It seems that 2020 will be the year of the hybrid cloud. During this year, the hybrid cloud market size is expected to grow to $74.9 billion, more than double its growth in the last 4 years. Such an increase isn’t a surprise. More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of using a mixed approach to their cloud strategies.
In fact, it seems that a lot of companies have come full circle. When the cloud broke into the mainstream some years ago, most brands saw it as the best way to outsource their infrastructure needs and limit their CAPEX. However, as time went by, the very same companies started to see some disadvantages in such an approach, so they started to pick the middle road – the hybrid cloud.
The combination of scalability and cost-reduction provided by the traditional cloud with the control and easy access of an on-premise infrastructure definitely feels like a winner. And it definitely can be. However, a lot of companies that move to the hybrid cloud dazzled by that shiny promise often find that making that jump isn’t precisely straightforward.
Are you considering doing the jump yourself? Then here are some of the things you have to know to see if the hybrid cloud is right for your business.
The Benefits of Going Hybrid
If so many businesses are choosing the hybrid cloud approach, then there have to be more benefits than just cutting costs. Well, there are! Here are some of the most noticeable ones:
- Scalability: While you might have a core on-premise infrastructure for specific business processes, the cloud part will give you enough flexibility to add more resources as needed and on-demand. This will obviously come with a cost that might be higher when you use the cloud for more complex processes (such as AIaaS). But if you use the cloud for backups or data archival, the hybrid cloud makes a lot of sense.
- Flexibility: Since you’ll have your infrastructure divided into an on-site part and a cloud part, you’ll be able to decide where you allocate your workloads. As said above, you can use your on-premises infrastructure to run core or delicate applications while using the cloud for developing apps, testing, backing up archives, and deploying new apps.
- Access the Latest Technology: Cloud vendors are always developing new solutions and tools to improve their services. While you can keep your on-premise infrastructure as is, the cloud part might enable your business to take advantage of new tools for your development, tests, and deployment.
- Cost Reduction: Of course, we have to mention cost reduction as one of the benefits of going hybrid, simply because it is one of the major benefits of all cloud services. By outsourcing part of your infrastructure to the cloud, you’ll be limiting the amount of money you’ll need for maintenance, upgrades, and updates. Additionally, you won’t have to look for more space to keep your extra servers and equipment, and you’ll have reduced energy consumption.
The Challenges of the Hybrid Cloud
Not everything is fine and dandy when it comes to moving to the hybrid cloud. While all the benefits are fantastic, there are certain challenges that can make you rethink your decision to go hybrid. Here are the most important ones:
- Hard Implementation: Combining your on-premise infrastructure with the services from a cloud provider isn’t precisely like plugging a chord and expecting to be good to go. Rather, you have to worry about APIs and management portals that have to “talk” to your own services. Additionally, it’s possible that you end up with a multi-cloud implementation, using the cloud services from multiple vendors, which makes the connection even harder, as you’ll have to figure out how to implement all of their solutions individually.
- Legacy and Custom-made Software Support: If your business is like most, then you surely use software that’s tailored to your specific needs. Problem is that a lot of these applications weren’t built for the cloud, especially if they are old. That means that the architectures from that old software and the cloud platforms are different, which can make it harder to work together. Since applications using monolithic architectures need reliable network connections and low-storage latencies (which isn’t always the case with the cloud), the potential for hiccups and subpar performances is high.
- Fluctuating Performance: Whenever you hire a cloud service vendor, you know you’ll be sharing their resources with other clients. In other words, the same infrastructure is used for an increasing number of clients. And since more and more companies are moving to the cloud, the tendency to hire these services will only keep increasing. In such a context, it’s possible that your performance might suffer, especially if you deal with larger data sets. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the network latency issue. Your ISP can’t guarantee a stable bandwidth that accommodates seamlessly to your traffic needs. And since you’re channeling all of it through a single output connecting to your on-premise infrastructure, the chances of a poor performance increase.
- Regulatory Compliance: The other major challenge when using a cloud service is complying with the numerous regulations that might apply to your business and the data you use. From the GDPR to the HIPAA, you’ll need to make sure that the cloud part complies with the regulations that might apply or risk a fine and potential loss of business. Though some major vendors can accommodate those needs, it’s your job to make sure that they comply with all the regulations that apply to your field. This can be tricky depending on where you are located and where you do business, as there are local regulations that might apply and that the vendors haven’t considered.
So, is the Hybrid Cloud Right for You?
Given the challenges, you might think that it’s better to keep away from the cloud for the moment. However, that’s not precisely a good move. Getting a part of your business to the cloud can give you a significant advantage and aid you in achieving your goals. Of course, for that to happen, you’ll need to create a solid strategy that tackles the challenges of the hybrid cloud head-on.
Such a plan should contemplate the regulations that could apply, the interconnection between your on-premise software and the cloud platforms, the security levels needed to protect the data coming and going, and some policies and plans to deal with inevitable scenarios, such as traffic bottlenecks and subpar performances.
If you create that plan and monitor it as you go, then the hybrid cloud is definitely for you. Implementing it might be hard at first but the benefits you’ll get with it will outweigh the drawbacks by far. You just have to keep in mind that you don’t have to move to the cloud because everyone else is doing it but because it makes sense for you.