Over the past few years, the cloud has become a staple in our everyday lives. Almost every time we take a picture, send an email, or access data, we interact with the cloud, and the same goes for businesses worldwide. Most companies utilize only one type of cloud, either public or private, for their data storage and sharing needs.
While this has gotten the job done so far, that may not be the case forever. In efforts to maximize their cloud benefits, many companies are looking to utilize different types of cloud models simultaneously, a concept known as the hybrid cloud. With the potential to optimize data transactions and reduce data security risks, the hybrid cloud is expected to take off in the upcoming year.
Public vs. Private Cloud
The hybrid cloud is a mixture of on-premises, public, and private clouds, essentially providing users with the best of all environments. But before diving into what that fully entails, it is essential to understand what goes into a private and public cloud environment.
A public cloud is a cloud environment managed by a third-party provider, often by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or similar providers. This cloud model offers on-demand cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to users to be shared with multiple organizations via the public Internet.
Essentially if you are using a public cloud, you are renting a portion of a provider’s distributed data center infrastructure. The primary benefits of using a public cloud include significant scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, users have less control over their data security and may have higher costs as they scale up.
A private cloud is defined by its dedication to a singular enterprise. Whether managed by yourself or a third-party service, on-premise or in a data center - if it is only used by your organization, it is a private cloud.
The most significant advantage of using a private cloud is the security, as all data and applications remain behind your firewall and can only be accessed by your organization. This is the primary reason companies processing sensitive data may use a private cloud. Additional benefits include greater control, customization, and flexibility over your cloud environment. That being said, these benefits result in higher costs, greater responsibility, and less scalability.
As mentioned, the hybrid cloud consists of mixed computing, storage, and services environments, made up of a combination of on-premises, public, and private clouds. The hybrid cloud enables the sharing of data and applications between types of cloud models, moving workloads between cloud models as needs change. As a result, organizations can choose the optimal cloud computing environment for each individual workload and task.
Utilizing a mixture of multiple cloud environments provides users with capabilities from either environment. A hybrid cloud is created by first transforming portions of a company's on-premises data center into a private cloud infrastructure. Following this, the private cloud is then connected to a public cloud environment hosted off-premises by a cloud provider. Once completed, users are equipped with a highly functioning and capable hybrid cloud environment.
It is predicted that the hybrid cloud will dramatically accelerate in popularity in 2022, which comes as no surprise considering the tremendous benefits it provides.
- Flexible data storage and use. Companies receive the capabilities of on-premises, public, and private cloud environments, with the ability to transfer data between cloud models. As a result, tasks can be performed in the environment best suited for their individual needs.
- Enhanced data security. The hybrid cloud is ideal for industries working with highly sensitive data, such as financial, government, healthcare. Companies will get the security of an on-premise, private database with the flexibility and scalability of a public cloud.
- Organizations can use the public cloud’s flexibility for non-sensitive data and tasks while having the security of the private cloud for highly sensitive data.
- Automation capabilities. As the hybrid cloud can be automated, it is always up-to-date, with automated data redundancy, high availability, disaster recovery, and automatic cybersecurity features.
- Scalability. Easily scale up or down to handle excess capacity without drastically increasing costs.
- Time and cost-effective. With the hybrid cloud model, companies can avoid the time and cost of purchasing, installing, and maintaining new servers that may not be used often.
As a result of these benefits, companies will achieve technical and business objectives faster and cost-efficiently than with a public or private cloud on its own.
Still, there are some drawbacks to using the hybrid cloud that should be addressed. Perhaps the most significant challenge of the hybrid cloud is the implementation process. The hybrid cloud is complex, and as it is new, not many professionals are experienced in the implementation and maintenance of it. As if traditional cloud environments were not complex enough, the hybrid cloud takes it to another level. Fortunately, this challenge can be overcome by partnering with the right experts.
Additionally, as with any new technology, you may have to invest in additional hardware, which can be a high expense. That being said, the benefits of the hybrid cloud significantly outweigh the hassle and costs of adopting the technology itself.
Adopting the Hybrid Cloud
Leaders in the IT industry are predicting dramatic growth of the hybrid model in 2022 and urge companies to jump on the bandwagon early. As modern companies already crave the flexibility offered by a singular cloud model, there is no question that the hybrid model, offering capabilities of on-premises, public, and private cloud models, will meet an organization's every need.
For companies currently experiencing accelerated growth, efficiency, and speed from the use of one cloud model, the only place to go is up. In fact, a recent study has shown that companies using a hybrid cloud extract 2.5 times more value than those using a single-cloud model.
Whether your business is in the IT industry or another, the hybrid cloud can offer enhanced security, speed, scalability, flexibility, and more. In today’s fast-moving business environment, these capabilities are essential to not only stay competitive but ensure the longevity of your business in the future.