cloud.
Generally, the “pay-for-what-you-use” nature of the cloud is a major benefit to companies. There is, however, one part of IT where using in-house infrastructure can be more cost-efficient. This is archiving.
In the cloud, archiving will generally be done using the slowest form of storage the vendor offers. This will also (usually) be the lowest-cost storage. Even so, the ongoing costs of long-term cloud storage could still be more expensive than using traditional archiving methods.
If you do have to archive a lot of data, then using a hybrid cloud could potentially give you the best of both worlds. You could archive your data in your private cloud for cost savings and do your main processing in the public cloud. The connection between the two would make it easy to retrieve data if it ever became needed.
On a similar note, operating a hybrid cloud infrastructure can be an astute way of managing backups. In this scenario, you would generally use a public cloud as your production environment. The private cloud would hold your off-site backups.
This approach would allow you to leverage the cloud while still keeping a copy of your data in your direct control. It would therefore potentially give you more flexibility in your disaster-recovery option.
For example, your default option would probably be to restore to your regular cloud. If, however, that cloud became unavailable, you could upload to another cloud. If necessary, you could also retrieve data physically and transport it to another location.
Scaling up on-premises infrastructure is unlikely ever to be as easy as scaling up cloud infrastructure. On the other hand, it’s still easier than having to build IT infrastructure from scratch. By keeping a foot in both camps, you give yourself a higher level of maneuverability. This could be advantageous if circumstances change.
For example, if you did find yourself having issues with your cloud vendor, you could choose to upscale your in-house infrastructure to handle your processing yourself until the issue was resolved. Alternatively, if you found yourself unsure of how to handle a certain type of data, you could play safe and keep it in your private cloud until your question was answered.
If you have been in business for a while, you probably already have some level of in-house infrastructure (including colocation). You might want to decommission this at some point. You may not, however, be in any immediate rush to do so. In fact, at this point, it might not be possible for you to do so.
Using hybrid cloud architecture could be a great intermediate step for you. It would let you start benefiting from the cloud without needing to transition to it completely. You could migrate one step at a time up to the point where you felt comfortable.
This might result in you ending up with pure cloud architecture. Alternatively, it may result in you developing a different variation of a hybrid cloud.
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