Many think that the world of IT is all about new tech product launches, gaming expos, new operating systems, Mac versus Windows and hackers. Although there is some truth in those aspects, the world of IT also experiences pressure; by enterprises and business either public or private asking for more capabilities on different platforms. There are so many demands that administrators and vendors are thinking which issue should be handled first or resolved with the most importance. Many aspects of business are so reliant on IT that it seems some measures have to be taken immediately. One way that businesses place pressure on IT is finance. Finance is what demands a business or the IT department to cut costs and increase profits. Because of cost cutting, the business will tend to focus on short-term solutions instead of formulating long-term solutions. The business may have a hard time in deciding whether to move to cloud computing or stay with their current IT setup. Unfortunately, even with an emphasis on satisfying customers in this fast-paced world, the ability to deploy good applications and to provide their much needed fix-ups is shrinking.

a simple diagram of how cloud computing works. Image courtesy of www.frustrationfreeit.com

a simple diagram of how cloud computing works. Image courtesy of www.frustrationfreeit.com

Adapting To the Inevitable

Cloud computing has been around for years although the term was not a buzzword until a few years ago. It’s definitely true that cloud computing is an “in” thing in the IT world at the moment, and many businesses are being barraged by different cloud vendors on a daily basis. With different trends in managing information and data, how can you know what exactly you need in order to survive? How can a business tell if adapting cloud solutions are really beneficial or just plain marketing hype?

What Is Cloud Computing?

To put it simply, cloud computing is storing and accessing data, information and programs over the internet as compared to a computer’s native hard drive. A process can be considered a cloud solution if users, the data or program is synchronized with other data over the internet. Anyone who has checked into cloud-based services will know that there are two major cloud types to choose from – private cloud and public cloud.

Public cloud offers cost saving solutions through shared services, scalability and its ease of use. Private clouds on the other hand, offer the same benefits of cloud computing, but with more control and security. Choosing the right cloud model will depend on the needs of the business or enterprise, the services they offer, how it will be used, the types of applications and information they need to house, the security level and how mature the IT infrastructure is.

Now there is another competitor; the third type of cloud model is called hybrid cloud.

What Is a Hybrid Cloud Model?

A hybrid cloud is a type of cloud model in which an organization or enterprise can store and manage information in-house, while others are provided by a third party service provider. For example, a business may use a public cloud service for email while sensitive information or other financial information is stored in the private cloud. This approach has allowed businesses to take advantage of the cost saving effectiveness and scalability that a public cloud environment offers without compromising mission-critical apps and information to possible third party issues and vulnerabilities. Industry research  has shown that the hybrid has caught on with many organizations. Forrester Research stated that the most popular IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) strategy is hybrid cloud. This research was done in January 2013. The research surveyed 151 European and US technology decision-makers that have implemented IaaS in their organizations. 40% of the respondents said they use IaaS as a complement to their on-premise server and storage resources for special or peak demands while 20% said that they utilize IaaS for all their server and storage needs.

Hybrid cloud representation. Image courtesy of www.dialogic.com

Hybrid cloud representation. Image courtesy of www.dialogic.com

Questions That Can Help You in the Implementation of Hybrid Cloud 

Hybrid cloud hosting options, just like public and private cloud, will have its challenges; data security and privacy concerns will inevitably arise due to sensitive information being stored on public servers, as well as the cost of the implementation. Companies and organizations will also face additional challenges of information flow management from one platform to another when on-premises apps are required to share information with other apps that are hosted by the public cloud network.

Take note of these questions that can help you decide  if adapting hybrid cloud is the best strategy for your organization.

Is Hybrid Cloud a Trustworthy Solution?

One of the major factors in adopting hybrid cloud solutions is the data security within the enterprise. If the company stores sensitive data and wants to maintain control, it may be wise to leverage the computing resources from the cloud combined with local data storage; this could be the perfect scheme for a hybrid solution.

Is Adapting to a Cloud Infrastructure More Practical?

Most organizations think that there is no public cloud solution that can provide a unique function, only massive and costly homegrown systems that have expanded around a number of unique IT processes. However, organizations can take advantage of the cost-saving features of hybrid cloud. This can be done by keeping unique functions in-house and sending commodity functions to the cloud.

Is My IT Infrastructure a Cloud Provider?

Any enterprise or organization that is into virtualization and shared infrastructure may already be a capable cloud provider. Automated provisioning, changes in management and encouragement of cloud services to business personnel combined with utilizing public cloud services can enhance the existing infrastructure and provide the needed benefits of the hybrid cloud.

How Can We Manage the Vendors?

Going for a hybrid model to a cloud deployment lets you test the vendor before committing fully to the critical IT processes. A hybrid model can give the organization the opportunity to experience the cloud provider’s support capabilities if it makes the cut.

Rows or servers used for cloud application and services. Image courtesy of www.greenrocketnews.com

Rows or servers used for cloud application and services. Image courtesy of www.greenrocketnews.com

Are You Unsure if You Want to Commit Your Information to the Cloud?

Many experts say that a hybrid cloud solution is the best way of testing the capabilities of cloud computing. It would be wise to call in a few cloud APIs and taking small and calculated steps into the cloud. Most enterprises are already implementing this approach. Take note that there are no shortcuts or quick rules. Choose a timeline and the commitment level that will fit the organization.

Is the Cost of Redundancy Lower if it is Required?

Redundancy is a costly proposition that involves the buying of at least two of everything including hardware, physical facilities and IT personnel. A hybrid cloud can provide redundancy on an ad hoc basis, which routes the computing needs of the cloud provider if the section on internal infrastructure fails or needs a scheduled downtime. Augmenting the internal IT infrastructure with cloud resources is a good way of saving money without compromising the network and the whole infrastructure.

Will Latency be an Issue?

Data transfers can be fast, but applications may be sensitive to delays. You need to understand that you may not run any agency-critical application in a hybrid environment. It should be done with the same platform to get the best results.

Is the Price Right for the Needs of the Organization?

Just like any cloud model, hybrid cloud has its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of hybrid cloud include:

  • Cost efficient
  • Backup and recovery are not issues
  • An almost unlimited storage space
  • Easy access to information
  • Automatic software integration
  • Fast deployment

 Disadvantages of hybrid cloud include:

  • Security and privacy
  • Technical issues
  • Attack prone
  • Infrastructure dependency
  • Network complexity
When i grow up.... Image courtesy of D.Fletcher for  http://cloudtweaks.com/

When i grow up…. Image courtesy of D.Fletcher for
http://cloudtweaks.com/

Studies have proven the effectiveness of hybrid cloud across many organizations. To overcome the challenges of hybrid cloud implementation, an organization or enterprise should take a step-by-step approach by establishing a well-defined and calculated “roadmap” for the deployment of cloud resources. The organization should also identify strategic partnerships with experts who posses the needed operational experience and technological competency. The answers your organization are looking for may just be in the cloud.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.