With all the talk about enterprises adopting cloud computing, much of what’s discussed applies to the usage of public cloud services, such as AWS and Azure. However, other deployments are available, including the hybrid cloud, which has increased in popularity; increasing from 19 to 57 percent of organizations surveyed by Forbes.
The hybrid cloud combines both public cloud infrastructure, accessible over the Internet, and a private cloud, which provides secure computing environments to a single client, often accessible via a private network connection. The difference here is that instead of limiting themselves to one type of cloud deployment, organizations can get the best of both worlds via a connection between public and private clouds.
The connection often comes in the form of a virtual private network, however, for better consistency, a private direct connection between the two clouds is sometimes preferred. Read on to find out about some of the most important pros and cons to better inform you on any potential decision about whether to go hybrid.
Hybrid Cloud Pros
The hybrid cloud can offer great cost-efficiency by ensuring that you only pay for the precise computing or storage resources you need beyond your main private cloud or on-premise data center. The main private cloud services operate on a pay-as-you-use model, and there are no costs associated with powering hardware or maintaining it.
Cloud bursting refers to running your mission-critical app workloads on a high-performance private cloud while directing overflow traffic during peak periods to a public cloud service.
To take a look at the potential cost of public cloud services like Microsoft Azure cloud, you can view some Azure calculators online that highlight the costs of using such services. Some companies, such as Netapp, attempt to save you even more money by optimizing your use of the Azure cloud. Netapp’s Azure calculator displays differences in pricing between standalone, un-optimized Azure deployment and savings from their OnTap optimizations.
When you go “all-in” on a private or public cloud, you restrict the range of available options to your company. Hybrid cloud deployments maximize your flexibility by allowing you to make informed decisions on appropriate workflows, storage, and other processes that might be better suited to different cloud services.
For example, while you might host your website from a private cloud, you can choose the public cloud for backups of important website content.
Improved Disaster Recovery Planning
An important aspect of any successful disaster recovery plan is to take preventative action in exposing your enterprise to a single point-of-failure. For example, with a private cloud alone, you might run a mission-critical application on an application server, and if a natural or human-induced disaster causes an outage on that server, the application goes down with it.
In the hybrid cloud, you have the opportunity to quickly recover from such disasters by rapidly spinning up cloud instances on public services such as AWS EC2, allowing you to resume running your apps on those computing instances. You can further increase the speed at which you recover apps by pre-configuring machine images with your application stacks.
Hybrid Cloud Cons
Data & App Integration
It can become quite complex to integrate an application and its data when using a hybrid cloud setup. For example, the app itself might run in a private cloud while its data may be stored in the public cloud to balance performance with cost.
Since apps and data are both useless without each other, it’s critical to ensure the app can access the data at all times. Issues can occur when the connection between the app’s location and the data is inconsistent, leading to a slew of network concerns in avoiding bottlenecks and slowing down application performance.
Lack of Visibility
When running important IT workloads in a hybrid cloud deployment it can be difficult to maintain visibility over everything you are managing. The visibility problem worsens when you consider that many companies use multiple public cloud providers to serve different functions, such as backup, disaster recovery, primary data storage, web serving, etc. A holistic dashboard providing visibility over your hybrid cloud deployment is a must.
There is no evidence that suggests public clouds are inherently untrustworthy, however, clear security concerns arise when you cede control of data to a third-party and rely on them to keep it safe, as is the case with a public cloud provider.
Any public cloud vendor you choose must pay the highest attention to enforcing strong security policies, including identity access-management and data encryption in case of data breaches. You can also take steps to strengthen security in the public cloud via multi-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security in terms of how people gain access to different services by requiring more evidence beyond standard username/password combinations.
You can view the cons of the hybrid cloud as challenges to overcome as opposed to barriers to entry. Expect this type of deployment to grow even more in popularity as enterprises look to improve flexibility and better balance performance and costs in the cloud.
Author Bio: Limor Leah Wainstein