Cloud infrastructure is now ubiquitous, and the data-driven businesses of today are adopting a variety of approaches for their technology environments. Enterprises have embraced cloud technology for their digital transformation agendas, and the spike in remote work needs strengthened infrastructure to handle a whole new scale of workloads and bandwidth.
While on-premises data centers have powered organizations for decades, evolutions in globalization, security and customer experience have prompted businesses to adopt cloud solutions to stay competitive.
Every cloud model has its advantages and disadvantages. Private cloud environments offer the undeniable advantage of security, and the speed and efficiency that come with having IT infrastructure under their control. However, such an environment is typically costly, further compounded by vendor contracts that lock the client in for years. And when business has to scale to meet the demands of a changing market, the structural constraints of an on-premise private cloud limits its ability to do so.
On the other hand, public cloud offers scalability and flexibility – with IAAS, PAAS and SAAS models allowing companies to pay on-demand and adopt technology at their desired pace. But companies that operate through multiple offices and jurisdictions may need to keep sensitive data within their premises. When security, compliance and data protection are the biggest priorities, public cloud is looked upon less favorably.
More and more companies are using a multi-cloud model – where they use multiple public cloud providers to meet their complex needs (for example, using both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure).
We have also moved past defining cloud models based on location and ownership parameters, as more and more IT infrastructure and service provider offer flexible solutions. Though private clouds have traditionally been on-premise, businesses can now rent off-premise data centers that have co-located equipment, spaces and services packaged as private clouds. Moreover, private on-prem data centers can be used to run public cloud services too.
The hybrid cloud approach is just that: a hybrid combination of all the available options that aims to utilize the best elements of both public and private cloud models for your organization’s unique business needs.
IT leaders are unanimous (94%) in their belief that a hybrid cloud approach is critical for digital transformation, according to a study of tech executives by CloudBolt. A Forrester presentation stated that 74% of enterprises describe their strategy as hybrid/multi-cloud. Market intelligence firm Mordor Intelligence projects the market value of the hybrid cloud market in 2026 to be $145 billion.
A hybrid cloud strategy takes into account workload requirements, current resource matrices and process orchestrations, and offers business and IT a unified management tool to help deliver on their promises. A typical model that organizations use keeps mission-critical data in private data centers while deploying scalable public cloud solutions to handle growing workloads.
The key to harnessing a hybrid cloud model is in identifying the most relevant use cases in your business. Google reinforces a detailed study of business requirements when devising a hybrid cloud strategy: a comprehensive view of business drivers and constraints, design and development drivers, operations requirements and constraints, and architecture constraints. This would then help your organization make a plan that incorporates workloads, architecture, and technology. Ask these questions - Which workloads should be run in or migrated to each computing environment? Which patterns do you need to apply across multiple workloads? Which technology and network topology would you use?
Figure 2 The cyclic influence of workloads, architecture patterns, technologies and business requirements that helps formulate a hybrid cloud strategy. (Source: Google Cloud Architecture Center)
A study of 25 vendor solutions for hybrid cloud management, including BMC Software, Cisco Systems, Citrix, Dell, Embotics, HP, IBM, Jamcracker, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, RightScale, Scalr, and VMware, outlined the following key capabilities organizations look for in their hybrid cloud solutions:
Cloud migration is no longer a niche field, and today we see the IT industry’s leading solution and service providers adapting their offerings to meet the cloud demand – a development that many like to call the race to the cloud.
Hyperscalers such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft have been snapping up both legacy vendors and startups to stay ahead of the game. In 2018, IBM acquired Red Hat, one of the largest open-source operating system providers, a clear indication that they are ready to meet modern technology needs. In 2019, Google announced a long-awaited partnership with VMWare, which makes both the tech giants significantly stronger in their hybrid cloud offerings.
Figure 3 The hybrid cloud landscape (based on parameters defined by Forrester Research)
The hybrid cloud landscape has a wide variety of technology providers and an assortment of solutions and models to fit every need. The original cloud providers – companies such as Microsoft, VMWare and Oracle who are leaders in the virtualization and OS market – are adding cloud use cases to their offerings. Larger enterprise management solution providers are extending their suites, and independent software vendors are catering to developers and DevOps. Both traditionally private cloud and traditionally public cloud providers are widening their scopes to incorporate hybrid models.
Amongst the leaders - Microsoft, Oracle and VMWare have taken significant steps to make every cloud modality available to their enterprise and SMB clients. Behemoths Google and Amazon are not far behind in capturing market share.
Cloud management needs are also serviced by cloud migration vendors and cloud brokers. When your organization is in the process of making decisions about modernizing your IT infrastructure, consolidating resources, or rationalizing investments, and is not yet ready for a huge leap into the deep end of the cloud, migration vendors, brokers and managed solution providers can help you evaluate your needs step by step and work out tailored solutions for your specific requirements.
Dataknox provides cloud migration solutions to support your digital transformation and modernization. Our readiness assessment helps you assess your costs and benefits to support strong, well-substantiated decisions. Our methodology is designed to successfully migrate entire data centers and individual workloads to the cloud, providing a predictable schedule and cost, and a reliable OpEx forecast for post-migration operations.
We have supported the most innovative and demanding organizations, from dynamic startups to the Fortune 100 companies.
If you are considering a hybrid cloud model approach for your organization, get in touch with us today for a no-obligation consultation.