99 problems but the cloud ain’t one: Why Hybrid Cloud?

When cloud technology started to gain traction with businesses the main concerns expressed were over data security and control. Customers questioned what compromises they would have to make with their on-premise infrastructure to reap the benefits of cloud computing.

However, the cloud has developed significantly over the past few years, and the emergence of hybrid cloud has allowed businesses to reap the benefits of lower cost public cloud offerings whilst keeping control of their most prized and sensitive data on-premise.

Hybrid cloud is any combination of public and private computing combined with existing on-premise infrastructure which is tailored to fit each individual business’ needs. With hybrid cloud, organisations are able to invest in both public and private cloud offerings from different vendors, giving them more flexibility and control.

These platforms operate independently whilst cross communicating with one another, allowing data to be shared. Hybrid cloud allows businesses to find the balance between their in-house IT infrastructure and public cloud services.

Due to the flexibility and potential cost savings that the hybrid cloud model offers, we are seeing businesses of all sizes and from all sectors shifting towards the adoption of these solutions. In a recent NaviSite survey, a staggering 89 per cent of respondents signified that deploying some sort of private cloud and hybrid infrastructure is a key priority for them in 2015.

There has been a particular interest from vertical markets which are looking to outsource some of their IT infrastructure in order to focus on other business demands. The survey also revealed that 31 per cent of UK respondents said that a service provider’s ability to unlock tangible cost savings on existing IT spend was one of the top reasons why they are considering the investment.

This is where the hybrid cloud model can really benefit businesses which are looking to reduce IT spending without losing the top focus of reliability, continuity, security, compliance and agility.

Although hybrid cloud has a clear set of benefits it can be difficult to implement. We wish that deploying a Hybrid Cloud model was as simple as creating a VPN tunnel between the two solutions and making it functional, but unfortunately it is not as simple and straightforward as that. There are challenges to ensure compatibility of the chosen cloud solutions and existing in-house infrastructure – both at a networking layer as well as the application layer.

The design needs to be well crafted to ensure that the differing infrastructure models can be fully integrated. This represents a paradigm shift from the traditional cloud computing model which positions all of IT operating from the cloud to a whole new realm of possibilities that never existed before and can now be explored.

The hybrid cloud model allows a lot of opportunities for business from scalability to agility – at the same time as delivering cost effectiveness for the business. It can be a highly rewarding experience if it is successfully deployed, however it can be a frustrating experience to set up which can restrain the business to be able to reap the benefits of the Hybrid Model.s

There is a clear appetite for businesses who want to take cloud offerings to the next level – and that is exactly what a hybrid cloud solution provides. The model of Infrastructure-as-a-Service is now commoditising with vendors offering services to quickly migrate legacy infrastructure to an existing cloud option – whether private or public.

There are customers in specific verticals who have been reluctant to move to the cloud primarily because of control and security concerns. With the development of hybrid cloud, businesses are now able to move a considerable amount of their infrastructure to the cloud whilst still remaining in control of their most sensitive data. This also allows cautious customers to follow a staggered approach, evaluating all the possibilities on offer to them.

The hybrid cloud model provides a lot of opportunities for businesses - from scalability to agility – at the same time as offering a cost effective solution.

The key to deploying a successful hybrid cloud model is to fully understand which datasets and applications will best be suited to physical hosting, a cloud environment and to work with trusted providers to ensure that you can capitalize on the best platform for your business needs in a fully integrated manner.

Vivek Vahie is senior director at Navisite India.