- Making the cloud viable for tentative enterprise businesses, hybrid cloud computing involves an approach that combines the use of both external cloud services and internal infrastructure
- Hybrid models enable businesses to host non-sensitive IT services and data externally, while occupying mission-critical information internally
- Developing and setting up hybrid cloud computing can be complex, with multiple stakeholders, systems and workflows required to operate seamlessly for success
Industry analysts have predicted that 2013 will be the year of the hybrid cloud and the strategies that go with it – as more organisations move towards deploying hybrid cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to supplement their internal applications and infrastructure.
An expansion of its namesake, hybrid cloud computing combines the use of external cloud computing services (public and private) to host non-sensitive IT services and data; and internal infrastructure or applications to host mission-critical IT services and data locally.
The obvious advantage for organisations opting for the hybrid cloud approach is that the each dimension of the business can all be stored distinctively, in the most resourceful environment available.
For example, in the case of an organisation that offers bespoke services for a variety of vertical markets, a public cloud may be the best option for engaging with clients but a highly secure, private cloud is more suitable for hosting sensitive client data. Additional benefits of hybrid cloud computing includes helping organisations to optimise their business functions and performance, while enabling IT departments to work faster, more efficiently and reliably.
However, the downside is that developing and implementing hybrid cloud strategies to leverage the strengths of internal, external, private and public platforms is quite a challenge. For starters, hybrid cloud computing involves engagement with wide range of technologies and solution providers, so the level of complexity and attention required to manage multiple security platforms is substantial.
In addition, it is essential for internal, external, public and private cloud architectures to integrate seamlessly, along with associated data, systems and workflows to ensure effective communication for all aspects of a business.
Checklist: Hybrid cloud computing strategy
As part of a hybrid cloud computing strategy for 2013 and beyond, IT departments are encouraged to accurately consider all factors, some of which include:
- IT architecture and applications
- Security, data management and communication between clouds
- Resource provisioning
- Vendor accountability
- Management, scalability and performance
In the final part of this series, we examine how demands for Big Data, visualisation and analytics, will influence the role of enterprise IT in the year ahead.