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.
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.
Benefits of hybrid cloud
- Enhanced flexibility and scalability: Hybrid cloud allows dynamic resource scaling across public and private clouds, optimizing performance during peak demand and maintaining control over sensitive data.
- Security and compliance advantages: Hybrid cloud achieves a balance by keeping sensitive data in a secure private cloud, meeting compliance requirements, and offloading non-sensitive workloads to the public cloud, mitigating security risks.
- Optimized cost efficiency: Hybrid clouds optimize costs by allocating workloads strategically; cost-effective public cloud services for non-sensitive tasks and potentially cost-efficient private clouds for mission-critical applications.
- Disaster recovery and business continuity: The hybrid cloud model enhances disaster recovery by replicating critical data across public and private clouds, enabling seamless switching between environments to ensure uninterrupted business operations.
- Improved performance and reduced latency: Hybrid cloud architecture optimizes performance by placing latency-sensitive applications in a private cloud for proximity to end-users, while less sensitive workloads leverage the global infrastructure of public cloud providers, resulting in enhanced user experience.
Implementing hybrid cloud
- Techniques for integration and orchestration: Public and private components must be seamlessly integrated using effective orchestration methods to implement a hybrid cloud. This guarantees uniform administration and communication across various cloud environments.
- Best practices for workload management: To ensure successful hybrid cloud implementation, best practices for workload management must be followed. This involves prioritizing tasks based on sensitivity and criticality, optimizing resource utilization, and ensuring efficient scalability across public and private clouds.
- Hybrid networking strategies: These are effective when on-premises infrastructure is seamlessly integrated with public and private clouds. This integration ensures optimal data transfer and network architecture for seamless communication.
- Data synchronization and consistency: These are crucial for real-time updates and smooth access to information across hybrid environments. Achieving this requires careful planning and implementation, regardless of the cloud location.
Understanding hybrid cloud architecture
- A private cloud is a cloud infrastructure solely operated for a single organization, managed internally or by a third-party provider.
- Here, control, security, and personalization are better than public clouds.
- Compliance, sensitive data, and high-performance or custom applications are ideal for private clouds.
Public cloud services:
- Third parties provide public cloud services to numerous enterprises and the public.
- You pay-as-you-go for internet resources including processing power, storage, and apps.
- Scalable, affordable, and accessible, public clouds are suited for many applications.
Integration and interoperability:
- To work together, private and public cloud environments must be integrated.
- Cloud service and platform interoperability facilitates data sharing and communication.
- Standards, APIs, and middleware help achieve integration and interoperability.
- A multi-cloud solution uses different cloud providers to satisfy corporate needs.
- Companies can use multiple cloud providers for storage, computation, and specialized services.
- Multi-cloud techniques prevent vendor lock-in, improve dependability, and highlight cloud provider capabilities.
Hybrid cloud design emphasizes integration, interoperability, and multi-cloud solutions by combining private and public cloud systems. This method balances control, security, and customization with cloud computing's scalability, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness.
What is the difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud?
|Involves integrating private and public cloud environments for a unified infrastructure.
|Refers to using multiple cloud services or platforms simultaneously.
|Focuses on seamless orchestration between private and public clouds.
|Emphasizes managing and optimizing services across different cloud providers.
|Chosen for maintaining control over sensitive data on-premises and leveraging public cloud scalability.
|Adopted to avoid vendor lock-in, improve redundancy, and leverage specific provider strengths.
|Complexity is lower compared to managing multiple cloud providers simultaneously.
|Involves managing and coordinating services across different cloud providers, introducing complexities.
|Data and Workload Movement
|Allows seamless movement of data and workloads between private and public clouds.
|Focuses on leveraging specific cloud providers for different applications or services.
|Scalability and Flexibility
|Balances control with scalability and flexibility using a combination of cloud environments.
|Provides flexibility by using services from different providers for diverse organizational needs.
|Integrating private and public clouds to create a unified environment.
|Using multiple cloud providers to avoid vendor lock-in and leverage diverse capabilities.
How to set up a hybrid cloud
- Define your hybrid cloud strategy, including which workloads will use private and public cloud services.
- Choose compatible, secure private and public cloud services that fit your needs.
- Establish strong private-public cloud network connections. To ensure data transmission, VPNs or direct interconnections may be needed.
- Implement data management consistency. Consider latency and bandwidth while synchronizing, sharing, and securing data across both cloud environments.
- Secure data in transit and at rest. Identity management, access restrictions, encryption, and industry standards are included.
- Use integration tools and middleware to connect private and public clouds. Smooth data communication requires APIs and protocols.
- Implement complete monitoring and management tools to measure performance, spot abnormalities, and optimize resource consumption across both cloud environments.
- Make the hybrid cloud infrastructure scalable and agile to dynamically allocate resources based on workload.
- Test thoroughly to find and fix problems. Optimize settings using performance measurements and user input.
- Perform hybrid cloud architecture documentation and IT staff training to manage and troubleshoot the integrated environment.
Carefully planning and implementing procedures to balance private and public cloud services, may provide scalability, flexibility, and security for different workloads in a hybrid cloud.
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.
HPE and hybrid cloud
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) offers a range of solutions and services that align with hybrid cloud strategies, providing organizations with flexibility, scalability, and efficient IT infrastructure management. Here's an overview of some key offerings:
- HPE GreenLake: HPE GreenLake is a suite of cloud services that enables organizations to consume IT resources on a pay-as-you-go model while maintaining control over on-premises infrastructure. It spans a variety of solutions, providing a flexible and scalable approach to hybrid cloud adoption.
- OpsRamp: OpsRamp, a company acquired by HPE, specializes in digital operations management. It helps organizations monitor, manage, and optimize their hybrid IT infrastructure by providing a unified infrastructure and application monitoring, automation, and service management platform.
- HPE Edge-to-Cloud Adoption Framework: The framework gives you a structure and common language to understand where you are in your hybrid cloud journey, helps you benchmark against best practice, and prioritize the right next steps for your organization.
- HPE Right Mix Advisor: An approach to determine strategy for your application modernization program together with identifying the right mix of your hybrid cloud platforms based on organizational objectives, latency, security, sovereignty, cost and more.
- HPE GreenLake for Private Cloud Business Edition: This offering provides businesses with a simplified private cloud solution. It delivers infrastructure as a service (IaaS) with a pay-as-you-go model, allowing organizations to scale resources based on demand without overprovisioning.
- HPE GreenLake for Private Cloud Enterprise: Tailored for larger enterprises, this solution extends the benefits of HPE GreenLake to provide a comprehensive private cloud environment. It includes advanced capabilities for managing complex workloads and ensuring performance at scale.
- HPE Accelerated Migration: Accelerated Migration is a service offering that facilitates the smooth transition of workloads to hybrid cloud environments. It combines expertise, automation, and best practices to accelerate migration, minimizing downtime and risks.
- HPE Edge-to-Cloud Transformation Program: This program focuses on enabling organizations to leverage the power of edge computing combined with cloud services. It provides a framework for seamlessly connecting edge devices and data to cloud infrastructure for enhanced processing and analytics.
- HPE Ezmeral Data Fabric: Part of the HPE Ezmeral container platform, the Data Fabric offers a scalable and distributed file and object storage solution. It supports data-intensive applications and facilitates data mobility across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
- HPE GreenLake for Backup and Recovery: This solution provides a flexible and cost-effective approach to data protection. Organizations can consume backup and recovery services on a pay-as-you-go model, ensuring data resilience without the need for overprovisioned infrastructure.
- HPE GreenLake for Disaster Recovery: Designed for business continuity, this offering enables organizations to implement a disaster recovery solution in a cost-effective manner. It ensures the availability of critical applications and data in the event of a disruption with a consumption-based pricing model.
HPE's portfolio of hybrid cloud solutions cater to various business needs, offering a mix of infrastructure, services, and management tools to support organizations in their digital transformation journey.