Hybrid vs Public Clouds; Which makes sense for you?

If your organization is not utilizing some form of a cloud, the odds are it soon will. Your question will be what kind cloud—public, private, or hybrid? Private clouds can be dedicated clouds provided by vendors in which no resources are shared by any other customer. They also can be onsite solutions, but building and operating a cloud data center is costly and demands solid IT services. Large enterprises deploy private clouds when security, compliance, and control are paramount, requiring that data be kept within enterprise firewalls or a vendor’s dedicated firewalls. Public and hybrid clouds are for everyone else.

Public clouds offer compelling benefits. They let you outsource IT infrastructure, reducing both hardware expenses and the operational costs of maintaining skilled IT staff. They provide dependability, automated deployments, and scalability. They enhance cost-efficiencies by allowing you to pay only for the resources you use, when you use them. They enable testing environments to be quickly constructed and deconstructed. You can manage your resources and assets in the cloud yourself, or have a managed cloud services provider do it for you.

Moreover, public clouds can slash the relentless costs of storing ever-increasing data troves. Rather than continually invest in on-site storage capacity, you can convert short-term, long-term, backup, and archival storage costs to a more economical operating expense in public clouds. When users must access large files without latency, they can turn to emerging on-premise caching solutions that sync with cloud stores.

There isn’t one definition for hybrid clouds, but they generally offer the best of both worlds by combining public and private cloud services. You can still control key applications and data sets within the confines of the enterprise network while keeping other applications and long-term data sets in the cloud. You can use the public cloud as an insurance policy, expanding services onto the cloud during peak periods when your compute and/or storage demands exceed your onsite capabilities. This is known as cloud bursting. A hybrid cloud can help operational continuity during planned or unplanned outages, blackouts, and scheduled maintenance windows. Hybrid clouds also offer security options. You can keep the apps and data that demand vigorous protections onsite where you have complete control, while running less security-sensitive apps in a public cloud. You even can use a hybrid cloud to experiment with incrementally migrating infrastructure offsite.

Hybrid clouds offer many substantial benefits but bear in mind that they can present management challenges. You’ll need to federate disparate environments (although some vendors argue that management is simplified when the datacenter and cloud both use similar technologies). Scripts need to span public and private infrastructure, policy changes must be applied consistently, and operations and tasks automated across multiple environments. Fortunately, there are cloud management solutions available, with more to come.

Align a cloud solution with your performance needs, security requirements, and budget. You don’t have to put everything in a cloud, but you’ll need to deploy and manage what you don’t. Make a balance sheet of your current and projected capital and operating costs to determine which solution makes the most business sense for your organization.