Not "Your Place or Mine?" But Both: Understanding the Hybrid Cloud

The real question with cloud computing is how best to mix and match cloud infrastructure, assets and services that come from private and public clouds under a single umbrella.

A photo of clouds in the skyThese days, the cloud is everywhere and pervades all aspects of computing. But many people, including IT pros, seem to believe that accessing the cloud requires networking outside an organization’s boundaries, “out there” on the internet. The truth is both more mixed and more nuanced than one might expect, though, because cloud computing simply provides access to virtualized facilities and resources of one kind or another. Let’s take a closer look at the types of cloud computing: public, private and hybrid.

Selecting the Best Type of Cloud Computing

Organizations big enough to operate their own data centers can create entirely private clouds on premises, if they’re so inclined, but smaller organizations may only look outward to take advantage of cloud computing. Yet a mix of in-house and public cloud computing resources, known as the hybrid cloud, probably fits and works best for companies and organizations of all scopes and sizes. That’s because some information and resources will at least originate inside an organization’s boundaries, while computing and storage capabilities can come from the inside or outside.

Bringing private and public cloud computing resources and capabilities together makes a single, logical cloud out of two separate and disjoint clouds: One private, the other public. For many organizations, in fact, it makes sense to store protected, confidential or privileged data in a private cloud, while taking advantage of public resources to run cloud applications that use such data.

The public cloud portion of a hybrid cloud can, and usually does, wax and wane as demand goes up and down over time. But the organization can retain control and maintain security of the data in the private cloud, understanding that such data only temporarily transits into the public cloud so that users and cloud applications can access and make use of it.

When to Go with the Hybrid Cloud

This also points to usage scenarios where hybrid clouds make the most sense. They are especially useful for variable workloads that rise and fall in predictable cycles.

For retail operations, for example, those who process much or most of their business in the holiday season, from October through January, could make great use of a hybrid cloud environment. Their customer and catalog data would always reside inside organizational boundaries on a private cloud, while online shopping and e-commerce capabilities could be provided on the public cloud. As the holiday season gets underway, the company could add cloud infrastructure capacity to accommodate demand. As the buying season tails off, consumption of public cloud resources could as well, along with the pay-as-you-go charges for its setup and use.

Plenty of other cyclical or seasonal business computing scenarios work nicely for this model, too, such as tax season, academic and social calendar-related operations, subscription renewals, agricultural commodities, and so forth.

The real value of the public cloud, seen from a hybrid cloud perspective, is that an organization or business doesn’t have to build infrastructures scaled out to meet peak demands that may occur only periodically, cyclically or occasionally. It can devote the resources necessary to create and control a private cloud to accommodate its data, plus line-of-business and proprietary applications. Then, it can turn to the public cloud to obtain as much compute, storage and networking capability as it needs, whenever it needs it.

This combination allows companies and organizations to limit capital investment on IT infrastructure and to allow actual work and consumption to drive operational expenses for public cloud resources. It’s the best of both worlds!

The newly updated CompTIA Cloud+ (CV0-002) reflects an emphasis on deploying, monitoring and securing hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Read more about the update and register to take the exam today.

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