What is Hybrid Cloud?
A hybrid cloud combines different computing environments – public clouds and private clouds, consisting of “edge locations” or “on-premises data centers”. It helps businesses manage and transfer workloads across other cloud infrastructures to increase efficiency, lower cost, and boost the existing capabilities to strengthen digital transformation initiatives.
Enterprise Hybrid cloud computing includes resources and services from different cloud infrastructures. Further, the information is shared and synchronized by deploying integration, orchestration, and coordination techniques. It is essential to have reliable hybrid cloud networking for hybrid cloud deployment to work effectively across on-premises data centers or edge locations. LAN (Local Area Network), WAN (Wide Area Network), VPN (Virtual Private Network), and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are used to establish the connectivity between the environments.
A hybrid cloud deploys virtualization, containerization, storage tools, and software-defined networking to access and accumulate resources. Businesses can use a hybrid cloud to migrate applications quickly and fulfill regulatory compliance.
Scale Computing Resources and Limit Costs
Using a hybrid cloud, an organization can scale computing resources and limit the huge cost of managing spikes in demand. In addition, hybrid clouds give businesses the flexibility to free up local resources to store and run more sensitive data and applications when needed.
Limit Public Access
Hybrid clouds also provide a means for companies to limit the public cloud’s access to their entire data pool by reserving public cloud use for handling overflow only, ensuring stronger cyber security. Furthermore, by capping their use of the public cloud, an enterprise can take advantage of paying for just the resources they need rather than maintaining additional infrastructure that remains idle much of the time.
Not surprisingly, since hybrid cloud computing began, its popularity has grown tremendously and traditional data outsourcing has declined. In fact, the hybrid cloud market is expected to reach $128 billion by 2025 with 98% of companies planning to use the environment.
How does a hybrid cloud environment work?
Businesses use hybrid cloud services by mixing local, on-premises resources with private cloud and third-party public cloud services. An organization splits instrumentation between the three so workloads can move between the public and private cloud platforms as computing needs change.
Fundamentally, a hybrid cloud model works by sharing information between onsite and offsite platforms. Interconnectivity between the platforms is achieved first through data virtualization followed by connective tools and protocols such as APIs (application programming interfaces), VPNs (virtual private networks), and/or WANs (wide area networks).
But the process of managing a hybrid cloud model is much more than merely lifting and shifting applications into the cloud. An IT department also needs to configure resources to enable them to communicate. In addition, there’s the time needed to train users and ensure both successful deployment and maintenance over the long haul that add to the investment.
As such a resource-heavy project, switching to hybrid cloud computing should be carefully considered. While this mixed environment provides businesses with greater flexibility and more data deployment options, it can mean IT departments will struggle to handle the increased complexity.
What are the benefits of using a hybrid cloud?
A hybrid cloud deploys virtualization, containerization, storage tools, and software-defined networking to access and accumulate resources. Businesses can use a hybrid cloud to migrate applications quickly and fulfill regulatory compliance. Most companies use a hybrid cloud model to benefit in the following ways:
- Simplify operations
- Reduce risk
- Increase workload efficiency
- Broaden capacity to meet spikes in demand
- Reduce costs
- Comply with effective regulatory governance and security
With all these hybrid cloud advantage , a hybrid cloud model increases an enterprise’s overall agility and flexibility, changing the time to offer new services from months to hours. Also, it results in improved developer productivity as developers can iterate, test, and deploy new applications offsite, reducing the need for many personnel to manage the process. In addition, IT departments can also reduce their on-premises cloud infrastructure, thus saving on major capital investments. Some other benefits of a hybrid cloud include improved performance, flexible operations, and improved ROI to accelerate their digital transformation journey.
Moreover, with a hybrid cloud model, developers can create and modify their cloud infrastructure requirements themselves using the software. That power also adds to faster innovation and infrastructure efficiency.
How do enterprises use hybrid cloud?
For each enterprise that transitions to hybrid cloud, various types of users deploy different operations to benefit the entire organization.
IT decision makers can:
- Automate the provisioning and management of on-premises and cloud resources
- Enable rapid virtual machine (VM) and container vending
- Accelerate the development process to bring new products to market faster than ever before
- Ensure cloud development self-service
- Turn a VM cluster into a private cloud
- Turn containers and bare metal into private clouds
- Connect to any provider
- Intelligently scale infrastructure
Developers can take advantage of cloud environments that:
- Are fast-moving
- Include streamlined development project workspaces
- Have complete self-service provisioning, tools, and access to a catalog of curated tools, templates, and resources
Chief information officers (CIOs) can improve productivity with hybrid cloud technologies that:
- Are capable of quickly turning up new services
- Can migrate IT thinking away from operations and toward applications
Line of business executives can keep an eye on cost/productivity and use platforms and systems that help them to:
- Directly achieve their goals without constant IT intervention
- Enhance their individual service levels
- Improve the overall health of the business
Why do enterprises use the hybrid cloud?
Enterprises use hybrid cloud for the following reasons:
- Optimizing workload: Hybrid cloud offers the flexibility to run critical workloads on dedicated infrastructure for security and compliance.
- Resource scalability: Businesses can scale resources up or down based on demand. This helps them utilize the existing resources during increased workloads without spending additional money to buy new resources and prevent underutilization during regular hours.
- Business continuity: The hybrid cloud replicates the data and application between private and public clouds to ensure business continuity during system failures or outages.
- Low cost: Businesses can choose affordable infrastructure for different workloads. Also, the pay-as-you-go model is an excellent way to optimize costs.
What are the components of a Hybrid Cloud?
By understanding the key components of a hybrid cloud, enterprises can harness the potential of its robust architecture and exploit the available features to enhance their cloud strategy and bring digital transformation.
- On-premises data center: The on-premises data centers refer to the data centers housed within an organization's premises. They include storage systems, servers, network infrastructure, and hardware that help you manage an organization's data and applications. You can run private clouds on the on-premises infrastructure by virtualizing compute resources.
- Public cloud: The public cloud is a cloud computing model in which computing resources and services are delivered over the Internet with the help of a third-party service provider. These include virtual machines, storage, applications, and develop-and-deploy environments and are provided to various enterprises with the same infrastructure. Enterprises can use the public cloud services on a pay-as-you-go model and be free to add or remove resources as needed.
- Private cloud: Private cloud is a cloud computing setup available for a single enterprise dedicatedly and offers high security and customization compared to the public cloud. Also, it offers benefits such as access control, flexibility, scalability, and ease of service delivery. Businesses opt for private clouds to maintain the privacy and integrity of confidential documents, personally identifiable information, intellectual property, and other vulnerable data. The private cloud is also a single-tenant setup, as all the resources are available to one client only.
- Hybrid cloud management platform: The hybrid cloud management platform combines private and public cloud environments and allows you to control, provision, and automate the workloads of both cloud infrastructures. It enables the effective utilization of resources, quick integration, and unified control over the deployments on the hybrid cloud. You must follow the security and governance policies, understand the workload inventory, and agree to the service level agreements. Hybrid cloud management offers self-service, service aggregation, workload management, cost analytics, management, release, and deployment orchestration capabilities.
- Hybrid cloud automation and orchestration: Cloud orchestration centralizes the management of automated tasks within multiple cloud systems to a single platform. Centralizing control via an orchestration layer allows the creation of interconnected workflows that span multi-cloud environments. Workload automation orchestrates any hybrid environment - hybrid or multi-cloud. When automated, cloud jobs and essential task workloads are taken care of in a fraction of the time, boosting business efficiency and productivity.
What are the challenges of a Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid cloud environments face many challenges which businesses must address to prevent data breaches and severe negative outcomes. Planning strategically and implementing the right measures to avoid these challenges is essential.
- Security: Maintaining the privacy of all the information stored on the cloud is essential. Irrespective of the fact that cloud service companies assure data integrity, it is critical to have strict security controls to prevent data breaches, keep an eye on access management, and follow compliance standards with the help of data encryption techniques and monitoring access controls. Some common attacks include malware attacks and identity thefts; these can lead to potential losses in terms of money and reputation.
- Networking: Hybrid cloud environments face challenges such as the complexity of network configuration, bandwidth limitations, and network latency. Establishing efficient connections between the on-cloud and on-premises cloud environments is sometimes difficult through VPN connections or leased lines. Also, implementing security techniques such as encryption, intrusion detection systems, and firewalls sometimes becomes daunting. It is essential to have adequate bandwidth and lower the latency to facilitate data transfer between the cloud environments.
- Cost: While transferring large amounts of data between different cloud environments, businesses may face additional costs, which include the fee charged by service providers or optimization of data migration strategies to lower costs. Also, businesses need different software solutions and licenses, which may result in extra costs if they are not managed properly. Some other costs include operations costs (monitoring, management, and support), vendor lock-in costs (working with different cloud service vendors), and hybrid cloud infrastructure costs (software, hardware, and networking equipment).
- Observability: provides the ability to measure a system’s current state based on the data it generates. It provides a thorough understanding of the distributed system by examining all the inputs available. Unlike cloud monitoring solutions that use dashboards to display performance indicators so IT teams can find and fix problems, observability platforms use logs, traces, and metrics gathered from your entire infrastructure to alert you of potential problems before they even arise. While observability is a powerful tool for cloud native architectures, it’s not without its limitations. Dynamic, multi-cloud environments are increasingly complex, and many legacy observability platforms have a hard time connecting correlation to causations, and realizing which actions, features, apps, and experiences drive business impacts. Siloed infra, dev, ops, and business teams cause many key insights to become lost or come to the surface too late.
- Load balancing: Cloud workload balancing distributes workloads across computing environments, balancing the network traffic accessing each of them. Organizational workload demands can be met by routing incoming traffic to multiple servers, networks, or other resources. At the same time load balancing can improve performance and protect against disruptions in service provision. Not only does workload or load balancing distribute service demands between platforms, but it can also distribute them across multiple geographies. Cloud-based load balancing can improve performance and lower cost by taking advantage of hybrid cloud-based scalability, availability, and agility to meet distributed workload demands.
- Data accessibility: Cloud, and by extension hybrid cloud environments have a requirement to provide data protection. Data accessibility to the right users is the focus of security and protection policies, particularly when data is distributed across multiple cloud platforms and locations. A hybrid cloud increases the risks of experiencing a significant data breach within its ecosystem, though on the other hand providing access to user groups is required to engender productivity and growth for the organization. Providing access as widely as possible while maintaining robust security, privacy, and compliance is the equation facing security, CloudOps, and DevSecOps teams.
- Multi-cloud ITOps: The role of ITOps in a multi-cloud environment differs from traditional techniques and methodologies in traditional on-premises environments. In a hybrid cloud, the focus needs to be streamlining and automating management tasks. As the goal of ITOps is to provide a high-performing and consistent IT environment it has to address the growing workload shifted to cloud platforms, where complexity increases and is linked to legacy on-premises environments. ITOps functions focus on the management of workload performance of key applications, core system functionality and reliability, and overall performance through change configuration automation. In many organizations, depending on the depth of adoption of the hybrid cloud, ITOps teams are evolving into CloudOps teams that integrate DevOps and security departments.
What is the future of the Hybrid Cloud?
With the rapid advancement of technology, the hybrid cloud’s future is promising and transformative. Businesses need hybrid solutions to address their fundamental problems and revolutionize their operations. The future brings significant innovation, improved ROI, and infrastructure efficiency that helps them harness the potential of a hybrid cloud.
Growing demand for hybrid cloud solutions:
- Hybrid cloud-native applications: The escalating development of cloud-native applications has spurred the demand for hybrid cloud solutions that offer quick integration between the public and on-premises cloud environments. Businesses can enhance the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud and have strong control over their information assets and applications.
- Edge computing and IoT: The advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and real-time processing prompts the need for a hybrid cloud environment to connect edge devices with data centers. By deploying the hybrid cloud architecture, enterprises can process and analyze data at the edge and harness the potential of cloud storage and analytics.
- Hybrid cloud management and orchestration: To handle the complexity of hybrid cloud environments, businesses need management and orchestration tools to control, automate, and get a single view of all data across different cloud environments. Hybrid cloud management solutions need to offer advanced management capabilities to manage operations and amplify the usage of resources.
Challenges that need to be addressed:
- Data integration and interoperability: Since the hybrid cloud includes integrating applications and data that spans different platforms, it is quite challenging to maintain the integrity, security, consistency, and interoperability of data. It is essential to have advanced capabilities and standard protocols that protect data and deliver seamless communication in various environments.
- Security and compliance: The data spans different locations and cloud service providers, making it critical to ensure the security and compliance of all hybrid cloud setups. Businesses must adopt and implement strong privacy and protection measures such as identity and access management and threat detection to safeguard information assets.
- Cost optimization: The hybrid cloud models have dynamic pricing models and require various other software and solution licenses. Businesses need advanced cost management tools and tactics to lower costs, enhance resource allocation and utilization, and improve cost efficiency.
The modern operating model to support edge-to-cloud IT:
- Unified cloud experience Moving to hybrid cloud platforms is one of the core determinations of adopting a modern IT operating model. A unified cloud experience for all workloads is aimed at accelerating time to meet digital ambitions. It requires focused effort and priority across the entire operating model to provide the speed, agility, control, and IT economics that a hybrid cloud approach can provide.
- More than infrastructure: A modern operating model is more than the infrastructure platform, it requires a cultural shift that spans people and business processes, as well as the technology stack.
- Capability maturity: The modern operating model requires maturity across core capabilities, such as strategy and governance, people, security, data, applications, operations, DevOps, and innovation. The capability mix determines the effectiveness of the modern operating model.
How can HPE help you modernize with hybrid cloud?
HPE brings agility to apps and data to eliminate complexity and silos and drive speed and flexibility with common tools, processes, and automation. We’ll help you address the non-cloud native apps that are slowing you down and get you on the path to a unified, modern cloud strategy. You can take advantage of many of our solutions to make a clean transition.
Develop a cloud road map to prepare people, processes, and technology for holistic cloud transformation with the HPE Transformation Program for Cloud service.
Shift to agile IT solutions with HPE Pointnext Services. With HPE Pointnext, you get advice on IT strategy to transform hybrid cloud environments, take advantage of AI, and innovate at the edge.
Bring the cloud experience to your non-cloud-native apps with HPE Ezmeral Container Platform. Containerize monolithic applications to improve efficiency, increase agility, and provide portability—rebuilding and refactoring apps that need to move to the cloud.
Manage your ultimate hybrid cloud estate with HPE GreenLake so you can more effectively run, manage, and optimize your entire hybrid estate. Simply point and click to get a single integrated view into the cost, governance, performance, and security status of your hybrid estate, as well as comprehensive compliance capabilities and broader cost insights and analytics.