Cloud computing has moved well beyond the hype wave and emerged as the key enabler of business innovation in recent years. Yet, industry laggards are struggling to navigate the risky skies of cloud computing and still consider the
Yet, industry laggards are struggling to navigate the risky skies of cloud computing and still consider the $50 billion technology industry as the “future arrived too early”. Fortunately for businesses looking to leverage the promising enterprise technology, cloud computing isn’t an all-or-none proposition. A hybrid strategy creating a middle ground between economic savings and scalability of the public cloud, and security protection and agility of the private cloud is therefore gaining traction in the enterprise sector.
A Complex Paradigm
Businesses struggling with vague definitions of public and private cloud models are inadvertently led to an uncomfortable cloud transition period. Lack of necessary expertise prevents them from appropriately strategizing cloud deployments to meet specific business requirements and maximizing returns on cloud investments.
Simply put, third-party service providers use the public cloud model to deliver online computing services from off-premise datacenters to multiple customers over the internet. Private cloud model on the other hand consists of on-site datacenters used in delivering computing services in-house through virtualized service layers.
However, businesses are naturally compelled to extend private cloud services to customers and partners beyond their workplace, and expand public cloud services to the workforce within the enterprise.
But challenges associated with the cost, service-level agreements, application performance, infrastructure integration and security prevent businesses from achieving this level of flexibility with their cloud deployments. These challenges in turn give rise to mythic cloud fears surrounding security and returns on investments, which businesses can address by strategically approaching cloud adoption.
The Cloud Paradox
Research firm IDG recently conducted a survey among CIOs of global organizations, and concluded that IT departments leveraging private cloud are actually struggling to deliver high performance and agility. 90 percent of the respondents said they fail to meet budget and on-time delivery with their private cloud deployments, but aren’t willing to risk IT security by migrating core applications to the public cloud.
And for businesses seeking alternatives to improve economic returns and on-demand scalability, major public cloud vendors all but guarantee 24/7/365 uptime. Unexpected service outages affecting the likes of Amazon Web Services cost public cloud business-customers up to $7,900 per minute.
The cloud industry has not yet devised a standard architecture for businesses to build their own hybrid cloud models either. This is partly because the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all technology solution, and striking the balance with a hybrid strategy requires IT departments to bridge data gaps between legacy IT and hybrid cloud environments.
The Silver Lining
The hybrid cloud model blends the features of private and public cloud to deliver financial and operational benefits while empowering businesses to strategically manage data security risks and application performance. Gartner predicts half of the world’s enterprises will employ hybrid cloud solutions by the year 2017. And hybrid strategy has positive implications for businesses, on technological as well as organizational fronts.
Businesses can maximize portability of their applications by leveraging vendor-neutral solutions to maintain varied infrastructure, controls and policies. The holistic hybrid strategy also transforms the roles of internal IT from traditional IT plumbing to business-focused and strategic hybrid IT management roles.
The bottom line is that cloud risks will continue to haunt businesses taking an all-or-none approach with public or private cloud adoption. Cloud migration is no longer an option for organizations in the competitive economic landscape. For businesses still waiting to realize the promised rewards of cloud investments, a few changes in their cloud strategy are in order, and hybrid cloud is a crucial part of the solution.