Hybrid cloud solutions: the best of both worlds
The term hybrid cloud usually describes a combination of a private cloud in a traditional data center on site (or hosted externally) and a public cloud. For the components of a hybrid cloud to interact perfectly, they must be systematically coordinated, administered, operated and maintained.
The hybrid cloud, consisting of parts of both private and public cloud, combines the advantages of those two worlds in one common, needs-based cloud concept that can be used universally. Above all, the requirements of applications that are critical for data protection and of companies regulated by law can be met and simultaneously combined with the flexibility of publicly accessible cloud solutions.
Remember, the public cloud offers maximum flexibility and scalability. It is operated by a service provider and is easily accessible via the internet. In this way, companies save themselves investment costs for expensive hardware and its maintenance. Payment for the services booked is made according to actual usage or a predetermined tariff model.
The hybrid cloud, consisting of parts of both private and public cloud, combines the advantages of those two worlds in one common, needs-based cloud concept that can be used universally.
Sensitive business processes are handled via an abstracted private cloud, which can be set up and operated specifically for the company. The private cloud part of a hybrid cloud can be hosted by the company itself or a service provider. Depending on requirements, the company can choose between the public and private cloud areas of its hybrid cloud to run its processes.
Structure of a hybrid cloud
The precise structure of a hybrid cloud always depends, by definition, on the individual requirements of a specific company, with seamless integration of all applications and services playing a crucial part. An agile infrastructure of this sort offers clear competitive advantages and yet opens up plenty of potential savings. For many companies, a hybrid cloud structure also represents an ideal entry-level scenario as a way of moving gradually towards a complete cloud strategy.
Integration of the various clouds must be organized as seamlessly as possible to ensure smooth migration, interoperability and central management. The decision as to where exactly the various cloud services are located in a model of this sort lies solely in the hands of the company. Thus, for example, it makes sense to keep all sensitive data – from the point of view of both the company and data protection law – on premise and to save data classified as non-critical in an external cloud and process it there.
Another alternative is to leave all the data storage in the company and simply to use the computing capacity of an external cloud. Or the reverse could be a solution, with the computing power provided on site and the data located in private cloud storage. These options alone show how flexible a hybrid cloud concept can be in its composition.
Planning is everything
In any case, the structure of a hybrid cloud requires solid planning from a technological point of view, from the perspective of application and service availability and in terms of data processing and backup. If these areas work hand-in-hand, the cloud business of a company will benefit in full from the advantages of the hybrid model:
- the high flexibility and low costs of the public cloud
- the high level of security and data protection of a private cloud
- coverage of short-term peak capacity
- booking of additional computing and storage capacities at short notice
Typical areas of use for hybrid clouds include development and testing, big data analyses, disaster recovery, multi-tier backup and high performance computing. Production applications, such as payroll accounting, are other examples. These use a public cloud service to offset workload fluctuations and adjust the computing capacity to the requirements at the time. The data for these applications are stored in the company’s private cloud.
The five key benefits of a hybrid cloud architecture
Companies that take their digital transformation seriously and simultaneously want to boost the efficiency of their IT are opting for cloud computing. A hybrid cloud solution offers the best entry-level option because the “public or private” question does not even come up; both are involved. The hybrid cloud therefore meets all the requirements that the digital transformation brings with it. From high agility and efficiency to observance of data protection and compliance regulations.
Low entry hurdle
The hybrid approach means that you can assess step by step which cloud technology should be used when and how in order to map business processes efficiently and economically – from payroll accounting to online shops. In this way, a cloud strategy can be developed selectively, which particularly suits companies that still use only few cloud systems, if any at all. Even skeptics are being won over by the cloud.
A significant benefit of the hybrid cloud is the ability to extend the computing capacity of internal IT with public cloud power whenever the need arises and the capacity of the cloud storage is no longer adequate. This allows peak loads to be offset and managed flexibly. Companies do not have to invest in new hardware and yet they can still respond flexibly, depending on the duration and degree of the load.
Pace of innovation
Within the framework of a hybrid cloud environment, innovative concepts can be tested in the cloud and a prototype of an infrastructure or services can be developed without much trouble. This is especially relevant for the development of new solutions. The cloud provides all the resources required in this context, including data, network and infrastructure. They are booked only for the period and in the quantity that the company actually needs them.
Whether it’s in a manufacturing company or an online shop, lengthy downtimes, whatever the cause, lead to huge economic losses. The in-house IT department is also at its limit. Although it may be great at maintaining normal operations, in the event of a disaster, it is entirely overwhelmed. For cloud services and providers, protection of their systems is part of daily life. Data backup and restoration and smooth functioning hardware components make up their core business. Companies that opt for a hybrid cloud architecture benefit from this. It drastically reduces the risk of downtime and the use of redundant systems can even exclude it completely.
The hybrid cloud combines the advantages of the private and public cloud. In a private cloud, the processes and data are completely separate, which delivers a high level of security, appreciated by many companies. However, they should be clear that they, themselves, are responsible for that security and that the private security level does not meet the standards of the big public clouds.
A public cloud provides IT services on demand and can distribute resources over multiple data centers, guaranteeing maximum performance and protection against data loss. So if companies opt for the hybrid cloud, they can enjoy the advantages of both cloud worlds.
Hybrid cloud on the rise in German companies
According to the Enterprise Cloud Index 2020 published by the British business consultant Vanson Bourne, the clear favorite among German companies is neither the private cloud nor the public cloud, but the hybrid cloud. 75 percent of IT decision-makers in Germany see the hybrid cloud as the ideal operating model. 71 percent of those surveyed like its flexibility and 61 percent the higher performance for their core business.
By contrast, mixed infrastructure – an unintegrated juxtaposition of an in-house data center and traditional architecture or a private cloud and various public cloud services – is in particular decline in Germany. Its share is set to fall by 18 percent to 34 percent by 2025. Usage of the hybrid cloud in Germany is due to increase by almost the same extent, by 17 percent to 36 percent in the same amount of time.
In five years, however, the worldwide figure will already have reached 49 percent. So the question arises: why do German companies need more time than their competitors in other countries and regions? Contrary to expectations perhaps, the reason is not Germany’s lackluster development of its network. The costs also play a minor role. No, it’s a lack of expertise and resistance from company IT departments that seem to be putting on the brakes. In response to the question as to whether a cloud architecture could be set up with existing IT skills, 11 percent of those surveyed in Germany express great skepticism, which is 6 percent higher than the international figure.
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