07-21-20 | Blog Post

Hybrid Cloud: What it is, why it matters

Blog Posts

History in the network space is very unique and replete with massive deployments of new technologies delivering advancements often measured by orders of magnitude. “Cloud” is a perfect example. Research shows “Cloud” being born as a technology term (Cloud Computing) around 1996. This new name became the starting point for $2B per year in infrastructure sales for Compaq and evolved to a  general product category predicted to generate revenues of $354B in 2022. Years passed and new categories of cloud services were developed. As these new services were named and introduced, the business market often felt as much hype as they did substance. Hybrid cloud has similar origins, moving from hype to mainstream support. The standardization of definitions and the use of cloud by 94% of enterprises has made hybrid cloud an essential service category. Today, hybrid cloud is a vehicle by which a business improves the economics of its IT, has a significant role in delivering business agility, safeguards intellectual property, and assures compliance.

Defining hybrid cloud

While the various definitions of hybrid cloud can differ a bit in format, the basics remain the same: Hybrid cloud is a mixture of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud environment with orchestration utilized to connect the platforms as seamlessly as possible. That orchestrated interconnectivity is the mainstay of hybrid cloud, it’s how workloads are shared and shifted, management is consolidated, and processes coordinated. Properly designed, hybrid cloud becomes a significant contributor to digital transformation which measurably enhances the agility, economics, and competitive capabilities of any business.

Why does hybrid cloud matter?

Data performs best and provides the greatest value when it is put in an environment that optimizes its usage, delivery, and safe keeping. Usage and delivery are governed by various requirements including storage, connectivity, and security. Multiple applications and processes can use the same data but may require different access, parsing, and administration. It now becomes much easier to see the value of orchestration in hybrid cloud management. Orchestration supports the business’s security choices and can act as a coordination agent for Incident Response (IR) Vulnerability Management and Continuous Compliance. All types of business data don’t fit into one security bucket, so it must be stored and accessed appropriately. Intellectual property, customer data, and other confidential data should be housed in non-shared isolation; private cloud, or even premises data center with encrypted back-ups and VPN secure access. Other, less confidential or non-proprietary data, can be located in a public or private cloud with commensurate security and access requirements. Orchestration therefore provides essential security coordination and enforcement across a Hybrid Cloud environment. SaaS and its root data also require similar consideration in the Hybrid Cloud environment.

Hybrid cloud economics define its value

At the end of the day, properly designed and administered Hybrid Cloud environments drive essential economic and security benefits for the business. In a surface-level comparison, the cost of in-house infrastructure purchases (Capex) and IT staff required to support data center build and operation vs the costs of public cloud and/or managed private cloud (Opex) is a no brainer, private data center is much more expensive. On the other side of the coin, cloud sprawl can quickly and surreptitiously usurp any cloud data center vs cloud savings. This is why it’s essential, in the new IT environment, to have a master plan and governance. With the proper master plan and on-going governance, the spend on private DC, private cloud, and public cloud is optimized within budgetary and operational requirements. Data access and security follow required protocols and compliance regulations and the business achieves its efficiency, agility and economic goals. At this point a broad smile should emerge from IT management and executive offices alike. The creation of the master plan and governance requirements have the added value of future-proofing business IT. Hybrid cloud provides the dynamic capacities to support rapid business growth, or scale down if necessary, as well as the ability to scale the business in or out of the cloud as data requirements or economics dictate.

Hybrid cloud, like any other environment, is only as secure and compliant as you and your IT partners make it. While public cloud providers offer compliant out of the box, there’s a major difference between their compliant infrastructure and your application that runs on that infrastructure. It’s essential to thoroughly vet all cloud providers and work with them to put the proper controls in place both on the infrastructure and application levels. This will help to prevent a breach and keep your data secure, protected and compliant. Consider the challenges carefully to help your organization fully realize the potential a hybrid solution offers.

Whether you are researching or executing a hybrid cloud strategy, Otava can help. Visit our cloud page to learn more, and reach out to us to talk through which cloud environment is best for your business.

Related Articles

3 Key Benefits of Hybrid Cloud: According to the 2019 State of the Cloud report, 94 percent of organizations surveyed are using cloud, and 28 percent prioritize hybrid cloud.

Is Hybrid Cloud Right for Your Business? Hybrid cloud represents an ideal approach to capitalize on the scalability of public and private cloud, combined with the control of on-premises hardware, for an increasing number of organizations exploring the future of their network architecture.

Achieving Compliance in a Hybrid Cloud: According to the 2019 Flexera State of the Cloud report, the number of enterprises with a hybrid cloud strategy (one that combines both public and private clouds) grew to 58 percent for 2019, up from 51 percent in 2018. While the growing trend is exciting, it can create some anxiety around how to maintain compliance across the environment.

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