February 05, 2015. Technical Cloud Author: David Ellis

Taking a slice of hybrid cloud pie

In his recent round up of the Top Ten technologies, trends and concepts for 2015 David Fearne, Technical Director at Arrow reiterated that hybrid cloud, whether you love or hate the name, is not only here, but also is going to be the big cloud enabler of 2015. For those of us lucky enough to have been working with SaaS, cloud vendors and solutions for several years, it’s easy to assume that hybrid cloud is a familiar term for most IT professionals.

A recent study by Avanade, however, suggested that more than half of IT professionals are not entirely sure what a hybrid cloud is, despite the fact that 71 per cent agreed that hybrid cloud should be one of their key areas of focus in 2015.

In its truest sense, hybrid means that networks operate within a traditional IT infrastructure, as well as running on a private and/or public cloud.

Gartner states: “Hybrid cloud computing refers to policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services.” Put simply, hybrid cloud means that IT service providers can host their servers both on public cloud, and an internal IT infrastructure.

The uncertainty about its definition is particularly surprising as Gartner has forecast that more than half of large enterprises will have adopted a hybrid cloud model by 2017 with the market worth $1.85tr by this time. So what is it that IT professionals are confused about when it comes to hybrid cloud?

 

The term hybrid cloud is a slippery one, and often suffers a lack of clarity. There are currently three definitions circulating, and this could be a reason for this confusion

  • The use of a public and private cloud element to provide a single IT function.
  • A combination of a public cloud and non-cloud technology, such as a traditional on premise data centre.
  • Clouds where the resources are, to some extent either dedicated to one customer and or to shared customers.

 

In its truest sense, a hybrid cloud is used to indicate a point somewhere on the spectrum between public and private cloud. Superficially, private cloud offers a range of advantages in terms of security of data, location and jurisdiction or guarantees, whereas public cloud offers a more cost-effective, pay-as-you-go solution. So is hybrid cloud a way to meet in the middle?

According to the same report by Avanade, the majority of IT professionals didn’t know that hybrid cloud could include multiple cloud networks, or a combination of both public and private clouds. This mixed environment is one of the core features that makes hybrid so exciting, and is why it’s being seen as the way forward for cloud computing.

A major benefit of hybrid is that it quickly and seamlessly allows the data centre to run in the cloud using the same products and tools that are used on premise. This allows service providers to increase their storage capacity, boost scalability and provide a stronger back-up and disaster recovery than you would on a public or private cloud network.

In short, adopting a hybrid cloud model is a bit like pizza pie. I like pizza. I like pie. Why not have the best of both worlds? The concept is getting the channel excited, but there are some out there that are not quite ready to take the bite.

But for those who do, it’s hard not to find the concept of a hybrid cloud model…just delectable.

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