Cloud watching: The hybrid cloud trend (Part 1)
The rise of the cloud has spurred a drastic change in the way companies do business. Cloud computing has made significant strides since its launch in the late 1960s, but the technology has yet to reach its full potential. To stay ahead of the curve, organizations will be pressured to position their business to take advantage of new cloud innovations, such as the hybrid cloud, as they become available.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the global public IT cloud services revenue will reach $141.2B by 2019. The appeal of zero capital expenditure and the advancements in cloud security and deployment are paving the way for hosted solutions to become a standard among businesses across the globe. The sections below cover what a hybrid cloud entails and how it will shape the future of the IT industry.
What is the cloud?
In the past, the cloud was considered to be an all-or-nothing switch, which deterred a number of businesses from implementing the technology. A portion of this reluctance can be attributed to a lack of understanding as to what the cloud actually is. Essentially, the cloud is a network of servers that either provide an online service, or enable users to access data via remote means. Both of these capabilities are accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Examples of the cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is on example of an online service delivered via cloud computing. In the past, Adobe products were purchased in a boxed set, but now customers pay a monthly subscription fee for each service.
Dropbox and Instagram are examples of platforms that allow users to store and access data using the cloud. A photo may be stored on a user’s smartphone or device, but when it’s posted to Instagram, the file is uploaded to the cloud. Essentially, any time an individual stores information or receives a service without using their device’s internal data, they are using the cloud.
What is a hybrid cloud solution?
As an increasing number of companies began experimenting with the simultaneous use of private and public clouds, hybrid cloud solutions gained traction in the IT marketplace. Hybrid cloud computing environments involve the use of both on premise, private cloud solutions and third-party, public cloud services.
A public cloud is a hosted solution that can be used by many organizations and is generally located off premise. Microsoft Office 365 and Google Cloud Platform are both examples of an externally hosted, public cloud solution.
A private cloud is generally located on-premises and its use is restricted to one organization. Because private clouds are usually located on-site, they are sometimes confused with client-servers (also located on-premises of the business using the hardware). However, it’s important to remember that the primary difference between storing data on a server owned by the company and hosting data on a private cloud is where the data is stored.
When a business hosts its information on a server it owns, the organization is responsible for data storage, hardware updates and management, and any other technical maintenance required. A private cloud shifts the responsibility of data storage and technology maintenance to the cloud solution provider. While this switch offers several benefits to a company, it does require that the organization to store its data on equipment it does not own.
Boost in hybrid cloud demands
Hybrid cloud solutions allow businesses to accommodate compliance and security regulations specific to their industry, maintain legacy systems critical to their business, and integrate cloud offerings into their IT environment. For example, a law firm may be responsible for data which the client specifies must not exist in a public cloud. The firm may resort to storing that data on a private cloud located onsite, while storing the rest of its data in a public cloud.
A hybrid assortment of cloud solutions is accompanied by the challenge of connecting these various computing methods to facilitate an uninterrupted flow of information and processes within the organization. A company’s managed IT services provider or internal IT department should focus on centralizing security and its management while simultaneously maintaining the speed and User Interface (UI) preferences provided by today’s application developers.
The demand for IT professionals capable of managing these complex IT environments is growing and offerings customized to suit hybrid IT environments will become a norm in the industry as IT professionals prioritize hybrid strategies in their service delivery. In addition to catering to a mixed cloud environment, IT providers will structure their offerings to align with the most popular hybrid cloud solutions on the market, dictating the future of users and vendors alike.
Aldridge offers both private and public cloud solutions to suit the needs of our clients. Our team will work with your company to construct a cloud computing solution that will help you reach your business goals. Contact a firm representative today to learn more about the cloud and what it can do for your organization.