Many businesses have been cautious about using cloud computing. This cautiousness is based on concerns that the public access aspect of the cloud raises questions about security and cost. They have preferred to keep their computing services private and in-house. There is now a solution, called hybrid cloud computing, that is making the switch to the cloud easier, safer, and more cost-effective.
Hybrid Cloud Computing Defined
The hybrid cloud is a combination of the public cloud (for example, cloud services offered by data centers) and private computing (computing that just one company or organization uses). The public and public environments communicate with each other over encrypted connections. This way, the company takes advantage of public cloud computing benefits, such as better disaster recovery, and the private server’s ability to manage security and control issues. Hybrid technology also gives the company the flexibility it needs to change its computing needs as business needs change.
As with most computing, the keys are in the details. The private server must have some cloud service in order to properly connect to the cloud provider.
The Advantages of Hybrid Computing
There are many reasons companies are gravitating to the cloud. Some of the better-known reasons are:
- Better control. The private infrastructure is directly controlled by the company. This can increase access time and decrease wait time between input and output.
- Better cost management of resources. A second hybrid cloud benefit is the ability to better manage resources. This benefit helps the company minimize costs while maximizing performance. Costs can be minimized by decreasing the need for the most expensive in-house private server while also decreasing the amount of funds that need to be spent for third-party cloud services. Storage costs can also be lower with a hybrid cloud.
- Better management of changing customer demands. A private server, for example, can be used to handle normal daily workloads while the public cloud can be used to handle those times when the business workload is especially heavy. Many retail businesses have high loads during the December holiday season. Some businesses are extra-busy during the ends of their fiscal year. Schools may be busiest during exam time while tax companies are busied in the early spring.
- Better meshing of technologies. Many companies that use the cloud still need to be able to run their daily operations, such as scheduling and internal emailing. They need to be able to print out reports at the site. The public cloud infrastructure doesn’t always mesh well with the on-site infrastructure. A hybrid solution addresses this problem by minimizing the amount of technology integration that is needed.
- Better security. The business or organization can be sure that outsiders will not have access to the secure data, even if it is encrypted.
The Primary Users of Hybrid Clouds
Financial companies, such as trading companies, are using the hybrid cloud because the cost of physical space (the private server does have to be stored on-site) can be quite expensive. Financial companies can use the private server to manage all of their customer orders and their key intellectual property assets, such as investment algorithms, while using the public cloud to do the financial analytics.
Healthcare providers are also using the cloud to balance the trifold needs of:
- Protecting patient information
- Giving insurance carriers the data they need to make payments
- Complying with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
Other businesses that need to have onsite access to data but also need offsite backups for disaster recovery purposes are using the hybrid cloud as well. Some companies are using the public cloud to do their testing while keeping the plans behind the testing at the private site.