A very basic answer to the question “What is hybrid cloud architecture?” is that it is a type of cloud architecture that combines elements of the public cloud with elements of the private cloud. As such it delivers the advantages and challenges of both. It also delivers its unique advantages and challenges.
At a deeper level the only short answer to the question “What is hybrid cloud architecture?”, is “it depends”. The basic principle of hybrid cloud architecture can be implemented in many different ways. Each of these variations has its own unique characteristics. At present, the three most popular types of hybrid clouds are burst, multi-cloud and hybrid IT.
In the cloud bursting model, an application primarily runs on private cloud resources but has the option to “burst” into a public cloud. This model allows businesses to handle unexpected spikes in traffic without having to invest in additional infrastructure.
In the multi-cloud model, an organization uses multiple public and private clouds. Essentially, they choose the best cloud for each specific application or workload type. This model provides businesses with greater flexibility. It also helps them to avoid vendor lock-in, as they are not tied to a single cloud provider.
In the hybrid IT model, businesses use a combination of on-premises infrastructure, private clouds (on- and/or off-site), and public cloud resources. This model allows businesses to leverage existing infrastructure investments while also taking advantage of the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud.
As touched on in the previous section, the specific advantages of hybrid cloud architecture depend partly on the implementation. With that said, some advantages are common to all forms of hybrid cloud architecture. Here are the five main ones.
Flexibility: Hybrid cloud architecture allows businesses to choose the right mix of public and private cloud resources for their workloads. This means they can use public cloud resources for non-sensitive workloads while keeping sensitive data and applications in a private cloud.
Scalability: Hybrid cloud architecture allows businesses to scale their resources up or down as needed. They can use public cloud resources to handle spikes in traffic or demand while keeping their private cloud resources for steady-state workloads.
Cost-effectiveness: Hybrid cloud architecture can be cost-effective for businesses as they can choose the most cost-efficient cloud resources for their workloads. For example, they can use public cloud resources for non-sensitive workloads, which can be cheaper than maintaining their own infrastructure.
Increased performance: Hybrid cloud architecture can provide businesses with better performance by allowing them to use the right cloud resources for their workloads. They can use public cloud resources for compute-intensive workloads while keeping their private cloud for sensitive data.
Disaster recovery: Hybrid cloud architecture can improve a business’s disaster recovery capabilities by allowing them to back up data to multiple locations, including both public and private clouds. This means that if one location is affected by a disaster, they can quickly recover their data from another location.
Hybrid cloud architecture offers many use cases for businesses in different industries. Here are three real-world potential use cases for hybrid cloud architecture.
E-commerce businesses can use public cloud resources for peak periods and private cloud resources for steady-state workloads.
Healthcare organizations and financial services organizations can use private cloud resources to store and manage sensitive data while using public cloud resources for non-sensitive workloads.
Media and entertainment businesses can use public cloud resources to store and manage media assets while using private cloud resources for financial information.
While hybrid cloud architecture offers many advantages, there are also some challenges that businesses must consider before adopting this cloud computing model. The five key challenges of implementing hybrid cloud architecture are as follows.
Security: Managing data across multiple clouds can be challenging and can increase the risk of security breaches. Businesses must ensure that their data is properly secured and comply with relevant regulations across all the clouds they use.
Data management: Managing data across different environments can be complex, and businesses must ensure that their data is properly integrated and consistent across all the clouds they use. This can require additional tools and resources to manage effectively.
Integration: Integrating different cloud environments can be complex, especially when dealing with legacy systems or complex architectures. Businesses must ensure that their infrastructure is properly integrated and can communicate seamlessly across different environments.
Complexity: Hybrid cloud architecture can be complex to manage, as it involves multiple cloud environments and technologies. Businesses must ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources to manage their hybrid cloud architecture effectively.
Cost: While hybrid cloud architecture can be cost-effective for businesses, it can also lead to increased costs if not managed effectively. Businesses must carefully consider the costs of managing data across multiple clouds and ensure that they are using the most cost-effective cloud resources for their workloads.
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