by Tanya Seda, Chief Strategy Officer

While cloud vendors would suggest otherwise, hybrid cloud environments are necessary and will likely persist for an extended period of time; That’s why it’s important to keep bringing the topic into conversation across the industry. Such mixed environments matter to enterprises because there are benefits that cannot be achieved by operating exclusively in a public or private cloud, notwithstanding vendor claims to the contrary.  While enterprise needs and networks vary, the value for these hybrid environments include the ability to

  • Use public cloud technologies while retaining legacy systems within a private cloud or on-premises IT infrastructure.
  • Retain sensitive data on dedicated servers while running front-end applications in the public cloud, giving the ability to take advantage of cost efficiency and on-demand scalability.
  • Reduce spending while aligning costs to revenue and demand patterns.
  • Move from an exclusively CapEx model to a mixed CapEx/OpEx model.

It is important to note, that while there is value in hybrid environments, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when designing a hybrid cloud environment. For one, API compatibility and network connectivity are more important than ever because workloads are distributed across public and private clouds, and thus have to access and interact with each other.

A second issue is that a hybrid cloud environment has more attack surfaces compared to the exclusive use of a public or private cloud. Cloud security in a hybrid environment needs a holistic approach that takes into account both internal and external infrastructures and views them as a single ecosystem.

Once the purview of larger enterprises, smaller businesses are now adopting cloud environments as well, at an accelerating rate. They are able to do this now due to a number of tools being made available by Cloud Service Providers that seamlessly create an agile, flexible and secure environment with the same benefits as enjoyed by large enterprises.

One example of this value would be a small e-Commerce business that experiences seasonal spikes in demand. The business could scale its private cloud or on-premises IT infrastructure for the normal level of demand and burst to the public cloud when demand spikes. This provides enormous flexibility and scalability. In this use case you can see a cost-effective way of operating with an existing on-premises IT infrastructure and still use the cloud to accommodate peak requirements.  For businesses with highly-variable workloads, this offers a competitive advantage against larger businesses.

Once companies have migrated to a hybrid cloud environment, it becomes important to understand that you don’t necessarily have more services to manage. They are just divided between different infrastructures. The downside is that it can be harder to keep track of them and ensure they are optimized for cost and performance. This is why a having a health check of your cloud environment becomes essential to keep control of all moving pieces.