Let’s talk about the old world (yes, you read that right!), when a company purchased a new software and then it had to buy new servers and storage boxes to be able to run that software, incurring huge costs with the hefty annual maintenance fees it used to pay to the software provider.
Fast forward to the new world - the cloud world, in which the customers need not build or rent data centers and hire many IT folks to maintain these. The customers can now purchase programs from various providers, and those software makers need to find out how to sync their programs for the customer. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "noi-nternet" policy is today.
Cloud is big business. Since the advent of cloud-based web applications like Dropbox and Quickbooks, large-scale enterprises have been focusing on cloud computing by virtue of providing flexible and powerful computing and storage on demand capabilities. As per Gartner, by 2019, more than 30% of the 100 largest vendors' new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only. However, the cloud environment is not completely devoid of pitfalls, with security and reliability emerging as important concerns.
Before we move on to talk about the hybrid cloud management, it is important to understand the two other primary deployments of clouds - public and private cloud. The public cloud (a set of storage, hardware, services, apps, and interfaces owned and operated by a third party, for use by other businesses or individuals) delivers the scale and efficiency that your business environment needs. The public cloud is viable as these handle repetitive workloads.
On the other hand, the private cloud (a set of hardware, storage, services, apps, and interfaces owned and operated by an organization for the use of its employees, partners, and customers) offers security, speed, and customization.
As cloud computing has evolved over the years, a new model is gaining a foothold: the Hybrid Cloud. It seems like a logical middle ground, and is the combination of a public cloud provider with a private cloud platform, leveraging technology that allows for the portability of data and applications. Though both private and public clouds stay bound together within a hybrid cloud, they exist as unique entities, allowing it to extend the advantages of multiple deployment models, at the same time. Many businesses today are seriously contemplating the use of hybrid cloud for minimizing errors and maximizing efficiency of the infrastructure. It is particularly valuable for dynamic workloads.
Why do IT heads and CIOs prefer hybrid cloud?NetApp’s new study reveals that CIOs now prefer hybrid cloud models with security as the primary reason for adoption.
- Improved security
- Better insights and analytics
- Reduced time to market
- Speed of innovation
- Greater speed, agility and scalability as compared to public and private clouds
- Better cost optimization
- Accelerated digital transformation
- Production data compliance
In fact, 50% CIOs in France, Germany and the UK are going hybrid first. [Source: Equinix]
When is hybrid cloud a preferred option?
A large number of businesses leverage hybrid cloud - a mix of public and private clouds - to store their data for varied reasons.
> Public Cloud:
Businesses use the public cloud for their scalability, flexibility and elasticity. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce.com, Microsoft, and Google dominate the public cloud market. However, public clouds pose risks such as security, compliance, performance, high costs and outages.
> Private Cloud:
Companies that already own costly data centers and want to use their current infrastructure use private cloud solution that sits atop the company’s hosted data center and secures all their data behind a firewall. Private clouds offer an added layer of security. However, private cloud entails a lot of management, maintenance, and needs the data centers to be updated regularly, that inflates the expenses with time. According to Rightscale’s 2017 State of the Cloud, private cloud experienced a significant downslide in 2016.
> Hybrid Cloud:
Hybrid cloud is the preferred model for enterprises moving forward in 2017. It allows for a mix- and-match approach, and is designed to pick volatile and dynamic workloads with the changing scenario of businesses. It offers the advantages of both types of cloud – private cloud platform and public cloud provider - in a single entity, while offering more control to the IT decision makers.
So if you want to save money, be agile and fluid, and maintain a balance of security and convenience, while addressing the ever-changing business and regulatory requirements, hybrid cloud is the best solution for your business. It is flexible, scalable and becoming widely popular among enterprises and savvy CIOs, and is touted as the ultimate technology for enterprises.
Hybrid cloud makes the enterprises future ready by arming them with the right approach to mitigate the challenges of tomorrow. Below are a few use cases:
> Healthcare industry: Healthcare providers are leveraging hybrid cloud technology to rapidly expand their computing capabilities, while safely maintaining their data and applications in house and optimizing its computing budget. This model also has a strong in-built disaster recovery mechanism that helps these healthcare companies’ administrative environment (workflow stats and patient categorization tools) to be instantly patched, in case any vulnerability is exposed.
> Retail: Hybrid cloud creates a synchronized environment of on-premises and cloud infrastructure clubbed with content sharing policies. Popular brands like Red Bull and Coach plan to build such an environment for their workforce to access, edit and share files. UK based retailer - Shop Direct - deployed a hybrid cloud model for their financial services platform to make available to customers a much larger range of financial services options and a more personalized experience.
> Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC): A hybrid environment offers construction workforce the access to synchronized storage and most updated blueprints in a few seconds, which in turn, boosts the productivity manifold. Many AEC companies such as Power Design, Tutor Perini and Bowmer & Kirkland have benefitted from this cloud solution.
> Financial Services: Dealing with sensitive data, financial and banking institutions need the highest standards for digital storage security and compliances. Hybrid technology replaced the traditional, cumbersome and highly unreliable VPN systems there, and offered safe remote file access with necessary user authentication and folder permissions to authorized users only. Leading financial institutions likeNASDAQ, Lincoln Financial Group have deployed the hybrid model to provide secure access to files anytime, anywhere. Investment groups like the Semperian saved $55,000 on their IT budget using hybrid cloud solution.
How AI, Automation, Analytics and IoT devices have driven the demand for adoption of Hybrid Cloud?
The need for real-time decision making and the rise of data from IoT and AI applications are transforming all aspects of the enterprise cloud. Many forward-looking businesses will soon have multi-cloud environments managed by autonomic, economic-based intelligence, leading to hybrid cloud computing ecosystem within the organization.
In the recent years, there has been a remarkable spurt of investment in AI capabilities in cloud platforms. In 2015, Amazon added an AI service that helps you integrate analytical and predictive capabilities to your applications. There are other many examples of AI services in a hybrid cloud environment like Amazon’s Deep Scalable Sparse Tensor Network Engine (DSSTNE) and Google’s Tenssor Flow.
Let’s take the example of transportation companies like FedEx, YRC Worldwide, etc., that are always hunting for cheaper and more efficient ways to transport packages to delivery centers. And, finally from there to the customers. To achieve this, the vehicles need to reach their destinations as fast as possible. A real-time traffic update can help the company attain this goal. AI, IoT and analytics provide companies the ability to assess and navigate the quickest routes to make the delivery seamless. IoT and analytics can also help companies know the maximum number of delivery packages that can be loaded in the van.