By Allie Philpin
The hybrid cloud – a combination of public and private clouds – and the preferred option of many businesses of late as the phenomenon of cloud computing is becoming a part of everyday business (and personal) life. Both public and private clouds have their benefits; public is usually the option for non-critical workloads, whilst the private cloud is chosen for mission critical requirements – hence the growth of the hybrid cloud.
It is fair to say that the hybrid cloud offers businesses the best of both worlds; reduced costs via the public cloud but keeping mission-critical applications in-house, using the private cloud which delivers increased storage capacity, and more. But in addition to the fact that hybrid clouds present a wider platform for security attacks, and that is an area that has to be addressed, there are other aspects that need to be considered as well prior to deploying a hybrid cloud.
Data custody; who owns what? With a private cloud, it’s the business; with a public cloud, the stored data can’t be assured the right ownership and this could lead to differences in data protection and agreements, and the added problem of potential security breaches. According to Gartner reports, different countries have different rules regarding the storage of personal, confidential and sensitive data. Some countries may well impose stricter security rules on data stored in a public cloud, particularly if that data is being stored offshore by a company.
Service availability will always be an issue, and make some companies more hesitant about adopting a cloud infrastructure. The majority of large service providers utilise a number of different network providers ensuring that should one company suffer a failure, it won’t result in a complete loss of service. For this reason though, it is advisable that organisations develop a business continuity strategy should the unthinkable arise.
Yes, software stacks have improved inter-operability between platforms; however, hybrid cloud APIs are still mainly proprietary which makes the extraction of data and programs between sites a little more complicated. Whilst normalising APIs allows SaaS developers to deploy data and services across hybrid clouds, this could lead to price wars between cloud providers.
And then there’s the good, old bottleneck; applications are becoming much more data intensive, they could be ‘stretched’ across cloud boundaries and that may result in confusion in the placement and transport of data. It is important to make sure that where the data is placed and the traffic of data is addressed at every level in order to reduce costs.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cloud computing; the benefits are obvious – better flexibility, improved performance, greater scalability, increased user accessibility, reduced costs… Address all the potential issues and consider all aspects to cloud computing, and you may well find deploying a hybrid cloud something you wish you’d done a long time ago.