Amongst all the jargon, what constitutes a truly ‘hybrid cloud’?
‘Hybrid cloud’ isn’t a particularly new concept. The movement of IT workloads from an on-premise data centre to an external one is at the very heart of the virtualization revolution. The current discourse about ‘hybrid cloud’ is more focussed on the ability to move information more dynamically, through automation and advanced management techniques.
This next stage of hybrid cloud is a lot to do with understanding your data traffic, as not all business information is suitable for public cloud. Having this insight and knowledge is what businesses need to make the correct decisions in terms of data management.
What does hybrid cloud enable enterprises to do?
Flexibility is the ultimate benefit of enterprise hybrid cloud computing. It allows businesses to revaluate what they need in their own data centre, enabling them to free up resources and reduce costs. For example, why host your website on internal servers when it can be moved to a public cloud environment more capable of handling spikes in usage?
This promise of greater flexibility, as well as the wide availability of software as a service, has prompted a period of data centre consolidation for businesses. The much publicized success of companies such as Netflix, built entirely in the public cloud, has also given businesses across all sectors the confidence to utilize hybrid cloud models.
Are you seeing any particular sectors/industries choosing hybrid cloud?
Retailers are increasingly opting for hybrid cloud as it delivers the additional capacity to deal with seasonal hikes in demand, and avoid many of the issues we’ve seen in the news recently - such as the websites of established brands crashing under the weight of users during key sale periods.
Media companies are also benefitting. For example, should a video hosted internally suddenly start to attract a sharp increase in viewers, it can be moved to the cloud to accommodate the extra demand. For media companies hoping content goes viral, something they can’t always predict, this flexibility is key.
More broadly, SMEs are embracing cloud-based apps as it reduces internal IT costs.
What are the implications of hybrid cloud – do you cede a level of security?
The technology and know-how needed to run a secure hybrid programme are all readily available (for public and private cloud), yet a perception still exists that placing your data in the cloud is unsafe.
Security shouldn’t be an issue if hybrid cloud processes are thought through and managed correctly. Businesses are ultimately responsible for decisions regarding the location and storage of their data. A clear policy is essential on where sensitive data is hosted, and which information could be allowed to move to public cloud environments.
What does the future of hybrid cloud hold?
The next steps for hybrid cloud will be about centralizing management. Regardless of whether you are going to be running apps internally or in the cloud, you still need faultless application delivery. Having a central point of management allows decisions regarding data access throughout the business to be made faster and more efficiently. It also allows security policies, such as DDoS mitigation, to span the breadth of the enterprise.
To implement a truly centralised system, businesses need to prioritise flexibility so that end-users and customers have a quality experience, no matter where the application is hosted.