What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has evolved in recent years. The new world of the hybrid cloud is an environment that employs both private and public cloud services. Companies are realising they need many different types of cloud services to meet a variety of customer needs.
The growing importance of hybrid cloud environments is transforming the entire computing industry, as well as the way businesses can leverage technology to innovate. Economics and speed are the two greatest issues driving this market change.
There are two primary deployment models of clouds: public and private. Most organisations will use a combination of private computing resources (data centres and private clouds) and public services, where some of the services existing in these environments touch each other — this is the hybrid cloud environment.
The Public Cloud
The public cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, services, applications, and interfaces owned and operated by a third party for use by other companies or individuals. These commercial providers create a highly scalable data centre that hides the details of the underlying infrastructure from the consumer.
Public clouds are viable because they typically manage relatively repetitive or straightforward workloads. For example, email is a very simple application. Therefore, a cloud provider can optimise the environment so that it is best suited to support a large number of customers, even if they save many messages.
Public cloud providers offering storage or computing services optimise their computing hardware and software to support these specific types of workloads. In contrast, the typical data centre supports many different applications and many different workloads that it cannot be easily optimised.
The Private Cloud
A private cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, services, applications, and interfaces owned and operated by an organisation for the use of its employees, partners, and customers. A private cloud can be created and managed by a third party for the exclusive use of one enterprise.
The private cloud is a highly controlled environment not open for public consumption. Thus, a private cloud sits behind a firewall. The private cloud is highly automated with a focus on governance, security, and compliance.
Automation replaces more manual processes of managing IT services to support customers. In this way, business rules and processes can be implemented inside software so that the environment becomes more predictable and manageable.
The Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud is a combination of a private cloud combined with the use of public cloud services where one or several touch points exist between the environments. The goal is to combine services and data from a variety of cloud models to create a unified, automated, and well-managed computing environment.
Combining public services with private clouds and the data centre as a hybrid is the new definition of corporate computing. Not all companies that use some public and some private cloud services have a hybrid cloud. Rather, a hybrid cloud is an environment where the private and public services are used together to create value.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
Uniform management of public and private cloud resources is preferable to individually managing cloud environments because doing so reduces the likelihood of process redundancies. Separately managed environments increase the risk of security loopholes if each solution is not fully optimised to work with the others.
Hybrid architecture best practices eliminate many security risks by limiting the exposure of private data to the public cloud.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure generally includes a public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform, a private cloud or data centre and access to a secure network. Many hybrid models leverage local area networks (LAN) as well as wide area networks (WAN).
Organisations adopting a hybrid cloud strategy typically start with an IaaS solution and extend functionalities to the private cloud. To deploy a hybrid cloud strategy effectively, the public and private clouds must be compatible with each other so they can communicate. In many cases, the private cloud is constructed to be compatible with the public solution.
In recent years, IaaS providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft have made it easier for businesses to connect their local resources to a public cloud solution. Application programming interfaces (API) improve native interoperability between services. Additionally, hybrid cloud architects may deploy a hypervisor layer to generate virtual machines that connect to the public cloud via another software layer responsible for orchestration among cloud environments.