Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Cloud

As we at Uncommon have been saying for several years, the Cloud is now robust and stable enough to be a major factor in any organizations’ IT planning.  Now, in record numbers, IT decision makers are focusing on the Cloud and security concerns continue to lead the reasons in not making a move.  Now, with the technology that makes up cloud services available for deployment inside organizations, a new model of cloud computing is gaining a foothold in business: the hybrid cloud.


What is hybrid cloud?


The easiest answer to this is question is that a hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private systems.  The public arm of this system is cloud provider (like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud) and the private arm is a private cloud designed to be used by a single company (such as the old on premises servers companies used).  A hybrid is created when these two independent systems are joined through encrypted connections using technology specifically designed to facilitate the portability of data and applications.


The importance of the previous paragraph cannot be understated… the public and private clouds in this arrangement are completely separate entities.  Companies can store critical privileged data in the private system while keeping the ability to use the public to leverage resources from the public cloud to run applications that access the private data.  Risk to data is minimized while long-term storage of that data is behind safety measures on the private cloud.


The benefits of going hybrid


  • On-prem infrastructure speeds access time and lowers latency in comparison to the public cloud services
  • On-prem reduces the potential down time caused by communication failure with the cloud based on internet blackouts, Net Neutrality, consolidation of ISPs, or a host of other issues out of the client’s control
  • Average workload supported while maintaining the ability for failover into the cloud for heavy-duty workload
  • More control for the IT decision makers on on-prem/cloud components… lower costs by only paying for cloud resources when needed
  • Lower on-prem infrastructure capital expenses by leveraging cloud resources


Hybrid potential issues


  • Data moving in and out of private zones to public zones can be targeted (hacked) by a third-party
  • Possible time delays due to communications when data transfer is mission-critical for the organizations
  • Costs of a hybrid solution may outweigh the cost-savings of reduced on-prem hardware


Who uses hybrid cloud?


One of the biggest adopters of the hybrid environment is the financial sector.  The hybrid environment allows for tight spacing of work environment (such as on a trading floor), placing orders in a private cloud (speed) while running analytics on a public cloud (computational power), and security of mission-critical data such as highly evolved, proprietary algorithms which are the life-blood of financial companies (private cloud).


This new capacity-sharing infrastructure is also being adopted by the healthcare industry as a bridge between healthcare providers, patients, and insurance companies.  Legal firms are utilizing the decentralized hybrid cloud for encrypted data stores to protect from theft, hardware crashes, and even natural disasters.  The last example we have of a sector heavily adopting the hybrid cloud is retail sales.  Moving the sales information, and the analytics from those sales, is a heavy processing feat.  The computational ability of the cloud infrastructure allows spin-up of more resources at needed times of the year (Christmas for example).


Why it is a good idea


Hybrid clouds can facilitate collaboration and connectivity simply through its design.  Integration of business process such as messaging, scheduling, BI, and others improve efficiency.  Further, the hybrid allows integration with on-prem systems that don’t normally integrate with public cloud systems (like security doors and cameras, fire systems, printers, etc.).


The hybrid cloud allows IT decision makers more control over both the private and public aspects of their systems to integrate and have whichever part is best handle its load.  Private clouds by themselves can be shackled by lack of power and connectivity issues with the outside world while public prepackaged SaaS cloud services often do not fit an individual business and need to be customized (which can lead to lots of break-fix when updates roll out).


Our conclusion


A hybrid cloud solution is an effective strategy for a broad group of organizations... especially those businesses with a greater need for security.  There is a risk of data being compromised through third-party action, but proper safeguards and security procedures can minimize this risk... and keep in mind any business infrastructure plugged into the internet faces this same problem so it is not unique to the hybrid environment.


While the upfront cost of setting up a proper hybrid cloud can potentially be formidable, the long term cost savings and efficiency improvements should offset the cost and leveraging the functionality of public cloud providers allows for a greater flexibility of computing tasks while keeping the most vital data within the company firewalls.


To see if your organization would benefit from a hybrid solution, contact Uncommon Solutions.