A hybrid cloud is a cloud that combines public cloud infrastructure with private infrastructure. This can be a private cloud or on-premises infrastructure (or both). The nature of private clouds means that they are more complex to implement than either public or private clouds. For larger businesses, however, this complexity can often be justified by the benefits they offer. Here is an overview of the five key benefits of hybrid cloud.
The five key benefits of hybrid cloud are scalability, flexibility, security, high availability, and cost-effectiveness. Here is a quick guide to what each of these means in practical terms.
Most, if not all, businesses have peaks and dips in demand and, hence, their need for IT resources. With full public cloud infrastructure, resources can be scaled up and down with a few mouse clicks.
For businesses with large volumes, however, there can be many reasons for preferring to avoid relying purely on the public cloud. One of them is that processing through in-house infrastructure tends to work out more cost-effective over the long term.
On the other hand, setting up and maintaining in-house infrastructure requires both capital investment and ongoing costs. Even larger businesses usually have to be careful about these.
For many of these businesses, therefore, the best solution is to use private infrastructure for their core process and expand into the public cloud when necessary.
Having access to a range of IT infrastructure options gives businesses more flexibility in how they manage their operations. For example, it’s standard practice to use private infrastructure for applications that require a high level of security and/or customizability. It’s now becoming increasingly common to use private infrastructure for applications that need to run with minimal latency.
It’s also standard for businesses to use the public cloud for applications that generate varying levels of demand and/or require niche resources. The public cloud is particularly useful for developing and testing. It allows developers and testers just to spin up whatever resources they need and see what results they get.
If the result is positive, the business may choose to invest in private infrastructure to support it. Alternatively, it may choose to keep it in the public cloud because it isn’t cost-effective to create private infrastructure for it. If the result is negative, the resources can be spun down again and the business can just move on.
The public cloud can also be used to improve the speed of delivery across large geographical areas. Content delivery networks (CDNs) allow businesses to host content near to its user base. This improves the transmission time.
Probably the most obvious way using a hybrid cloud benefits security is that it allows businesses greater flexibility in where they host their data. Typically, the most sensitive data will be hosted in the private infrastructure. This is because the business that owns the private infrastructure has direct control over it in a way that is impossible in the public cloud.
With that said, there may be instances where it actually makes sense for businesses to host sensitive data in the public cloud. This would typically be when a business needs to support a specific compliance program on a small portion of its data.
For example, if a US-based company had personal data from EU residents, they would need to comply with GDPR. If the company only had a small amount of data, the most pragmatic approach to meeting this requirement would probably be to use an EU-hosted public cloud. The cloud provider would then take care of ensuring GDPR requirements were met.
It’s also worth noting that having access to the public cloud has clear benefits from the point of view of disaster recovery and business continuity. In particular, it provides a high level of protection against DDoS attacks. For example, CDNs make it very difficult for attackers to take down, or even seriously cripple, an entire delivery network.
Businesses can use hybrid cloud solutions to eliminate single points of failure by replicating their critical data across multiple environments. This replication guarantees that if one environment fails, there are other backups available to take over and ensure the continuity of operations.
Moreover, hybrid cloud solutions can offer businesses advanced features such as load balancing and failover, which can automatically route traffic to available resources in case of a failure or outage. This way, customers and employees can continue to access critical applications and data while unexpected events are being resolved.
Another benefit of hybrid cloud solutions is the ability to scale resources horizontally across multiple data centers and geographies. This approach allows businesses to ensure that their applications and data are always available, even during high-volume periods or peak demand.
This essentially stems from all the previous points. In brief, using a hybrid cloud enables businesses to utilize resources most effectively. This means that hybrid clouds tend to work out to be very cost-effective.
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