As the sheer amount and variety of cloud offerings utilized by businesses across industries — all with their unique integration specifications — continue to expand, what comprises a hybrid cloud strategy, in turn, evolves. With consistent pressure to continually innovate, enterprises are left with minimal time to devote to devising the most productive, effective, and economic strategies for managing cloud services used. A hybrid cloud strategy, which at its core is “about moving workloads seamlessly between public and private cloud platforms and creating a consistent architecture across both environments” serves to make overseeing and running cloud services more straightforward and user-friendly.
Using an amalgamation of private and public cloud services, hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that liaises between platforms, enabling applications and data to be shared. In doing so, the hybrid cloud offers enterprises enhanced flexibility to pick and choose the most effective cloud offering for each particular workload and application. While some providers have made promises to supply hybrid cloud offerings in the future, others are already delivering such services. Instead of using either the private or public cloud on its own, adopting a hybrid cloud strategy can empower companies to meet their technical and business goals successfully and more cost-effectively.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
The most predominant forms of hybrid cloud platforms are hybrid monocloud and hybrid multi-cloud. A hybrid cloud with one provider, which is a hybrid monocloud platform serves as an add-on of a single cloud provider’s software and hardware stack to an enterprise’s on-premises infrastructure, empowering identical stacks to run in each location. United together, these two environments combine to comprise one hybrid environment, operated via public cloud tools. On the other hand, a hybrid multi-cloud platform is an open standards-based stack. As a result, companies can establish a hybrid multi-cloud with virtually any public cloud platform. Plus, “as with hybrid monocloud, the environments are tethered together to form a single hybrid environment, but management can be done on- or off-premises and across multiple providers, using a common set of management tools chosen by the customer.” With a hybrid multi-cloud approach, enterprises have the freedom to seamlessly transfer workloads between vendors and environments to meet their needs, and to switch vendors or cloud services to best-suit changing demands.
Advantages of Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud approach enables elevated flexibility and a more effective division of labor. Beyond this, the hybrid cloud can provide a host of notable advantages to enterprises, regardless of industry, including:
- Security and Compliance – enabling the deployment of highly regulated or delicate workloads within a private cloud environment, while simultaneously deploying workloads with decreased sensitivity to a public cloud environment.
- Durability and Expandability – expanding rapidly, automatically, and at a low cost through leveraging public cloud infrastructure to meet surges in workload traffic, and scaling down when workload traffic returns to normal without jeopardizing the efficiency with which workloads operating on private cloud infrastructure will run.
- Cost and Resource Optimization – deploying workloads in the best-fit ways for a given organization — like in response to changing needs or new opportunities, optimizing the use of both on-premise investments and comprehensive infrastructure budget.
Crucial Considerations for a Hybrid Cloud Strategy
There are numerous considerations essential to developing the most productive and successful hybrid cloud strategy. The following are some of the most crucial of those considerations.
Cloud Open Standards-Based Architecture
Documented standards open for public use by any individual or organization; open standards generally enable consistency and repeatability within a hybrid cloud strategy. More often than not, open standards are devised via a collaborative effort by individuals seeking to achieve identical goals. When it comes to hybrid cloud, open standards serve to assist interoperability, incorporation, and administration — as with Kubernetes, OpenStack, etc.
Secure Hybrid Cloud Integration
Secure integration in the cloud, on-premises, and off-premises, of all data and applications, is a vital element of a robust hybrid cloud approach. Critical to confirming that each piece of the hybrid ecosystem operates fast and dependably, secure hybrid cloud integration can vary greatly. Furthermore, secure hybrid cloud integration requires businesses to support a large volume of integration requests, ranging from connecting applications from several Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers to transferring components of applications to specific microservices.
Moreover, modern integration has brought along an abundance of integration demands. Standard, long-established integration methods remain essential, but modern approaches have become integral elements of the current integration ecosystems. Like API lifestyle management or event-triggered framework, today’s integration styles necessitate speed, plasticity, reliability, security, and expandability. And as of late, enterprises are increasingly rethinking their integration approaches to hasten both speed and productivity while simultaneously minimizing financial burdens.
Managing Hybrid Cloud Environments
An additional essential element of a stable hybrid cloud strategy is management. Comprised of components such as furnishing, scaling, and overseeing across cloud environments, the management of hybrid cloud environments can be seamless. Within a hybrid monocloud environment, management is exceptionally user-friendly due to the use of one cloud vendor. Thus, in a hybrid monocloud environment, enterprises can leverage identical management tools across the cloud infrastructure. However, by the same token, continuously managing a hybrid multi-cloud environment can be quite challenging due to its numerous cloud vendors.
Automation of DevOps
Aimed at automating development and delivery functions, as well as standardizing environments amongst application lifecycles, DevOps can work to guarantee consistency and automation in approach within hybrid environments — particularly hybrid multi-cloud environments. With a hybrid cloud, users gain the modality and resilience to utilize environments most well suited to specific workload demands.
Storage and Movement of Data
With cloud storage, organizations become empowered to save data and files off-site, accessible by the public Internet or a designated secure network connection. As a result, the duty of protecting and overseeing data moved and stored off-site belongs to the chosen third-party cloud provider. Hosting, securing, handling, and maintaining servers and infrastructure, the third-party cloud provider guarantees users consistent access to their data.
Integrating components of public and private clouds and supplying organizations with the freedom to decide which data in which cloud environment, the hybrid cloud storage model offers enterprises with a variety of storage options to best suit their needs. Highly sensitive data like that, subject to regulatory compliance guidelines, can remain secure when stored within a private cloud. In contrast, emails free of valuable company data will find a public cloud sufficient. Increasingly, organizations are leveraging hybrid clouds to expand and enhance lackluster internal storage networks.
Although security vulnerabilities are not foreign to the cloud, a hybrid cloud approach only enhances the complexities that come along with handling security protocols, necessitating management across numerous platforms. As a result, enterprises are too often left short of the necessary visibility and clarity. It is common for companies to assume that cloud providers are solely responsible for the security of data stored within their infrastructure. And so, for the most robust and secure hybrid cloud strategy, an organization must maintain a shared responsibility approach, adequately manage access, ensure transparency, utilize tools and processes created for cloud-use, and straightforwardly define data ownership.