The hybrid cloud is taking hold. Market revenue is forecast to grow from $21.27 billion in 2013 to $79.54 billion in 2018. The hybrid model will predominate by that time. Can you capitalize on it?
Reading industry media and analyst reports, one could easily come away thinking that a hybrid cloud always consists of two elements … the company or organization managing its own private cloud in-house and then the outsourcing of other IT operations to one or more public cloud services. Mission-critical, high-security or legacy data and applications remain securely inside, while SaaS, IaaS and/or PaaS cloud services complete the overall IT infrastructure. Switching between private and public provides flexibility and adaptability, as well as the economies of scale from public cloud services.
So, what is the solution for the many small- and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that do not want to build and operate their own private cloud or, for that matter, have any production IT onsite at all? How can they attain the control and security the private cloud affords with all the proven good things that the public cloud models deliver? SMEs are less likely to have made massive investments in their own IT infrastructure as larger companies have done, not to mention the many legacy applications and databases unsuitable for cloud computing. Is the hybrid cloud model not in their future?
The first thing you have to know is that a private cloud need not be on-premise in the company’s own data center, only that it consists of dedicated computing resources that can be sited anywhere. Colocation of computing assets at an IT infrastructure provider’s facility can accomplish the same goals, and is likely to be much more cost effective than maintaining your own private cloud infrastructure.
The second thing is that a hosted private cloud can be operated via managed services offered by the provider, relieving the company of the direct monitoring, managing and staffing costs. Further, an infrastructure provider with its own public cloud services can help design, operate and manage the complete hybrid cloud solution for its customers. Cloud bursting, for example, is a feature of hybrid cloud that enables an organization to shift/burst the workload into a public cloud at peak times.
The elephant in the room, of course, is cloud security. Entrusting critical workloads to a third-party remains a concern. For all of the cloud’s rapid advancements and improvements, security capabilities are unequally distributed across the industry. Further, the cloud computing marketplace at this point is fragmented with many point products offered by a wide range of providers.
“Whether you have one service provider or six comprising your hybrid cloud, the challenge remain the same” said David Kidd, Peak 10 director of quality and compliance. “You must work closely with your service providers to take into account the shared responsibilities for security and compliance,” Assuming your private cloud holds critical or regulated data and applications, then your service provider must have the required physical, technological, and administrative safeguards to protect critical information assets.”
In the hybrid world, it’s almost certain that more than one service provider will be in the mix. Finding an anchor provider that possesses not only the security and compliance credentials but the solution design skills, network, state-of-the-art infrastructure, top technology partners and trained workforce, as well, limits the field of contenders capable of delivering complete hybrid cloud services.
Colocation has become the natural step to hybrid for many SMB cloud service consumers, particularly when the infrastructure provider is trusted and offers cloud and additional services, as well. The customer’s security concerns area already assuaged, having seen the vendor in action over a period of time.
For example, the 150-attorney law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory (AGG) leverages its existing investments in hardware and networking gear by using Peak 10 enterprise-class data center services. Presently AGG operates its own disaster recovery site. “We get the best possible combination of redundancy, resiliency and industry best practices by using Peak 10,” said AGG IT Director Lance Edwards. “However, it’s good to know that they also have products and services, such as enterprise and recovery clouds, that our firm can grow into should we decide to go that route.”
It’s logical that the best hybrid clouds would be designed and managed by the best provider of hybrid IT and cloud services.