Cloud Computing is like the genie from the magic lamp these days. It just pops out of the blues every now and then, when you need anything related to IT. By now, we all know a thing or two about it. Based on our needs and purposes, most of us would have come across public and private clouds – the two main types of cloud computing.
Public clouds (Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, RackSpace and Windows Azure) are widely being used by companies in the market. Availability, accessibility and security remain as challenges for public cloud users. We all remember the Amazon EC2 outage, don’t we? Many companies simply cannot afford their website going down for a day or two; financial loss can very well be crippling.
Many companies have been already deploying private clouds that are based on technologies like OpenStack, CloudStack, and Eucalyptus etc. Private clouds ensure high level of security, accessibility, mobility and availability while its trade off is that it is more expensive, and so unaffordable to SMEs. This brings us to a third concept, hybrid clouds.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public clouds used together. This helps you to take the best from both public and private clouds while keeping the costs down. So, let us do a cross examination of the hybrid clouds, shall we?
The reality is that public clouds (with their teams of security experts, third party audits, and regular updates) are no less secure than the private clouds, yet people are skeptical. If you are one of those lots, then hybrids will help you. In a hybrid cloud, you can retain the core functionalities and data of your company on your own private cloud while using a public cloud for the rest. This means that all your sensitive information and transactions happen via your private infrastructure while you do the rest on a public cloud; thus getting all the benefits of cloud while satisfying your need to feel more secure.
Like all cloud options, hybrid cloud also offers you the option of seamless scalability. An option your internal servers or private cloud may not provide effectively. For scalability hybrid takes full advantage of the public cloud presence (cloud bursting) and offers you the flexibility of pay-as-you-go model.
The cost advantage of hybrids over private clouds is obvious and need no further explanation. However, the initial set up cost is higher than that of a public cloud. But, when you weigh the advantages that hybrid brings to the table, this difference will worth the investment.
Complexity of service-level agreements (SLA) and networking are the major drawbacks of hybrid cloud. Since SLAs have to be made for multiple vendors, they tend to become rather complex. In addition, poorly constructed SLAs have always been a problem in the IT industry. The application-programming interface (API) specifically makes the networking required for hybrid clouds immensely complex.
Nevertheless, when we weigh the pros over the cons the apt choice is very clear, is it not?
Remember, the advantages of cloud computing or hybrid cloud are not just monitory; the reduction in initial investment and operational cost is only the initial advantage that you will have. The true advantages that this will bring to your company will be in terms of flexibility, mobility and over all agility. The main benefit that this will bring to your company can and may vary based on the industry you are in, but it is going to be a boon. So if you are thinking cloud, then think hybrid.