Source: Dimension Data
Processes that are more computational can be run on the public cloud, which offers almost endless computational and storage resources. Those processes include data analytics and web services.
How Hybrid Cloud Offers Flexibility
One of the most popular reasons that organizations give for embracing the cloud is the flexibility it brings to their IT operations. While flexibility can be looked at in many different ways, the most fundamental translation of a flexible cloud solution is one that can be tweaked and transformed to suit organizational requirements.
This flexibility can result in:
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of hybrid cloud is the availability of a fixed set of resources internally, with the option of upgrading to a completely new level of computing and storage capabilities at the flick of a switch, by moving those requirements to the public cloud.
Flexibility to cherry-pick hardware, software or services when needed helps companies grow rapidly rather than wait to develop needed capabilities in-house. The flexibility of the hybrid cloud supports company growth and makes this growth more efficient, as teams can use best-in-class tools from each type of cloud, making the best of all the varied resources they have on hand.
Companies that have to abide by strict regulatory requirements for their data and applications are typically wary of public clouds, thanks to their perception of being not as secure as a private cloud or controlled environments.
With a flexible hybrid cloud solution, companies can choose which applications to move out on the public cloud and which ones to keep in-house in a manner that keeps the overarching security requirements front and center. Mission-critical processes and data can be kept in-house, while less sensitive apps can live on the public cloud.
The platform that combines private, on-premises and public clouds typically allows companies to automate many of their processes. This results in efficiency and improved quality of work. Things like tracking, notifying the right teams in case of down-time, and other routine tasks can easily be automated.
“Automation is important because it helps reduce the operating costs, as well as the pain caused by the growing complexity of business processes and management tasks,” said Jason Goodall, CEO of Dimension Data, in a press release. “It is simply no longer appropriate or cost-effective for these tasks to be done manually.”
Flexibility and cost savings go hand in hand in the case of hybrid cloud setups. A unique feature of the hybrid cloud is the system of being able to pre-pay for reserved instances on the public cloud, which can help in lowering the total cost of operations.
Computational needs of the typical organization are not static. There's usually the business-as-usual piece that's predictable and probably can run on a private cloud or an on-premises infrastructure. However, there are also seasonal or transient spikes in computational needs that don't last too long but demand an exponentially higher capacity when they do arise. Such spikes in capacity requirements can be easily handled with already purchased reserved instances.
Innovation On Demand
The hybrid cloud's shared resources allow companies to develop new products and services without being limited by system capabilities, storage limits or even computational capacity. To a great extent, developers can pick and choose the best features of each cloud service and leverage them to create custom products or services.
The hybrid cloud allows companies to spread their risks by offering them all the permutations and combinations of computing features with appropriate security capabilities. This opens up options from a development and maintenance perspective. It also reduces dependence on any single cloud service provider over the course of the company's hybrid journey.
This allows for more consistent uptime, as processes and data can be moved around between clouds. The execution isn’t always perfect though, and obstacles do exist. While there is flexibility in moving resources within the same provider, moving from one provider to another isn’t that simple.
In an ideal (or well-planned) scenario, when one cloud goes down or has an interruption in service, the slack can be picked up by another one on the hybrid cloud network, thus ensuring that mission-critical processes are never interrupted.
What's Stopping Companies from Going Hybrid?
Despite all the benefits that hybrid clouds offer, many companies, including ones that already have hybrid cloud systems, shy away from fully leveraging its potential. One reason could be that moving things off the public cloud and bringing them back on premises is a challenge. “It requires massive amounts of investment, re-architecture and refactoring applications to move them back into there,” opines Mirani.
For many, making sure the hybrid IT complies with their industry's regulatory framework becomes a challenge. Others struggle to figure out how to get the public and private components of their cloud environments to play nice with each other and transfer data and apps between themselves.
What Brings Them Back?
“Applications evolve,” explained Mirani in an article about the myths surrounding the hybrid cloud. “Today, it may be cheaper to run something in the public cloud. As utilization grows, in two years it may make more sense to run that same application in your private data center. If you can't move things back and forth, that's a decision you're locked into very early in the process of deploying an application.”
Bringing applications and workloads hosted off-premises back into the fold has been a practice as old as cloud service delivery itself. This is called cloud repatriation – in a high-profile case, file storage and sharing provider Dropbox moved hundreds of petabytes of customer data off AWS and back into its datacenters a couple of years ago, resulting in savings of $75 million in infrastructure costs over two years.
It’s very important to find the right balance without being locked into one cloud provider – for Nutanix, keeping the option open to pull data and applications back on premises matters the most. Whatever the reason du jour may be for not hopping onboard yet, its time enterprises and even SMBs take a new look at hybrid IT and cloud. It'd be a pity to waste the opportunity to save costs and improve productivity with the same solution.
Featured Image: Adapted and used under CC license from SystemwareWiki
Dipti Parmar is a contributing writer. She has written for CIO.com, Entrepreneur, CMO.com and Inc. Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @dipTparmar.
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