Enterprise has undergone a consistent, steady migration to a fully cloud-enabled environment. As more businesses realize the value cloud computing offers, cloud vendors continue to offer ever more comprehensive products and services. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this growth is the fact that the area that’s seen some of the greatest success is hybrid clouds.
At its simplest, a hybrid cloud combines a public and private cloud into a single platform. They primarily work on an infrastructure and application level, and can be deployed in several different ways:
- Through cooperation between two separate cloud providers.
- Through individual cloud providers with a hybrid offering
- By combining an organization’s own cloud with a public cloud offering.
A recent Wikibon and Northbridge Survey found that hybrid clouds are currently the most popular model on the market, with 47% of the total market share. These were followed closely behind by public clouds (30%) and private clouds (23%). The reason, according to the survey, is that a hybrid deployment model offers the best of both worlds – the scalability of a public cloud, with the cost savings of a private cloud.
It further predicts that clouds will remain predominantly hybrid in the coming years, a prediction I see no reason to contradict. Not only do hybrid clouds offer both scalability and great value, they also allow organizations to incorporate better security than they could with a cloud they don’t directly control.
Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is the fact that a hybrid model offers better organizational agility than any other cloud deployment. By leaning on their public cloud during periods of particularly high demand, enterprises can ensure they can readily scale to any computing needs; their private cloud, meanwhile, allows them to easily protect their most critical assets.
Hybrid hosting is especially valuable if your organization:
- Develops web-based applications, which requires the ability to spin up a secure testing environment at a moment’s notice.
- You have a large, distributed client base, and frequently have to scale your operations up or down.
- Your business is rapidly expanding, and you need hosting that doesn’t require extensive physical infrastructure.
- You leverage a large number of SaaS applications, or design business processes-as-a-service.
Hybrid clouds do have their disadvantages, of course. Compatibility across diverse infrastructure can prove a challenge, while networking and security can be difficult for organizations that lack pre-existing expertise. And the initial cost of implementation can also tend to be somewhat high.
Still, these are a small price to pay for what they offer in exchange. That said, the end of the day, evidence seems to suggest that public clouds are really the way to go. You just can’t beat their scalability, and security hasn’t been an issue for quite some time.