The risks and rewards of hybrid cloud

By Colby Dyess | June 26, 2014

Many companies are choosing to mix and match on-premises systems with public cloud ecosystems such as Amazon Web Services. There's much to be gained, in terms of dev/test efficiency as well as control over IT costs, from setting up a hybrid cloud enabled by flexible open source software. However, there are risks, too, especially in regard to security, coordination of different IT silos and overall implementation.

Hybrid cloud poised to be the largest segment of cloud computing market

In light of its enormous potential benefits, it's no surprise that hybrid cloud is set to soon become the standard in virtualized IT infrastructure. A 2014 TechNavio survey of 100 cloud companies worldwide found that by 2017 roughly half of large organizations will have deployed a hybrid cloud to:

  • Decide where and how to run each workload and store application data.
  • Gain more control over security than they would have on pure public cloud.
  • Give mission-critical applications the performance they require.

In 2013, the total hybrid cloud market was worth slightly more than $21 billion, a modest sum but one that leaves plenty of room for growth. Plus, the appeal of hybrid cloud isn't lost on small and mid-size businesses, either, since they may take it up to intelligently utilize their limited bandwidth.

Overcoming challenges in setting up a hybrid cloud

Still, setting up a hybrid cloud is not a light undertaking. Companies have to deeply understand and consistently monitor their workloads before designing and implementing infrastructure that is up to the task.

Writing for InformationWeek, Kurt Marko aptly noted that there is no free lunch in hybrid cloud, pointing to issues such as security and integration. In addressing these issues, buyers cannot simply seek out the least expensive solution. E‚Äčach organization has particular needs, making it impractical to take up a one-size-fits-all solution that was chosen for its price alone.

"The focus can sometimes be on which service offers the lowest cost," stated HP's Peter Mansell , according to The Register. "But if you don't have control of all IT resources, how can you make an educated decision on the best location for the workload?"

To make hybrid cloud administration easier, IT departments have looked for tools or coordinating provisioning across environments, along with APIs that enable automatic management. Hybrid cloud software that features deep AWS API compatibility can facilitate seamless workload migration, tight security and granular control of data.

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