How to Decide Whether a Hybrid Cloud Is a Good Option for Your Company

Is your company considering moving some or all of your IT operation to the cloud? If so, you’ll need to decide which approach to the cloud best fits your needs: the public cloud, a private cloud, or that mixture of the two that’s come to be known as the hybrid cloud?

The most popular cloud model today, used by 75 percent of companies, is the hybrid cloud. In this approach a company puts some, often a majority, of its workloads in the public cloud, while keeping other parts at home in a private cloud. Is this the best option for your company? Here are some questions to consider as you make that decision.

1. Do You Have Data Security and Privacy Concerns?

Is your company concerned that its data may be vulnerable in the multi-tenant environment of the public cloud? Or perhaps it must meet legal or regulatory requirements, such as those imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure the security of personal information. Many organizations faced with such mandates feel compelled to include a private cloud along with the public cloud in their solution mix so that they can keep their most sensitive data behind their own firewalls.

2. Do You Have High Performance Workloads That Would Be Impacted by Cloud Latency?

Data stored in the public cloud can sometimes be physically located half a world away from the servers that use it. When such long distances are involved, some level of data access delay, or latency, is unavoidable.

Applications that require high levels of I/O performance, such as big data analytics or online database systems for which users demand almost instantaneous response times, are usually best suited to a private cloud implemented in your own data center where storage and the servers that access it may be separated only by feet or inches.

3. Do You Have Resources To Implement a Private Cloud?

hand writing private cloud

With the public cloud, you purchase only IT services, not hardware. So there are no direct costs for equipment, data center space, electrical power, cooling, etc. That’s all handled by the cloud provider.

In contrast, with a private cloud you are often responsible for the hardware and software required to run it. If you have an existing data center, those resources may already be available. Or you may choose to house your private cloud in the facilities of a third party, such as a managed IT services provider (MSP). In any case, the private cloud element of your hybrid solution will require additional resources beyond those needed for the public cloud.

4. Do Your Workloads Require a High Degree of Scalability?

In today’s world, your IT system’s “customers” (whether actual paying customers or in-house users), have little tolerance for system slowdowns. Even when demand temporarily expands far beyond the averages your IT infrastructure was designed to accommodate, your system must be able to maintain its responsiveness. In other words, it must be able to scale instantly and without limitation.

In an on-site data center, that can become extremely expensive because you must keep extra storage and server capacity on hand to handle surges in demand. But most of the time that excess capacity will sit idle, eating up capital while performing no service.

The public cloud, on the other hand, is specifically designed for unlimited and instantaneous scalability. By configuring your data center workloads to spill over into the public cloud when necessary (a process called “cloud bursting”), you can achieve a high level of scalability without having to maintain extra hardware in reserve.

5. Do You Have a “Cloud-Savvy” IT Staff?

Carl Brooks, an analyst at 451 Research, speaks of the “humongous complexity” of the hybrid cloud. That’s perhaps a bit pessimistic, but historically creating a unified, coherent system that encompasses public and private clouds and, in some cases, an on-premises data center, was a technically non-trivial task. That’s especially true if you have legacy applications that may require extensive updating in order to make them cloud-compatible.

A number of companies are now offering relatively easy-to-use tools for managing a complex multi-cloud environment (which is what a hybrid cloud is). Still, any organization seeking to implement a hybrid cloud should be aware be aware of the issues and choose a partner that can simplify the process and eliminate the complexity.

Zadara Storage: A Great Partner for Your Hybrid Cloud Implementation

A good example of a partner that brings to the table a high level of expertise with respect to public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms is Zadara Storage. Zadara already has its VPSA Storage Arrays installed in the facilities of major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It also installs the same technology in customer data centers as the basis for private or hybrid cloud implementations. In both instances, Zadara remotely operates, monitors, maintains, and upgrades its storage hardware and software as needed, relieving the customer of the necessity of having expertise in such tasks.

If you’d like to explore how Zadara can assist your company in its implementation of a hybrid cloud, please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper.