All you Need to Know about Hybrid Cloud
July 13, 2022
5 minutes read
Cloud computing has gained huge popularity during the last decade, so more and more organizations wonder what cloud architecture to choose: single cloud, multi-cloud or hybrid cloud. It’s crucial to make the right choice, as building a cloud architecture is challenging and there is a chance that in the end, the company won’t get the expected result.
In this article, we focus on the hybrid cloud architecture, as it offers greater flexibility due to the agility of cloud platforms and the persistence of the on-premises architecture. Let’s identify the peculiarities of the hybrid cloud, the stages of its implementation, and scaling, as well as what benefits businesses can get from this type of cloud.
Explaining the hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud implies the usage of one or more public and private clouds. Moreover, this type of cloud architecture gives companies the opportunity to deploy their applications, services, and data on the cloud or in-house, as necessary. This way the hybrid cloud approach ensures trustworthy protection of sensitive information and grants the company owners control over resource usage and maintenance.
Furthermore, hybrid cloud architectures are designed to work with already-purchased on-premises hardware, offering facilitated scalability, and the agility of the cloud platform at the same time.
That’s why it’s no surprise why hybrid cloud is becoming the favorite choice of most enterprises. Actually, 82% of companies opt for a hybrid cloud solution. RedHat survey explains the popularity of this type of cloud by the fact that it gives companies the opportunity to choose an optimal solution for each task or workload. The organization might use on-premise infrastructure for storing sensitive data, for example, and public cloud services for application development or hosting.
Moreover, hybrid cloud deployment is an efficient way to update and modernize IT apps and services. For example, organizations can add new artificial intelligence programs without getting their budgets down the drain in order to rearchitect their former networks.
Adopting hybrid cloud
Commonly, the process of adopting a hybrid cloud architecture implies three main stages:
- Architecture choosing stage – the process of analyzing whether the hybrid cloud is the most advantageous cloud model for the company;
- Sorting out assets stage – determining which IT assets would work better for the different cloud models;
- Setting up and maintenance stage – implementation of cloud and developing operation strategy.
So, let’s start with the first stage of hybrid cloud adoption.
1. Choosing architecture
First of all, it’s crucial to understand whether your company made the right choice choosing the hybrid cloud at all.
To answer this question, consider 4 main types of cloud architectures:
The private cloud is a single-tenant, dedicated, highly automated environment which means that the organization using it does not share any resources with other users. This type of cloud is preferable to governmental and healthcare organizations as the private cloud is considered to be the most secure.
The public cloud is a cloud computing infrastructure that’s delivered remotely and shared across different organizations or a group of customers through a self-service interface. The public clouds are commonly used by the retail industry, as well as e-commerce, finance, and banking, due to their availability and agility.
The multi-cloud implies the use of two or more cloud platforms of the same type, the public or private ones. It’s the most popular type of cloud architecture. In fact, 92% of organizations deploy multi-cloud.
The hybrid cloud usually combines the public cloud with the private cloud and on-premise hardware and software. It is a good solution for those who used on-premises software and now want to be more flexible or want to run their own private cloud environments.
So, the decision-making process begins with realizing that not all organizations can and should run the hybrid cloud architecture. Here’s why: companies with fluctuating workloads due to unstable customer activity are better to take advantage of the dynamic scaling capabilities of pure cloud architecture to maximize the cost-efficiency. However, the large industrial businesses handling global operations may take the most out of this particular type of cloud, due to their need for onsite data centers with their remote facilities.
Also, the hybrid cloud architecture is a good solution for highly regulated environments, such as the pharmaceutical industry. For this type of company, operational efficiency is vital, so the ability to quickly develop and shift the workloads presented by hybrid cloud architecture is highly appreciated. This facility allows companies to meet market and innovation demand while reducing the operational costs of hardware and software usage.
2. Sorting out assets
When the company has made up its mind to run the hybrid cloud, it’s time to move further. As reflected in the heading of this section, the next stage implies proper research on what workloads, data, and assets can be moved to the cloud and what should be kept on-premise.
Many companies use the cloud for software demanding high computing power (for example, artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities). Some companies use the cloud for archiving massive data and storing frequently accessed and sensitive data on-premises.
In the case when a company operates mostly on its own hardware, it can view the cloud component in a hybrid architecture as the abstract component of the on-premises network. It means automatically steering users to the appropriate hybrid cloud subsystem according to their needs, their efficiency and profitability expectations, as well as the company’s aims.
3. Setting up and maintenance stage
Processes of the implementation, maintenance, operation, and upgrades should be automated and agile. The process of providing maintenance generally offers three options the companies can choose from:
- The cloud service provider handles the installation of the software and hardware of both the cloud system and the on-premises one. There are services like AWS Outposts and Azure Stack Hub available for performing this option.
- The cloud service vendor offers software for the cloud and on-premises architectures, and the customer company undertakes the hardware maintenance (like local servers).
- The company arranges the hybrid architecture itself, and it’s integrated into a major cloud vendor environment. In this case, open-source programs play the role of the backbone of the hybrid cloud system.
The companies that want to implement the hybrid cloud as fast as possible should choose the first option. However, they need to bear in mind that it implies a single vendor lock-in.
The organizations considering the second approach (when the cloud vendor deals with the software, and the company maintains the hardware) gain maximum hardware flexibility and get the chance to not depend on a single vendor. Additionally, there is an amazing possibility to upgrade dedicated hardware for numerous processing tasks, such as Artificial Intelligence workloads, independently from other systems.
With the third option companies gain full flexibility, however, they should remember that this option requires a team of technology professionals and investments, as well as development efforts to adapt open-source hybrid cloud systems. This approach is a perfect fit for tech organizations with strong IT systems.
How to implement a hybrid cloud
Here are the four key questions companies typically address when planning a hybrid cloud implementation.
What can help me to manage the hybrid cloud architecture?
Some organizations don’t even take the hybrid cloud model into account, as they are confused with the challenging day-to-day operations associated with the hybrid cloud deployment. Nevertheless, companies can reduce the risk of something going wrong with this new technology by introducing the Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE).
CCoE (the team of cloud specialists focusing on cloud maintenance) ensures the hybrid cloud is an efficient solution for the company from both the installation and deployment points of view. The CCoE should focus on defining cloud strategies, assessing the required implementation resources; and reporting on any changes, including the positive moments, downfalls, and main conclusions.
To experience the advantages of this type of cloud architecture, IT teams should automate as many processes as possible. It will assist with the testing and maintenance of the architecture to ensure steady performance. This practice is widely known as “infrastructure as code” — the usage of fully automated programs to build, configure, deploy, and manage cloud systems.
How do I improve cost savings?
The cost management approach in traditional IT differs greatly from the hybrid cloud. There are two main ways to save the budget using the hybrid system:
- Scale dynamic workloads up and down on public clouds and deploy the local cloud systems for non-fluctuate workloads.
- Deploy third-party cloud cost management tools that help to achieve granular visibility into cloud cost and utilization. Those tools often allow setting up alerts and notifications so that the team stays in the loop of all important changes. There is no longer the need to monitor the assets 24/7.
How can I ensure data security and compliance?
The thought of storing all the sensitive information in the cloud can be disturbing for the companies that recently migrated to the cloud. The majority of them may think that it’s difficult to maintain the data security protocols required by cloud vendors and compliance regulations.
Although the major cloud vendors proved their trustworthiness in handling the critical data security and compliance requirements, companies should still pay close attention to data protection in a hybrid cloud. Data security should become and remain the top priority in the development and maintenance cycle. Organizations should ensure reliable identity authentication and authorization policies, as well as implement data encryption rules across the system.
Fortunately, nowadays companies can manage all of these security processes with the help of software automation that makes it much easier for businesses to adopt multi-cloud and hybrid cloud security policies. For instance, you can try such security-related features in Binadox. Sign up and test them for free.
How do I choose providers for the hybrid cloud architecture?
To successfully move to the hybrid cloud architecture, the company should take the selection of cloud providers very seriously. The organization should consider the services provided by each vendor, the compliance and security factors, as well as the financial aspects. Nowadays it’s easy to change the vendor if it doesn’t meet business requirements. Switching to a new vendor is more than possible, thanks to containerization, standardization of the cloud platforms, and infrastructure-as-code technology.
There are also amazing cost-saving opportunities for the long-term commitments offered by the major cloud providers. However, opting to install the hybrid cloud vendor’s entire hardware and software solution will lock the company into that relationship.
Сloud architecture is the key to staying competitive and following the innovative approach. That’s why it’s crucial to make the right decision regarding the type of cloud system that will be used in the company, as it can ensure flexibility, data security, productivity, and efficiency, as well as cost savings.
Although the hybrid cloud is beneficial from various points of view, it can be difficult to implement and maintain. Сompanies should take the management and cost optimization aspects seriously to achieve their cloud goals and get strategic results.