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Anyone who first comes across cloud computing services could be a bit confused—there are plenty of cloud architecture types that handle diverse tasks and business goals. Somewhere in the middle is hybrid cloud architecture. Whether it can tackle all business demands, which benefits the hybrid cloud has, and how to build it properly are the questions we will clear up in this article.

Cloud Differences

The cloud computing architecture is vast, diverse, and covers functions from transferring and storing information to analyzing it with the help of inherited tools like big data management systems. There are so many variants of cloud solutions—private, public, hybrid multi-clouds, distributed infrastructure—that users often do not understand the peculiarities of each of them. Thus, they can use computing systems that do not meet their business demands or even are dangerous for sensitive corporate information.

The basic types of cloud architectures can be grouped as follows:

  • Public cloud architecture
  • Private cloud architecture
  • Hybrid cloud architecture—a mix of both

Public clouds store data in an internet-accessible data center of another company. 

This means that any registered user with an account can share its resources with other customers. In such a case, parties avoid the costs of maintaining this platform and need to pay only for the storage of their information. Common examples of public clouds are IaaS providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

Unlike shareable cloud solutions, private clouds are designed exclusively for one client and are costlier than public. Such storage can be maintained and managed in on-site data centers, either by a client or a third party.

Private clouds are not versatile, whereas public cloud networks are risky for processing sensitive customer data. With this in mind, stepping up the technology by combining the major features of cloud computing using multi-cloud systems seems to be the best decision. This architecture is called hybrid or multi-cloud.

The hybrid cloud market evolves fast globally—in 2020, it was worth 56 billion U.S. dollars, and by 2026 it is expected to reach 145 billion U.S. dollars. 

What is Hybrid Cloud Architecture

A hybrid cloud approach integrates public cloud technologies with in-house computing and specially designed private cloud resources. In other words, it’s when data from an enterprise warehouse can be replicated or augmented in-house and externally. That’s why businesses when dealing with lots of data and edge computing, use such services—they are more effective. 

What more benefits can a hybrid cloud system give your company? This infrastructure deals well with fluctuations and changes in business processes, as it allows shifting from private to public cloud-based operations and vice versa by demand. Moreover, although public and in-house data centers, cloud resources, and workloads of datasets interoperate and are managed together, they stay distinct, and the functions are divided.

People transfer data from one cloud to another

Why Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud benefits a business by supporting fast-moving digital business transformation. In the era of fast changes and demand for digital services, business needs to globally accommodate changes as soon as possible. Using this cloud architecture, companies can balance the pros and cons of public and on-premises solutions far faster. As a result, more than 80% of enterprises worldwide have already integrated hybrid cloud solutions into their daily routines. Moreover, a hybrid cloud infrastructure can serve as a model used for compliance, regulatory issues, and data sovereignty.

The basis of hybrid clouds lies in interconnectivity. These solutions help businesses work with datasets by having a certain strategy, building firm and stable connections within the system in the cloud, and fulfilling tasks more effectively—and at the same time, safely. And how well your hybrid cloud works—the workloads move, management and processes take place—depends on whether the connected network is well-developed.

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Solutions 

The mixed cloud approach embraces the best elements of in-house and shareable cloud solutions. Still, the major hybrid cloud benefits can be summed up in 3 features—flexible, economic and safe.

Flexibility: Hybrid multi-cloud architecture is agile. Due to broadband connection within interconnected services, your data moves between the private and public clouds flexibly. Thus, clients can freely decide what information to share and what to manage in a single IT architecture with the help of their own resources. As a result, businesses have more options to meet their demands and needs, and can deploy data in the most effective ways regarding budget changes.

Cost-effective: Another hybrid cloud advantage is that such computing services save costs for maintaining the solutions or systems based on this architecture—no expenses on technical support, labor, and development. Moreover, the company’s data department is free to choose the configuration, service provider, and location for each service. For example, multi-cloud solutions can be easily scaled, redeployed, or reduced when necessary. Entities can manage resources with the relevant task without extra expenditures. And if they require some data temporarily, redirecting it to an external provider will be more beneficial. 

Those organizations that depend on private corporate data centers and infrastructure require enough servers to meet customer expectations in high activity periods. This is not cost-friendly for them—if during peak demand a business requires 600 servers and during average periods half of these servers can tackle the load, buying 300 extra points leads to irrelevant IT spending and false utilization of IT resources.

In turn, a company that integrates a hybrid cloud approach could place 300 servers on-premises and, if demand is too high, involve public cloud providers and get extra resources temporarily. Eventually, such cloud infrastructure can result in lower IT spending and a higher efficiency rate.

Security: When cyber threats become more obvious and dangerous for businesses, it is vital to embed technologies that will prevent your sensitive corporate data from leaking. A hybrid cloud architecture that is developed, integrated, and maintained appropriately can be a strong defense against security risks. Mixed infrastructure is safe—not less than a traditional private IT environment—when your data is transferred between departments or locations. Placing information both in internal and external data centers can help organizations increase cloud storage and, therefore, enforce cyber defense.

Are There Any Other Hybrid Options?

People transfer data from one cloud to another

Apart from hybrid cloud, there is a multi-cloud approach, that customers interpret interchangeably and incorrectly. Hybrid clouds and multi-clouds have one thing in common—both systems apply several clouds. Still, while multi-cloud approaches use the combination of clouds of the same type, for example, two public clouds, hybrid cloud architecture integrates private cloud and public cloud functions.

Both variants are effective for business, just in different use cases. If your goal is to avoid risks of a single cloud provider or store data in numerous places—a multi-cloud approach is a good option. Alternatively, if your company has developed on-premises IT infrastructure, it’s good to enforce it with an external public solution.

Hybrid Cloud Limitations

Despite flexibility and differentiation, hybrid solutions have a few restrictions. One is its higher price compared to solely public cloud usage. If the business does not have enough in-house IT specialists to build an on-premises cloud, it will cost its management a lot to find a skilled outsourcing company specializing in cloud solutions for its design, maintenance, and development when changes in the public cloud occur.

This also means you have less control over the hybrid cloud. Integration between the public and private platforms should be strong; thus, private infrastructure shall align with possible changes in the public environment. The business has no control over public cloud technology algorithms and never knows how its data is processed and where it is allocated.

How You Can Use It: The Hybrid Cloud in Practice

People transfer data from one cloud to another

The best illustration of how organizations can take advantage of hybrid solution benefits is a practical case. Japanese firm Fujitsu deployed a hybrid cloud architecture to increase its service base and improve revenue. The decision to pay attention to cloud solutions could be unobvious at first glance, but it is effective. Fujitsu used an external provider to help engineering teams develop the in-house system integration within the company. Now they offer Hybrid IT services to other companies.

Another hybrid cloud example is Ducati, who enforced the engineering and design departments. Ducati integrated a range of hybrid cloud solutions aimed at disaster recovery and data protection developments, renewal of the computing cluster and data center consolidation, as well as modernization of the entire IT infrastructure. 

In the world of communication, Verizon, an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate, thanks to integrated mixed cloud-based solutions, were able to expand their data center facilities meeting high security and compliance requirements. Other active users of hybrid cloud solutions are innovative US companies such as Inifinidat, Ensono, Unitas Global, and DXC Technology. 

So, the mix of public and private clouds can be effective in all spheres that regularly deal with data—fintech, banking, education, government sector, healthcare, telecommunications, and other B2B and B2C market segments. How is this possible? Let’s imagine you have a huge scope of information, or it changes frequently. In such a case, you can use an easily-scalable public cloud for dynamic workloads and inject more stable or sensitive data to a private cloud or an on-premises data center. Or if you are not sure what type of cloud solution works best for the enterprise, you can allocate workloads between a public cloud and a small private cloud and decide between the two—or use both.

What Things Matter?

People transfer data from one cloud to another

With so many types and specifications of cloud solutions, it can be difficult to select the right mix of cloud services. To help you opt for the optimal solution, we recommend you to ask the following questions to clear up the differences: 

Is it easy to use? The business implements hybrid cloud solutions to support and optimize the migration of data into the cloud. This means that the process should be fast and save time and money by managing it. If the architecture is too sophisticated, it could slow the data transfer and analyses down.

Is your data secured? You would better compare how each cloud provider controls data migration and storage. You can investigate the differences in such security features as authentication, Object Lock, and encryption. This will protect your data from incorrect interference, alteration, or leaking.

Are there any additional hidden costs? Some cloud providers charge additional fees for operations with information such as filtering, reorganizing, or removing data from the cloud. Unobvious fees make maintenance and switching between providers more expensive. Thus, you should straighten out the pricing model and extra options that the cloud provider offers. A good thing is to compare some options in a spreadsheet to see the proposition with your own eyes. 

Is speed high? You need to check the data speed offered by the provider—it should be high enough to meet your demands. Moreover, check whether the speed mentioned initially is the final one. Sometimes providers require extra fees for better cloud operation. It’s a kind of different offer—basic vs. professional. You decide for yourself if you are ready to wait longer to not pay extra monthly or opt for a “pro” solution. The same goes for storage—more space for more money.

Is infrastructure good at operability and orchestration? The key benefit of the hybrid cloud approach is flexibility and interconnectivity—one operation can support or substitute another. The absence of proper integration architecture could lead to extra financial and labor costs. So, to run the service effectively, you need to be aware of the provider integration ecosystem features. 

Recommendation for the End

To work properly in your company, a hybrid cloud model shall meet your goals and operations—it is not a heal-all. The leading role is given to the speed with which your system is able to transfer data and particular cloud specifications—such as provider, connection, technical limitations, etc. Lower speed means not so significant performance.

Hybrid and multi-clouds can help companies differentiate information and keep it safe if it deals with sensitive data or huge workloads. Organizations that adopt a hybrid cloud infrastructure get the strongest features of both public and private platforms. Thus, they are able to take advantage of the scalability, adaptability, high speed, and diversification that it gives. Such features help increase business performance to the maximum level while being cost-effective at the same time.

Still, what works for one business may not be suitable for another, even within the same industry. An entirely public, cloud-based solution can be the best if you are small, as data flows are not so dynamic or budgets might be tight. 

You need to try and find out the best way that brings results.If you want to integrate cloud solutions into your business and seek a proper combination, but don’t know which one to choose and how it will help you, feel free to contact us. Our cloud engineers are always happy to help you. 

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