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Home > Resources > News and Events > News > Hybrid cloud - the future?
Hybrid cloud - the future?
Category: Evergreen
Keywords: Infrastructure
Author: Richard Towey
Date Written: 27 August 2013
Title: Hybrid cloud - the future?

When people mention cloud storage they often speak in reference to the public model - provided by a third party and shared by several thousands of users around the world. Some businesses have seen the benefits in storing their data and applications internally, still using cloud technology but through a private model, but now there's option to gain the best of both worlds by going hybrid.    

Of course, the decision to go with a private cloud, use a public offering or try mixing the two comes down to a number of factors; from the criticality of the applications to how integrated they must be with other enterprise functions.  

The fact is there are a lot of cloud customers who run highly regulated businesses. They have real service-level agreements, real premise requirements and, perhaps most importantly, real governance requirements to deal with.

This is why so many have turned to bringing some of their sensitive data back in-house after encountering some of the pitfalls of going fully public. That's all well and good for businesses that might not have suited cloud hosting in the first place, but companies looking to build very high-scale environments will always see value in using data centres.

Naturally, they should be drawn in by the prospect of saving money and tidying up their underlying infrastructure by going all cloud - if only previous experiences hadn't taught them that some data should stay local.

The right answer could be a careful balance of internal and external storage, known as the 'hybrid' model of cloud hosting and the new definition of corporate computing. So what are the pros of this model?


Even cloud providers cannot ignore there is a reluctance among some companies to port all of their sensitive data onto a public server. They would much rather keep this on-site, but installing a server and storage hardware requires a lot more finance than just having the data stored publically.

The building of a private cloud can also require months of effort from a company's IT department, requiring a significant investment of both time and money. The hybrid option on the other hand does involve the use of public storage, which means it can deal with sudden increases in capacity at the same time as being highly scalable.  

Businesses also use public cloud services for the 'plug in and play' aspect. After being given their log-in details, they can start using compute, storage and other services almost immediately. So, as there are clear benefits to storing data both privately and publicly, it makes sense why companies would seek a hybrid of the two.

Companies turn to the hybrid model because it combines the best of public and private cloud to deliver a common architecture that can be tailored to match their needs. Enterprises in a maturing environment are realising they don't have to go all in for public or private cloud, they can use both in order to create the most convenient and manageable solution.

Popular model

The hybrid model creates plenty of room for gaining a customised service, although it's common to find themes in the ways companies use their storage.

For instance, many hybrid users have decided to use their public storage for applications used in less sensitive tasks, while private is used for their most vital processing tasks.

There's also the chance to mix the two in special circumstances. A business might run an application primarily on their private cloud but rely on a public model to enable access during spikes in usage, relieving some of the strain on the in-house servers.  

A route into the cloud?

While the hybrid model should not deemed inferior to storing data publically or privately, going between the two can actually help some businesses enter the cloud.

In this case, IT departments can raise the suggestion of going hybrid when they're faced with reluctance from management. Offering both security and the chance to save money on hosting, it could be the model that really speaks to those with little or no experience with the cloud but an opinion in regards to why it might be a risk.

For some businesses, this might be the only way that cloud can really work for them, which is why hybrid is by no means exclusive to those who have gone public or private before.

Added simplicity 

Going hybrid brings a reduction of management costs as a result of less data being house on-site. It's a common misconception that flicking between public and private storage also brings more complications, as trusting some of the less sensitive forms of data with a third party can actually simplify the existing server infrastructure.

Less files in house should result in a reduction in the number of servers kept on premises, which makes the process of running the IT infrastructure and even finding an application easier than with a strictly private model. Not only this, the more data is moved to public servers, the more money is saved on cooling and energy costs. 

There is the ongoing cost of datacentre rental to contend with, while the continued use of local servers still leaves the company dependent on a working internet connection for access to certain cloud-based applications.

Still, as hybrid cloud presents a combination of the private and public models, these are both downsides to going into cloud in general. Companies are fully aware of the costs involved with moving into the cloud, but going hybrid might be the answer to gaining more flexibility, scalability and efficiency for the price.

With this in mind, there's certainly a future for the best of both worlds.

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