Hybrid cloud: The perfect combination

Since its invention in the early 1960s and commercialisation two decades later by CompuServe, cloud storage has come a long way. The recent pandemic has accelerated this trend and Gartner predicted that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services grow 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020. The cloud is becoming the new normal, but not all cloud applications are growing at the same pace. While 94% of enterprises already use a cloud service, research predicts that by 2022 more than 90% of them will rely on a hybrid cloud infrastructure 1.

The question is not only why companies are choosing hybrid cloud solutions, but also how to choose the right hybrid cloud solutions. This article tackles both questions and shares best practices.

Why choose a hybrid cloud solution?

In a nutshell, hybrid cloud benefits enable you to enjoy the best of both the public and private cloud at the same time.

  • Flexibility for data placement: The hybrid cloud allows businesses to choose a personalised solution. For example, they can decide where applications should be deployed, which helps to save money. IT-Managers can freely decide between a private cloud, where control of the system remains within the internal IT department, and a public cloud, where scalability is almost unlimited. Such flexibility enables companies to quickly respond to changes – a key factor for innovation and competitiveness.
  • Security: A hybrid cloud solution allows enterprises to store their core, business-critical, and sensitive data in-house and delegate the management of less sensitive data to cloud providers. It also gives businesses better control over their data and improves security by reducing its potential exposure. Enterprises can:
    • choose where to store their data based on factors such as compliance, company policy, or security requirements.
    • standardize redundant cloud storage (an important aspect of disaster recovery and data insurance).
    • implement strong technical security measures (encryption, automation, access control, orchestration, and endpoint security) to manage risk effectively.

These security features have also made hybrid clouds the perfect remote-working solutions.

  • Scalability: In today’s fluctuant IT landscape, accurately predicting the exact amount of storage needed can be challenging. On the other hand, responding fast to change in demand is a key factor in the ongoing business competition. A hybrid cloud solution gives businesses the freedom to scale and evolve combining public cloud resources with the organisation's infrastructure.. In addition to this, many solutions allow for increased automation. Enterprises can automatically respond to changes in demand, optimising performance and efficiency.
  • Reduced costs: Hybrid cloud computing is also a source of savings for IT departments that adopt it. It provides a cost-effective way to scale operations and meet spikes in demand but can also be a more long-term option to cope with sustainable growth. Facing unexpected demand spikes, enterprises can simply rent out more storage space and avoid unnecessary capital expenditure. On the other hand, if demand drops, IT departments are in a position to roll-back the amount of space they are renting out and decrease costs.

Hybrid cloud storage solutions are suitable for any kind of business, as they offer a wide range of prices and options that enable them to adapt to various needs. Having said this, these solutions are generally a particularly good fit for medium-sized businesses. Large companies can afford to have large private clouds and start-ups generally start with fully public clouds.

Hybrid cloud solutions – How to choose the right provider

When it comes to technology, it’s not just about finding the right option, but also about finding the right provider as any solution you choose will require ongoing maintenance and upgrades and you want to work with someone you trust - especially if your business’ data is involved.

There are a few things to bear in mind when choosing a provider. The first one being to choose one that will fully and clearly understand your needs and will be able to grow together with your cloud strategy. As part of this, partners need to be available no less than 24/7. Being entrusted with an enterprise's data, its lifeblood, is a huge responsibility and means that neither they nor their systems can afford to go down at any point. Availability in case of a crisis as well as security are thus two major points that should be factored into the final decision. When talking about availability, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are paramount. These should include a guarantee of availability as well as compensation procedures if the provider fails to meet its obligations.

Transitions are always challenging, especially in the tech world. Migrating from one infrastructure to another and retraining your workforce can be a long and tricky process. So it’s important that a provider is able to support your current IT infrastructure as much as possible, but also offer an easy and smooth onboarding journey.

Getting a full picture of the true costs also is crucial. Too many IT cloud infrastructures have hidden costs that are not always brought to the clients’ attention when purchasing the solution and these can significantly increase the bill. Many providers offer a smaller subscription or purchase price but make up for it by charging excessively for implementation, training, configuration, and other add-on services that are necessary for a successful implementation.

1. https://learn.g2.com/hybrid-cloud-storage-statistics