Using a hybrid cloud is more complex than using either on-premises infrastructure (or colocation) or a public cloud. In fact, it is arguably more complex than using a multicloud solution. Even so, many companies are implementing hybrid cloud architecture to leverage its benefits. With that in mind, here is what you need to know about hybrid cloud benefits.
Before looking at hybrid cloud benefits, it is worth taking a few moments to look at what a hybrid cloud is and how it compares to other options.
A hybrid cloud combines private cloud and public cloud architecture. It, therefore, needs to have at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud. In reality, it’s highly unusual for hybrid clouds to have more than one private cloud. It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for them to have more than one public cloud.
Hybrid clouds are sometimes confused with multiclouds. The key difference between them is that hybrid clouds have a private cloud. Multiclouds use multiple public clouds. They don’t use private clouds.
Hybrid clouds can deliver many benefits compared to either traditional on-premises infrastructure (or colocation) or full public-cloud infrastructure. They do, however, also present some challenges. Here are the main ones.
If you implement a private cloud, you need to buy the equipment for it. This creates a capital expense that can be avoided with public cloud/multicloud architecture. For completeness, if you’re implementing your own private data center, then there will be additional upfront costs.
Hybrid clouds are much more scalable than fully private clouds but less scalable than full public clouds (including multiclouds).
You can outsource all the hands-on running of your hybrid cloud. In fact, many businesses do exactly that. Even so, you will still have higher management requirements than you would if you were running simpler architecture.
Despite these drawbacks, many companies choose hybrid cloud architecture. They consider the hybrid cloud benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Here are the key hybrid cloud benefits.
Many public cloud vendors can now meet the data security requirements for the most stringent data security programs in the world (e.g. GDPR). The issue some businesses have is that nobody knows what is going to happen in the future.
If programs are updated, businesses that rely on public clouds will have to rely on their vendors to update their systems promptly. Realistically, vendors will probably be quick to update their systems if the programs are mainstream (e.g. HIPAA).
By contrast, they may not be so quick to update them for more niche programs. In fact, they may not consider it economically viable to support these programs at all. If that happened, then the affected clients would need to implement a private cloud anyway.
Some businesses, therefore, choose to have private clouds ready so they can quickly adapt to any changes in this area.
On a similar note, vendors that only use public clouds only have access to the customization options supported by their vendors. In many cases, these options will be more than adequate. If, however, businesses want more in-depth customization options, then a private cloud is the way to go.
At the same time, relatively few businesses want to run a private cloud for all their computing needs. There are too many advantages to using the public cloud. The obvious solution, therefore, is to run a hybrid cloud.
As previously mentioned, setting up a private cloud involves some level of capital expenditure. This can be avoided by sticking with the public cloud. At the same time, however, it’s much less than the cost of setting up a full private cloud infrastructure.
Once the hybrid cloud is up and running, costs are comparable to running either a private cloud or a public cloud. In fact, there may even be some cost savings to be made as compared to using a completely private or a completely public approach.
For example, businesses can leverage their private cloud infrastructure for tasks such as archiving. This will allow them to avoid the ongoing costs of storing data in the public cloud even though they are probably not going to access it.
At the same time, they can leverage the scalability of the public cloud. This is vastly more economical than having to run in-house infrastructure scaled to meet peak demand and, hence, left idle most of the time.
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