We often speak about the virtues (and drawbacks) of the public cloud, as well as the functional requirements that spur building a private cloud. The conversations around each of these platforms often seem more than a bit siloed, since both are used to varying degrees and for different purposes within an organization — and often at the same time.
Businesses might view this as a “hybrid solution,” and while that shares the component parts of a hybrid cloud, it lacks any of the benefits of a true hybrid deployment. Gathering Clouds favorite David Linthicum recently went on record pointing out that very issue in an interview with Mike Lata. In the interview, Linthicum notes that while an organization might be using both public and private clouds, if they remain unconnected, they eschew all the reasons to have a hybrid deployment, being “almost unlimited scalability, security, data privacy, and cost efficiency.”
Linthicum continues to describe the fundamental challenges in hybrid cloud adoption for most enterprises:
You have security models spanning outside and inside the enterprise. You have integration that needs to occur. You also have two different platforms running similar data. It is a complex, distributed system that exists between infrastructure that you own and infrastructure that you don’t own.
Though the hurdles to getting hybrid clouds widely integrated are real, the realities in terms of how businesses are using clouds will enable the shift. Amazon Web Services is historically anti-private cloud, and as Mike Lata points out, Eucalyptus is a way to bridge that gap in AWS’ user base.
The reality is, however, that as a business grows, simply using the public cloud isn’t feasible — both from a cost perspective, but perhaps more importantly, from a security/compliance perspective.
[See How to Evolve from a Private Cloud to a Hybrid Cloud]
Meanwhile, having the ability to turn up and down resources during heavy traffic periods matched with a dedicated, secure environment applies to almost every industry. Particularly for businesses that are beginning to leverage cloud in new ways (like healthcare), having access to both resources in a fully integrated environment will spur greater usage, not less.
In another article, Rodney Brown points to CloudVelocity’s Greg Ness as a prophet of hybrid cloud’s potential to change the business IT landscape:
As the hybrid cloud becomes the cloud of choice for the enterprise, you can expect cloud integration to eventually replace cloud migration as a solution of choice.
Ness’ assertion perfectly articulates why hybrid cloud will change the (business) world: with companies increasingly mixing and matching cloud systems, having the ability to integrate rather than migrate provides a compelling cost and efficiency rationale. This means businesses can maintain, increase, or ramp down the systems and platforms it has been using without having to deal with the expensive and painful process of switching vendors all at once. Within a hybrid cloud model, there is even the potential to find new reasons and ways to leverage systems already in use that would have had to be shut down in a full migration.
[See 2012 Presidential Elections: A Case for Hybrid Cloud?]
In the end, a business will use what it deems appropriate for its goals. However, hybrid clouds present companies the opportunity to design an integrated system that can grow with them, rather than one that might not suit is new levels of success are achieved.
By Jake Gardner