Cloud and on-premise computing environments come with their own strengths and limitations and it may not be clear which is the right approach for you. The ideal solution may lie somewhere in the middle: a hybrid IT solution
Throughout this article, we will discuss the architecture of a hybrid cloud and how this unique structure will provide a company with increased flexibility without needing to compromise on the price tag.
We will cover the following topics:
- What is a hybrid cloud?
- Advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid cloud solution
- When is a hybrid cloud the right solution?
This article is part of a series on Hybrid IT.
What Is a Hybrid Cloud?
A hybrid cloud is the integration of a public cloud with private cloud or on-premise resources. The idea is to take advantage of both environment types.
Private clouds and on-premise environments offer companies greater control over their computing resources, as well as security. The organization manages all of the infrastructure, and they can customize it to match its specific needs. However, an entirely proprietary IT environment is costly to run and maintain, especially as a company grows and more server space is needed.
Public clouds, on the other hand, offer scalability and are easier to manage, because the cloud provider takes care of the maintenance of the infrastructure. Using a public cloud is cheaper, but it may provide less flexibility and control over critical factors such as storage security.
Many organizations opt for hybrid clouds to balance the advantages and disadvantages of public clouds and private infrastructure. As needs and cost requirements change, companies can transfer tasks between their public and private clouds. This provides companies with the flexibility and security they need, while giving them a scalable and cost-effective solution.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
The architecture of a hybrid cloud typically includes an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. The main IaaS platforms are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud platform. A private cloud is one in which resources are. These can be stored on premises or off premises. Lastly, a hybrid cloud management requires a wide area network (WAN) to connect the public and private clouds.
- Flexibility and scaling—hybrid clouds allow you to store sensitive and frequently used data in your private cloud or data center, while storing other data, such as backup and archives, on a public cloud. A hybrid solution also provides you with agility in case you need to increase or decrease your resources as needed on a short notice. If you suddenly need additional storage space for a few months due to increased seasonal demands, you can purchase additional space on a public cloud with short notice and without needing to invest in servers that you only need temporarily.
- Cost saving—the cost of running and maintaining a private cloud or data center can increase quickly, especially as a business grows. A hybrid cloud solution allows you take advantage of the relatively cheap public cloud storage space, while still using a private cloud for data that is frequently used or sensitive in nature. While a hybrid cloud is more expensive than just using a public cloud, it is substantially cheaper than using solely a private cloud.
- Infrastructure—a hybrid infrastructure allows a company to maintain their legacy on premise servers, while integrating with a public cloud in a way that is not disruptive to daily operations. This can be done by progressively integrating with a public cloud, while running the most critical operations from the private cloud.
- More resources needed—while a hybrid solution is cheaper than depending solely on a private cloud, it is more resource intensive than using a public cloud exclusively. For small companies with limited IT resources, it may not be viable to build and maintain a private cloud, as this requires cloud architects to build the infrastructure and IT staff to manage it. However, smaller companies can hire managed services providers to utilize their infrastructure instead of building it themselves.
- Less control—a company sacrifices some control when using a hybrid cloud. For operations to run smoothly, hybrid clouds require strong integration between the public and private environments. This means that the private infrastructure needs to be adapted to possible changes in the public cloud, over which you do not have any control.
When is a Hybrid Cloud the Right Solution?
A hybrid cloud’s architecture gives companies a balanced solution between a public cloud and a private or on-premise environment.
It could be the right solution for a company that requires substantial agility. This can happen when a company has a diverse client base with different security, regulatory, and processing requirements. In today’s regulatory climate, this may be especially relevant. In addition, it enables you to run SaaS solutions that can only be used on secure private networks.
A hybrid cloud architecture is also a good solution for a company that does not want to compromise on the advantages provided by public and private clouds. Moreover, a hybrid cloud is a strategic approach as it prevents you from being locked in to a single vendor. As your infrastructure will already be split between two systems, it will be easier to migrate to a different public cloud when a better model enters the market.
Set Up a Hybrid Cloud with Cloudian
Adopting a hybrid cloud infrastructure allows you to take advantage of the scale and flexibility of the public cloud, while maintaining the security and control of a private cloud or data center. It also allows you to pursue a tiered storage strategy for maximum cost-efficiency.
You can simplify the process of setting up and maintaining a hybrid cloud with Cloudian, which offers an off-cloud object storage platform called HyperStore. Cloudian’s solution is infinitely scalable and can be integrated with various cloud services and on-premise environments. For example, it is S3 API compliant and supports intelligent search and analytic functions.
HyperStore has the added benefit of offering a cloud-like structure and searchability, with the use of metadata. It is easy to manage, allowing you to create policies for replication scheduling, lifecycle time, erasure coding and more.