Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Cloud Deployment
A hybrid cloud model that blends public cloud resources with on-premise IT infrastructure is increasing in popularity among enterprises. According to research from RightScale, 67 percent of organizations have opted for a hybrid IT delivery model. While there are significant benefits of using this type of cloud deployment, companies must overcome real challenges in order to leverage it effectively.
Reaping the Benefits
In an IBM survey, 54 percent of executives said they chose a hybrid cloud deployment as a way to lower total cost of ownership. Putting assets in the cloud passes the costs of facility maintenance, power and other expenses onto the service provider. Companies also save by avoiding the hardware refreshes that on-site infrastructure requires every few years. And since public cloud services are paid for on a subscription basis, they remove the need to purchase and manage software licenses. In this way, the cloud provides enhanced agility, accessibility, flexibility and scalability.
Furthermore, cloud hosting can strengthen customer-facing applications — especially those involving online financial transactions — by validating the identity of a customer quickly and efficiently through the cloud interface. The public cloud also caters to dynamic workloads that experience fluctuations in intensity based on the season. For example, during holiday periods, some online services experience huge spikes in demand. The cloud allows companies to address those spikes without overprovisioning services throughout the rest of the year.
Hybrid Cloud Challenges
The hybrid model doesn’t come without its difficulties, however. With the worldwide shortage of skilled IT professionals, particularly in the security field, not every organization has the required skill set in-house to ensure compatibility between on-site and off-site environments. Connecting data between public and on-premise systems can also rack up costs, because the process often requires integrating applications and data to allow for effective information transfer.
To ease the burden of a hybrid deployment, organizations can make use of cloud brokerage services that provide visibility and governance objectives, as well as application migration, integration and optimization.
In addition, the hybrid cloud gives organizations less ability to administer, monitor and secure applications and data that are hosted off-site. Companies have to rely on the service provider and trust the conditions of the contract. And because public cloud services suffer outages from time to time, certain applications and services may be unavailable during downtime. This can put a drain on productivity and reduce revenue if customers can’t access the company’s product or service.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Setting up private clouds or running infrastructure in dedicated data centers can be expensive, but especially when sensitive data is involved, this model offers greater security than the public cloud. Organizations must carefully consider which IT elements are best suited to private or on-premise infrastructure and which are candidates for the public cloud. Many companies choose to house highly sensitive data within their own data center, where they can protect it with layers of encryption and tight access control. For applications and data that don’t require this same level of security, the public cloud may be the most cost-effective option.