Why Hybrid Cloud is here to stay

Cloud has completely changed how contemporary businesses operate. It gives organizations a scalable means of managing their infrastructure, applications, and data. Between its flexibility and Pay as You Go (PAYG) options, Cloud provides substantially more configuration and design options than traditional infrastructure. As a result, businesses are adopting cloud services more and more frequently, giving them access to new tools and technologies, while also yielding efficiency improvements for their operations and procedures.

According to some projections, the worldwide cloud services industry will be worth about $600 billion by 2023, generating a rapidly expanding need for hybrid and multi-cloud solutions. Gartner expects that cloud system infrastructure services will be the second-biggest, but fastest-growing, cloud expenditure market category in 2023. As illustrated by the projected increase, hybrid and multi-cloud computing is becoming the new normal for many organizations -- providing them with the scalability benefits of public cloud -- while also delivering the flexibility and control inherent in private cloud computing and traditional server infrastructure.

What is Hybrid Cloud & Multi-Cloud

You’ve probably heard these terms before, but in case you’re not familiar -- at its most basic, Hybrid Cloud refers to combining traditional (server) infrastructure with public or private cloud infrastructure, allowing for the distribution of workloads across these two types of environments. Multi-Cloud, on the other hand, involves interconnecting multiple public or private cloud platforms to achieve a similar result. These strategies can be employed for a variety of reasons, but it’s usually done to gain access to additional technology stacks or features, to add redundancies, to implement security features, or to optimize costs.

What Benefits Does Hybrid Cloud Provide

By utilizing a hybrid cloud, a company may easily move data and applications between dedicated infrastructure and cloud resource pools. A hybrid cloud makes it possible to place workloads on the use-specific infrastructure, at any given time. By carefully balancing performance, business continuity, efficiency, and cost factors with data protection and governance requirements, companies can realize all the data security of dedicated infrastructure or private cloud environment -- while still being able to leverage the on-demand feature sets of a public cloud deployment. All of which enables companies to adapt to the demands of shifting use cases, corporate objectives, and legal obligations seamlessly.

Because most cloud platforms are resilient by nature, even in the event of a hardware failure, virtual workloads maintain uptime -- without the need to wait for hardware to be replaced or repaired. In general, cloud components are designed to be highly available, with no single points of failure in the infrastructure, network, or power. Whereas, dedicated infrastructure must be engineered for redundancy, or downtime due to hardware failure can absolutely impact continuity and availability requirements -- not to mention the bottom line. So, in a case where a company’s more traditional hardware is down for maintenance, they can quickly shift workloads to their Cloud Solution to compensate for the interruption -- assuming proper capacity planning has been done and the necessary resources are available.

Dirty Little Secret: "cloud" is just virtualization software running on dedicated infrastructure, and because of this, there is finite capacity. Massive-scale third-party clouds overcome this obstacle by the sheer scale of their operation. They can afford to have tons of additional capacity laying around for "just in case". Those that operate a private cloud environment on-premises, or in colocation racks, know the need for capacity planning all too well.

Moreover, technologies, like Disaster Recovery (DR), allow for continuous synchronization of the running environment(s) to another location where they can quickly and easily be "spun up" to run in the event of a disaster or outage at the main facility. To accomplish this with dedicated infrastructure is, at a bare minimum costly -- and more than likely it’s time consuming, requires significant technical expertise, and is expensive. Since many cloud platforms offer DR as part of their service offering, while also allowing you to use their services on an on-demand basis – companies no longer have to pay for an "always on" (24 x 7 x 365) to ensure uptime and functionality -- particularly for a DR server that they hope to never actually need.

For these reasons and more, diversifying services and workloads between cloud and dedicated infrastructure providers can be extremely beneficial towards reaching an organization’s goals, while minimizing costs and overhead. Hybrid cloud provides "the best of all worlds": cost-effective compute, bandwidth, and storage -- in combination with reliable disaster recovery, access to additional tools, and the ability to easily scale dynamic workloads.

If Cloud's so Great, Why Do I Need Traditional/Dedicated Infrastructure

Of course, many large enterprises can afford to take the Multi-Cloud approach, but that can be exceedingly cost-prohibitive. Given the increased costs typically involved with compute, bandwidth, and storage with cloud providers, it’s wise to place static workloads and high bandwidth applications on more traditional hardware. Pound-for-pound, dedicated servers supply exceedingly more value from a cost-to-resource perspective, over cloud deployments. They just don’t offer a tremendous amount of flexibility or built-in tools -- which is why hybrid solutions are growing quickly in popularity.

What Industries Can Benefit from a Hybrid Cloud Approach

Almost any industry can be helped by hybrid cloud. Gaming, MarTech, FinTech, and AI/ML, are all expected to achieve countless benefits from hybrid cloud over the next five years. As an example, online games are seeing traction using a Hybrid Cloud strategy. Due to the nature of online games, where rapid surges in user numbers are typical, the flexibility to stand up or decommission servers is crucial to maintaining the proper scale for a game's user population, while dedicated infrastructure is being used to reduce the costs associated with more long term, static workloads. Another prominent industry sector benefiting from the hybrid cloud is FinTech. Having the ability to easily clone entire environments, segregate data deployments, and simultaneously ensure 100 percent uptime is paramount for those in the financial technology sector.

Pro Tip: All of which is made easier and more cost-effective using direct connectivity between the hybridized solutions. Not only will this allow for secure network segmentation, but it will also dramatically reduce the data transfer rates that result as traffic ingresses/egresses costly cloud deployments.

Efficiency for Your Business

Finally, it is critical to regularly optimize infrastructure for efficiency, for the sake of a company’s wallet and end users’ satisfaction. Placing high priority workloads on the lowest latency devices (virtual or physical), while keeping lower priority workloads on more cost-effective instancing, will optimize your performance to spend ratio. Doing it regularly -- will ensure you don’t encounter the ever-dreaded "Sprawling Cloud Invoice" pitfall -- which sadly, creeps up on many organizations that are new to using cloud platforms.

From an organizational and developmental standpoint, hybrid clouds are revolutionary. When it comes to cutting-edge technology, hybrid cloud solutions offer significantly more possibilities than any other kind of infrastructure. The application of which results in a variety of advantages for improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs, mitigating risks, increasing profitability, not to mention a significantly broader and more redundant global market reach -- seemingly proving hybrid cloud is the path to the future.

Photo Credit: phloxii/Shutterstock

Devon Rutherford is Sales Operation Manager, Leaseweb US.

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