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10 minute readVictor’s Secrets of the Hybrid Cloud

Complexity Commands Control

Private clouds keep information within your organization while public clouds share data with third parties. Hybrid allows you to do both, gaining flexibility while retaining control. Security becomes a consideration but can be overcome. Gartner predicts that most businesses will run off hybrid clouds moving into the future. The difficulty of maintaining hybrid cloud environments could, however, offset the benefits of trying to get both the benefits of public and private cloud infrastructures.

You can gain an advantage by having a smart, proactive strategy to use third-party maintenance in your hybrid structure.

Risks Lead to Rewards

The adoption of cloud computing shows no sign of slowing down. While many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprises continue utilizing on-prem or co-location (or colo) infrastructure, the cloud is increasing its footprint in every sector and space. While the adoption of public cloud environments often comes at the expense of traditional infrastructure, this evolution is not a zero-sum game, but a slow evolution. Colocated servers, on-premise infrastructure, and private cloud deployments continue to grow in adoption and use as well as hybrid clouds.

Why is this? Likely, with the evolution of technology, the capabilities of edge technology grow and businesses can perform functions on the edge that simply weren’t feasible 5-10 years ago.

Edge Computing Allows for Cutting Edge Technologies

How Hybrid Cloud Works

In a hybrid cloud environment, users work with both public cloud and private infrastructure. While this may seem like the best of both worlds, in truth, Hybrid Cloud environments are more complex and difficult to maintain – and this difficulty could offset the benefits of trying to play both sides. What makes a hybrid cloud? And, how can configurations, security, and connectivity be addressed?

 

Types of Cloud Environments

To understand how hybrid clouds function it is important to understand what a hybrid cloud is. To do that, we need to start with a basic overview of private and public cloud environments.

Understanding Private Clouds

A private cloud is a type of cloud hosting environment that only includes the resources available to a single organization. It offers greater security and control over data but is considered less scalable than public clouds.

Some common examples of a private cloud are an on-premises installation, a hosted private cloud, or a managed private cloud.

  • With an on-premises installation, the company owns and operates the hardware and software themselves.
  • In a hosted private cloud a company contracts with a third party to host its private infrastructure.
  • Finally, with a managed private cloud service, the provider manages the entire infrastructure for the customer.

Understanding Public Clouds

A public cloud allows companies or organizations to utilize resources in third party data centers. The provider offers this service to many different customers with diverse needs, both private and public. This type of system provides greater scalability, but it delivers less security and control over data.

Some examples of larger public cloud operators are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. All three vendors offer a variety of products to customers including web hosting services, virtual machines, and much more. Companies like IBM and Oracle also offer public cloud platforms although their adoption continues to lag behind these Big Three internet operators. When choosing a public cloud provider for your company you must consider what type of IT services you need in order to accomplish your goals.

What is Hybrid Cloud

What is a Hybrid Cloud?

The term hybrid cloud describes more than one model of infrastructure. The most common definition refers to an environment in which two or more infrastructures are utilized together while remaining under separate administrative control. This allows companies to use the best of both worlds – the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud combined with the security and control of private infrastructure.

 

How to Get the Most from Hybrid Cloud Configurations

By definition, a hybrid cloud is simply multiple different cloud configurations working together. A hybrid cloud configuration is a combination of different types of cloud infrastructures designed into a single network or system. This can include one or more public clouds working in concert with one or more private clouds. This can include multiple public clouds, and no private clouds, just as a hybrid cloud can be made solely of private cloud instances.  This could also mean a combination of both public and private cloud hosting different types of data (like secure vs unsecured).

As one example, a deployment of AWS (public cloud) for a customer-facing banking application in conjunction with a self-hosted, private cloud is a common use case for financial services businesses. The public cloud provides scalability and performance to serve customer needs while the private cloud provides enhanced security.

 

Hybrid Cloud Security

When companies integrate many infrastructures together they do not want to compromise security and performance. While the traditional infrastructure and private cloud environments do not expose an organization’s infrastructure to the internet, a Hybrid Cloud environment, by definition, exposes users to threats from outside as well as within. This can cause hackers undue access to a company’s internal systems. In addition, some organizations may have specific compliance or industry regulations that govern how their data must be kept secure or managed. In such acase, some companies cannot use a public cloud to store their data.

Hybrid Cloud Security

This raises the question: what is the best way to secure a hybrid cloud environment? While security is unique to each organization and environment, many hybrid cloud best- practices are similar to the best practices for securing traditional infrastructure:

  1. Establish a strong security perimeter
  2. Use multiple layers of security
  3. Harden your systems
  4. Put in place a robust change management process
  5. Train your staff on security best practices

 

Make A Connection

There are several ways that these infrastructures can be connected in a hybrid cloud. These connections matter a great deal when it comes to latency (speed) and security around data in transit. The three most common types of connectivity in a hybrid cloud are direct, VPN, or a hybrid model.

Direct Connect
In this scenario, the two infrastructures are directly connected over an IP network. This allows the two infrastructures to communicate without having to go through a third party.
VPN
In this model, a virtual private network (VPN) is used to allow the two infrastructures to communicate. This private network protects data in transit by isolating it from the rest of the internet.
Hybrid Connection
In hybrid mode, direct connect and VPN are combined. Users can choose which application should utilize which infrastructure, as needed on a case-by-case basis. This could result in one application using the public cloud while another utilizes the private cloud.

Advantages of Cloud Environments

The hybrid cloud offers advantages for both large enterprises as well as SMBs. In addition to the greater scalability of public clouds, the private component delivers improved security due to better control and isolation over the environment.

Decoupling apps from devices through virtualization can also result in improved app performance and accessibility. For example, an app that once only worked on specific hardware can now be accessed on any device with access to a network connection. Hybrid cloud environments also provide increased ability for companies to react quickly to market changes without large capital expenditures on infrastructure.

This flexibility delivers massive utilization benefits as well. By using a hybrid cloud, companies can quickly and easily scale their public infrastructure up or down as needed. This is especially useful for companies that experience seasonal spikes in traffic.

Crucially, by using a hybrid cloud, companies can save money by not having to purchase and maintain two separate infrastructures. The per-consumption pricing model of the public cloud can deliver cost savings compared to serving all workloads on traditional infrastructure which incurs costs even when idle.

Given these benefits, it’s no wonder that Gartner predicted that, by 2020, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least one hybrid cloud and that, by 2021, the hybrid cloud will be the primary deployment model for new applications.

Drawbacks of the Hybrid Cloud

There are also disadvantages to using a hybrid cloud environment. For starters, the configuration is difficult and requires a high degree of sophistication. Collecting requirements and aligning what is a custom environment with current and future business goals is a significant undertaking for even the most experienced infrastructure teams. Designing and deploying a hybrid cloud is just the start. Once the hybrid environment is deployed, management and monitoring are more difficult since they involve multiple platforms and applications spread across different environments.

The security advantages over on-premise solutions can be negated if data is breached or stolen from public cloud accounts because the private data centers cannot prevent these attacks. In a hybrid cloud environment, storage of sensitive data occurs in both public and private clouds. This could increase the risk of a security breach.

In addition, there are no industry standards for hybrid clouds, which can make it difficult to implement and manage them. Each environment is, almost by definition, unique. A lack of standardization can mean that training, integration, and allocating ongoing support resources could be a challenge.

 

Is the Future of Cloud Computing a Hybrid Model?

The answer to whether or not hybrid clouds are the future of cloud computing is complicated. While the future of the cloud is certainly multi-cloud, hybrid models are still being used by many companies, while some companies keep everything in-house. It will likely take some time before one type of model becomes universally adopted. Consider, for example, true enterprise organizations and compute-dependent SMBs: transferring all data and workloads to the public cloud is not a reality in the current regulatory and work environment.

Public cloud services continue growing in popularity. At the same time, hybrid cloud adoption is increasing for many organizations. The key to success lies in selecting the right model for your needs. When you think you know the best option, however, another consideration is whether you have the expertise to act.

Learn More Secrets About Your Storage and Hardware Options

When you are too busy to keep your data center in-house, but you’re not ready for the risks associated with the cloud, a Third Party Support provider may be perfect for you. A Third Party support and Maintenance provider will maintain and service your IT equipment, at far less than what an OEM charges. As you consider moving to the cloud, a Third Party provider can also help you with the transition.

Reliant Technology has helped more than 3,100 organizations and enterprises design, deploy, and manage their IT infrastructure. We service over a dozen OEMs, hundreds of OEM model families, and save you 50%, or more, compared to OEM rates.   We also offer professional services to provide you with ad hoc planning and data migration services to help get you to the cloud smarter and faster.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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Reliant Technology Cares

When you have Reliant Technology support your data center, you help us support SERV International and provide thousands of meals for starving children.

About Reliant Technology


As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.

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