The future is cloud, but the reality is hybrid

 

Many organisations are already looking to the cloud and some have even put their faith in the public cloud entirely. However, it’s not all a bed of roses. As virtualization becomes more effective and the cloud solutions become more reliable, most businesses could find themselves with no on-site infrastructure – but how realistic is that in the next 10 to 20 years? Is it worth putting all your eggs in that basket today?

The short answer is no – the risk of data tapping is too great – rather many enterprise-level organisations are looking to the hybrid cloud solution.

What is hybrid?

Hybrid cloud is cloud computing environment which uses a combination of on-premises private cloud and third-party public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. The public and private infrastructures, which operate independently of one another, usually communicate over an encrypted connection allowing for two-way transfer of data and applications.

This system offers enterprise companies to protect privileged data on a private cloud, while keeping the computational resources of larger private cloud services. Enterprise applications running on public cloud which require protected data can access the private cloud through encrypted communication, giving the organisation both peace of mind and effortless access to resources.

Hybrid cloud isn’t simply connecting any old server to a public cloud provider and calling it hybrid, the private server itself must be running some type of cloud service, such as internal applications that staff need to do their jobs. One example is NemakiWare, an open-source enterprise content management software stack.

But why hybrid?

Public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers can all stand on their own as viable and valuable infrastructure solutions for any business, however in the fast-paced modern business environment where downtime is disastrous and adaptability is key to thriving, enterprises need the best possible solution to succeed.

One of the most obvious benefits of cloud is having on-premises infrastructure that the organisation can directly access. IT staff are no longer being pushed through the public internet, or stuck on the phone to service providers trying to figure out what’s wrong. This greatly reduces downtime in comparison to public cloud services because staff can assess the problem on-site and deal with it appropriately. Further, the company is longer at the mercy of their internet connection. If the ISP fails in some way, the entire business is no longer crippled as it can survive off its private cloud or dedicated servers while the internet problems deal with themselves.

The second best benefit is simple scalability because on-premises computational infrastructure can handle the day-to-day workload of your business. However, the public cloud can step in failover circumstances where workload exceeds the capacity of the company. In additional, the organisation only ever pays for the extra compute time when those resources are needed, saving the company upfront investments and ongoing costs of other solutions. This is particularly effective for seasonal businesses, such as tax organisations, where extra private infrastructure would sit idle for the majority of the year.

The drawbacks

Hybrid cloud suffers from the same security drawbacks as public cloud, particularly when protected data from the private cloud is transferred onto public applications. The data can be subject to third-party tapping, which is an unnecessary and reckless risk to some. Further, cost is a factor. Many organisations work with small IT budgets, which don’t have the room for a hybrid rollout, the upfront cost for server racks may be prohibitive for some, but the