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Hybrid, in theory, provides the pros of both, while offering a far more flexible platform: one that can scale up and down and access the latest technology features of the cloud vendors, whilst maximizing utility of the existing assets on a more predictable capex model.
However, there’s still much confusion around what the hybrid cloud is and isn’t, which is holding back some businesses from achieving the very best from their IT infrastructure.
Clarifying the confusing
It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that hybrid cloud is rarely something that’s decided upon as a primary option – rather, it’s something businesses move to out of necessity.
While small businesses can, with their light infrastructure and minor data footprint, jump straight to a public cloud service relatively easily, for larger organisations it’s a different story. Incumbent enterprise are usually burdened with legacy IT architecture compiled over decades of operation and M&A activity. Trying to move everything to a public cloud service with the click of a button is, unfortunately, impossible which is often why a hybrid half-way house approach is adopted.
The most successful hybrid journeys begin by addressing the application portfolio rather than a straightforward lift and shift. Is there data that is required to stay on premises for contractual reasons? Are there technical, commercial or licensing requirements that demand some form of private cloud too? Where that’s the case (ruling out a cloud-only option), larger organisations are finding that the hybrid cloud – the best of both worlds – is the way forward.
Still, it tends to rely on a matter of rationalizing the application portfolio. How many businesses, for instance, have separate applications that provide duplicate capabilities to separate parts of the business? This usual comes about as a result of M&A activity or via some form of decentralised IT decision making. Understandably, many have taken advantage of a migration to a hybrid cloud system to consolidate their applications and remove such duplication before moving to public cloud.
That’s especially evident in applications that have a cloud-native version available. In lieu of that update being an immediate viable path, parking existing applications on a hybrid cloud is a solid holding position - assuming, of course, that the cost benefits of shifting an application and its data to the cloud outweigh the price of doing so.
A necessity, but still, a useful place to be
What’s ultimately become clear this year is that hybrid cloud is a useful interim place to be. One that’s especially invaluable for organisations whose infrastructure is in a state of some flux. For companies that don’t have an appropriate native cloud option in place, it can be a bridge to better. A full public cloud service is typically the end goal, and the majority of businesses now acknowledge that it’s a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’.
What’s more, there are plenty of solutions currently on the market that make hybrid infrastructure a viable and long-term option. Private cloud platforms such as AWS Outposts and Azure Stack, for example, bring native AWS and Azure services to both data centres and on-site facilities. They’ve also made inroads into the world of hybrid cloud, which in turn demonstrates that major players in this space are working with hybrid in the medium as well as the long term.
Hybrid cloud offers businesses a way to move on from legacy systems without having to transform to a public cloud architecture overnight. It allows organisations to tread a cautious path to becoming cloud-first, offering a beneficial transitional state and the opportunity to plan the next stage of development.