What is the Hybrid Cloud?

May 07, 2013

What is the Hybrid Cloud?

BY Chris Brunau

BCDR

It’s often hard to keep track of all the “cloud” lingo out there. Today we tackle the hybrid cloud. What is it and why are companies adopting hybrid solutions?

In deciding among a public, private, or hybrid solution, it’s important to understand which benefits of migrating to the cloud your company values most and align your company’s priorities with the advantages of each type of solution.  The public cloud attracts companies because it’s the most cost-effective solution, while private hosted s popular because it offers the most control.  But for companies that can’t move entirely in one direction or the other, the hybrid cloud can provide the best of both worlds.  Below we describe these three cloud solutions and the advantages of each.

  • Public Cloud: The public cloud is an off-site solution where your data is stored through the resources of a third party provider. It is the most cost-effective solution since there are no upfront costs, hardware or need to build anything in-house.  The downside is that your data is beyond your own firewall, so it’s important to assess the reliability and security of vendors.  But since you’re relying on a third party, you can capitalize on their expertise, trained staff, customer service, and the scalability associated with their services.
  • Private Cloud: The private cloud, on the other hand, is an on-site solution where an organization owns and manages the infrastructure itself but rather than traditional hardware, it is storing data in its own cloud.  The data is within your own firewall and offers the internal data control, but at a higher price, as you still need to pay for hosting, servers, infrastructure, and security.  This solution minimizes third-party risks but may be less scalable and more expensive.
  • Hybrid Cloud: The hybrid cloud is a mixture of these two solutions, where lower priority data is stored on the public cloud and more sensitive data is stored in a private cloud.  It allows you to have some information behind your own firewall but also capitalize on the lower cost and convenience of the public cloud.  Businesses can leverage their existing infrastructure to become more efficient. The hybrid approach can be an excellent way for those hesitant about the cloud to try it out without a full commitment in one direction or the other.  As Rajeev Chawla noted, the advantages of a hybrid cloud extend beyond combining the best of public and private clouds. He credits it with enabling a new generation of solutions superior to hardware and premise-bound predecessors, including cloud migration & integration, cloud cloning, cloud failover, and cloud bursting.

In determining your path to the cloud, consider your organization’s needs - if you need to control 100% of your infrastructure, then the private cloud may be the best solution for your company.  But if you are most interested in minimizing costs and in the convenience of having your data accessible from anywhere, then consider the public cloud.  If these solutions both seem attractive but not entirely appropriate, then consider the hybrid cloud for a balance between the two.

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