Hybrid cloud is more than an emerging trend in 2020. It’s a new set of technologies and IT operating models reshaping how organizations across different industries will function now and in the future. It’s enabling businesses to meld on-premise, private and public cloud capabilities, and allowing them to share data and migrate apps between different clouds. By taking a hybrid cloud approach, IT teams are becoming more agile and efficient as they manage through changing business needs, according to experts and industry reports.
In the 2019 Enterprise Cloud Index, 85% of respondents chose the hybrid cloud as their ideal IT operating model. The Nutanix and Vanson Bourne survey of more than 2,300 IT decision-makers around the world also showed 49% mentioned the hybrid cloud as the model that met all their needs.
The hybrid cloud market has experienced significant overall growth in the past few years compared to other cloud services, according to Mordor Intelligence. The research firm expects the hybrid cloud market to grow from USD 45.70 billion in 2019 to USD 128.01 billion by 2025.
There are many factors behind the growing popularity of hybrid cloud, according to Greg Smith, vice president of product marketing of Nutanix.
Meeting Scalability Requirements
The hybrid cloud model lets businesses choose the best cloud to run each particular workload and to manage critical application data, both of which are increasingly important as there is no single way to define what would be the best cloud for a company's needs, Smith said.
“And best means a number of things,” he said. “It means knowing which cloud environment provides the right model to scale IT services.”
For example, if an application has unpredictable demand characteristics or highly dynamic usage patterns, public cloud services that are more elastic in nature may fit the bill, he said.
"For the majority of enterprise workloads, which are more predictable in nature, Nutanix customers have proven time and time again that they can run that application with a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) in a properly architected private cloud."
When customers are trying to keep IT costs down, a well-designed hybrid model can also provide superior economics, and help teams manage and administer their multiple cloud environments, according to Smith.
“In the same way customers have converged various IT silos or resources in their private cloud, they can now converge clouds,” he said.
This allows IT departments to treat their multiple clouds – public, private and distributed – as one cohesive, seamless IT operating environment.
“A true hybrid cloud architecture gives IT teams a common and consistent operating model across their clouds, and the flexibility to move data and applications into different clouds effortlessly - without any need to refactor apps," said Smith.
Meeting Security and Compliance Needs
The 2019 Enterprise Cloud Index revealed that 60% of respondents said the state of inter-cloud security would be the biggest influence on their future plans. Plus, more than a quarter of respondents picked the hybrid cloud model as the most secure.
Smith explained that when companies have specific security and compliance requirements, the hybrid cloud can suit them.
"There are simply some industries in which customer data and essential business information is tightly governed, and cannot live outside of their own infrastructure,” he said. “And, therefore, it makes the use of public cloud services nearly impossible. Security and compliance considerations will continue to drive many cloud decisions."
Flexibility and Agility
The 2019 Enterprise Cloud Index also showed that nearly 20% of IT pros surveyed said they liked how hybrid cloud provides interoperability between cloud types. Smith said hybrid cloud allows businesses to use one kind of cloud and then switch later to another cloud if there’s a more efficient option.
"There may be times when an application team or business unit needs rapid access to IT services,” he said. “And, to meet these demanding SLAs, they may favor the immediate gratification of public cloud services, at least initially."
Smith has seen Nutanix customers move to hybrid cloud and gain agility through simplification.
“IT complexity is the enemy of business agility,” he said. “For the entire 10 years of our existence, Nutanix has battled complexity on behalf of IT teams.”
[Related story: How Hyperconverged Infrastructure Keeps Modernizing IT]
He said hyperconverged infrastructure and software have radically simplified data centers with machine learning-driven automation and consolidated, easy-to-use dashboards. HCI reduces the time and expense of managing data and developing apps. It speeds application deployment in a company’s data center, and provides an optimal foundation to meld private IT resources with public cloud services.
“In the same way that Nutanix simplified the data center, we're now simplifying hybrid cloud architectures and operations."
“HCI is the best foundation for companies that want to build a cost-effective and secure hybrid cloud,” said Smith.
Enhanced Mobility for Apps and Data
In the 2019 Cloud Enterprise Index, 85% of respondents viewed app mobility across cloud environments as "essential." Smith said this is critical for managing resources and costs.
"Our customers are asking for real-world app and data mobility across their hybrid cloud infrastructure,” he said.
“They want to migrate applications and data to the best cloud, and have the ability to change again when business conditions change. It might make more sense to run an application initially in a public cloud, but if they need to lower IT costs, they can migrate the workload, and associated data, to a Nutanix-powered private cloud."
As more IT departments converge private and public cloud operations, new challenges are sure to arise, but Smith believes the benefits of hybrid cloud – agility, cost and resource efficiencies, plus app and data mobility – will help organizations find the right balance at every twist and turn.
Kayla Matthews is a contributing writer. Her work has appeared on IBM's Big Data Hub, WIRED, The Week and Information Age. Visit her personal tech blog ProductivityBytes.
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