Why Hybrid Cloud Computing May Be the Way of the Future

Ipad demonstrates hybrid cloud computingBusinesses of all sizes are increasingly turning to cloud computing as a means of gaining flexibility in deploying and scaling their technology infrastructure.  While some organizations and certain workloads can see cost savings as compared to on-premise hosting, the real value of the cloud for most companies is that it facilitates better cost control.

The question then becomes, “Which cloud computing model should I choose?”

  • Public Cloud?
  • Private Cloud?
  • Hybrid Cloud?

Public cloud computing, such as that offered by Amazon, Microsoft, RackSpace and others, is the most prevalent deployment model in use today.  The costs to enter are the lowest of the three models, and because it is heavily commoditized, it offers effective self-service options. This minimizes the need for on-site technology staff.

Private cloud computing, where the organization creates its own cloud computing infrastructure internally, or has it hosted/managed by a large scale data center provider, is an option that larger enterprises make use of.  The costs are not trivial, and it can take a fair amount of time to put into place. It offers the most security and privacy and customization of the three models.

Smaller organizations, and any organization without a lot of legacy infrastructure, tend to gravitate to the public cloud.  The advantages are quick and easy setup, with lower short-term costs for management of the environment, due to cost-effective self-service controls.

Large enterprises, particularly those with existing distributed data centers, are more prone to leverage their current technology infrastructure and build out their own private clouds.  Private cloud overcomes many of the concerns of privacy and security that dominates the discussion over public cloud, and offers far more in the way of services and functionality that are tailored to the organization.

Mid-sized organizations – and smaller organizations with specialized needs – are starting to find themselves in an interesting position as they look to adopt a cloud computing model.  Many companies find that the public cloud does not offer the level of customization that they need, nor does it cater to any specialized security or compliance or privacy concerns that they might have.  Additionally, the service level agreements (SLAs) in the public cloud are not customer friendly or favorable.  On the opposite side, these companies typically lack the financial clout to pursue a strategy of developing their own private cloud.

For these organizations, a hybrid cloud bridges the gap.  With a hybrid cloud, organizations can leverage the physical and virtualized infrastructure they already own and use, while taking advantage of a cloud vendor’s infrastructure for certain workloads, like web serving.  Hybrid cloud also covers fully hosted scenarios, too, where a cloud provider builds out a portion of the client’s hosted environment with a mix of physical or traditional virtual servers, with the balance in a shared cloud space.

This approach gives cloud providers the ability to design a custom mix of dedicated and shared resources that meet each customer’s needs, while still benefiting from economies of scale, and thus keeping the prices under control.

The increasingly complex regulatory and compliance landscape, and the diversity of customer needs, are driving more and more businesses to look at hybrid cloud computing.  Because public cloud computing is a largely commoditized business, and moving more in that direction every day, the margins for vendors in the public cloud space will shrink, and only a few strong players will stay to dominate that market.  Additionally, as more companies become comfortable with cloud computing, they will begin to need support for more diverse workloads than the public cloud can cost-effectively support.  With fully private clouds will still out of the price range of most companies, the right cloud answer will be the hybrid cloud.

Inevitably, most hosting and co-location providers will be offering some sort of hybrid cloud solution over the next few years. In fact, many of the vendors that claim to offer the “cloud” today, are offering little more than glorified virtualization with a bit of self-service.  They’re already most of the way to a hybrid cloud offering.

The trend of businesses outsourcing their server and infrastructure hosting is on the rise, and with more of those hosting firms using hybrid cloud, the bulk of businesses will eventually adopt hybrid cloud – either as a direct strategy, or as a by-product of their hosting provider’s strategy.

Either way, hybrid cloud computing is going to be the primary cloud computing model in use within the next 2-4 years, because it offers much of what is good about public and private clouds, without much of the risk and inflexibility of the former, and without as much cost and time of the latter.

Andrew BakerAndrew S. Baker is the president and founder of BrainWave Consulting Company, LLC where he provides Virtual CIO services for small/medium businesses.  See Andrew’s complete social presence at XeeMe.com\AndrewBaker

Tags: Cloud Computing,Technology,Uncategorized