Cloud services are the backbone of modern businesses, offering an unparalleled degree of flexibility and cost-effectiveness for companies to carry out operations and workflows.
A question these organizations must answer is whether to adopt a third-party cloud service or build and maintain a private cloud. Most turn to a third solution known as the hybrid cloud environment, which combines both options and uses specialized software to enable communication between them.
How Do These Cloud Lab Environments Work?
The components of this setup are typically:
- An Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform
- A private data center
- A secure network, such as local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs)
Major IaaS providers like Microsoft and Amazon already include features to help businesses combine a private network with the public cloud.
Tools like application programming interfaces (APIs) help in this regard. You also have virtualization and containers to help abstract and allocate resources.
What Are Some Hybrid Cloud Benefits?
The computational needs of modern businesses tend to vary wildly at different times. To improve efficiency, the management builds a private network for basic functions and extends into a public network when needs rise temporarily. A hybrid approach is thus ideal for relatively new businesses looking to save on the budget.
Another aspect of hybrid cloud environments is a unified management system. Instead of administrators dealing with individual cloud environments separately, a hybrid solution enforces a single point of management. Process redundancy, incompatibility, and security risk is minimal as a result.
Cloud Vs. On-Premise Vs. Hybrid
When a business chooses to invest resources into a private cloud and its associated maintenance costs, it requires secure and direct control to deal with vital, private data. At the same time, the public cloud enables companies to leverage extra computational resources at a low cost.
A hybrid solution combines both benefits well assuming you have a way to combine them smoothly.
Is It Right for My Business?
Whether or not your organization needs the flexibility of a hybrid cloud is your decision to make. However, you can expect to adopt these services for the following use cases:
- Regulatory compliance. Some industries, especially medical, put significant emphasis on protecting private data. Global businesses of any kind must comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well, and a hybrid cloud approach can help while still keeping computational resources at high levels.
- Adopting new applications. Suppose your business is experimenting with a new application to enhance the workflow. How can you mitigate the risk of trying out something new? Deploying a new program over a cloud environment minimizes the initial investment.
- Fluctuating workloads. Sometimes, business is seasonal or depends on unpredictable factors. A hybrid cloud is scalable enough to handle these changes inexpensively.
Most businesses choose the hybrid cloud for a reason, and you’ll likely find that your own company might be in need of its benefits.
Tips for Deploying a Hybrid Cloud Environment
How you implement your cloud lab depends on your business’s size, industry, needs, and preferences. There is no universal process for creating a hybrid cloud, but many strategies typically share common steps.
In the past, hybrid clouds consisted mainly of a private network and a pre-packaged, third-party service like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud (GCP) as a bridge to a public cloud.
Nowadays, the market is mainly app-focused, with cloud-native applications running on consistent operating environments. These services can support a variety of devices from smartphones to full desktop workstations easily.
Don’t forget to focus on security when choosing your cloud provider as well. Keep any mission-critical or sensitive data on private clouds if possible, and only consider companies that have a positive track record of data security.