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When it comes to cloud computing, organizations are shifting away from historic public cloud models towards a hybrid model. According to the 2019 State of the Cloud Report by RightScale® (now Flexera), “Enterprises with a hybrid strategy (combining public and private clouds) [grew] to 58 percent in 2019 from 51 percent in 2018, while the number of organizations with a strategy of multiple public clouds or multiple private clouds declines slightly.” This year, 45 percent of respondents indicated said hybrid cloud or a balanced approach to public and private cloud is their focus. Survey respondents on average are using a combination of 4.9 public and private clouds. Top cloud concerns for executives? Cost optimization, cloud governance and managing software licenses in the public cloud. How does hybrid cloud adoption fit into this picture?
Let’s first review what exactly a hybrid cloud is. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hybrid cloud is “two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).” In other words, if you want to run part of your application on a public cloud and have a different part in a private cloud, combine the two to get a nice, hybrid cloud that balances both environments but remains connected, based on the unique needs of your organization.
Hybrid cloud is about maximizing workloads in the best environment and managing costs. It’s not necessarily all about public or private cloud, but how to orchestrate both. The AWS outage in early 2017 demonstrated how helpless many companies became by having all their eggs in one cloud(y) basket. In addition, despite the public cloud’s touting of cheap services, costs can quickly get out of control, as Snapchat admitted in February of 2017.
A hybrid cloud environment doesn’t solve the problems of cost management and uptime visibility by itself. Multiple providers means multiple bills and more costs to manage. The best solution is a fully managed hybrid cloud, where the provider acts as a cloud aggregator and manages all your cloud environments for you within a single service. The benefits shouldn’t be ignored: The ability for an organization to see all of its cloud services in one window eliminates confusion between the different providers and gives the CIO more control over their IT spend as well as clear visibility into current costs and uptime.
Hybrid cloud is slowly but surely becoming the preferred model for IT organizations and service providers. That means a mix of public and fully managed clouds that quickly enable scalability and growth while providing consistent uptime and cost management. For SMBs, the complexities that arise from managing multiple environments can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s most likely more cost effective for them to move their infrastructure to a service provider who can integrate the different environments into a single window. Once that’s done, the business can regain control over its infrastructure without worrying about managing it or maintaining it.
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