Business discussions around cloud computing are increasingly focused on the idea of a hybrid cloud strategy. Instead of plans to move all data and applications to a cloud platform or to maintain an on-site data center strategy only, a hybrid of the two approaches is becoming a top consideration for many organizations. The trend toward hybrid adoption was evident at the 2014 New York Cloud Expo, where a majority of attendees confirming they are implementing a hybrid strategy and Amazon Web Services revealing its new cloud computing service.
It is clear that a hybrid cloud solution is becoming a popular choice for companies, but is it the best choice? Is there growth potential further than the current trend, or is this a phase that is a bridge to an all-cloud trend for business? A close examination does show an upward trend in hybrid cloud adoption, and experts are advocating the approach. The hybrid model seems to be what organizations want in security and flexibility for their computing.
Cloud Expo Attendees Confirm Hybrid Cloud Trend
In the midst of the trend toward a hybrid cloud solution, attendees at the 2014 New York Cloud Expo and AWS Summit revealed that many businesses are no longer simply discussing it. More than half of those surveyed said they are currently implementing a hybrid cloud. Avere Systems conducted the survey that showed of those currently implementing a hybrid solution:
- Thirty-five percent are building it themselves
- Eleven percent are leveraging a partnership to build their organizations’ hybrid clouds
- Twelve percent are moving some storage to a public cloud service
It is also important to note that attendees not currently implementing a hybrid cloud strategy did not necessarily rule out the possibility. In fact, 31 percent of them said they did not know their organization’s current business plan for data or that a plan had not been decided. It is possible that these organizations will eventually choose a hybrid strategy, representing a opportunity for significant growth potential in hybrid cloud computing.
Experts Advocate Hybrid Cloud Computing
Discussions about cloud computing have been a regular part of business strategy since Amazon Web Services expanded to EC2, allowing small businesses to take advantage of cloud computing to run applications. Google shows a major uptick in cloud computing trends toward the end of 2007. By 2009 AWS had added more manageability, load balancing, and the auto scalability that is still the preferred standard for cloud services.
Technology professionals have been working toward cloud computing since the idea of shared utilities in the 1960s and Grid computing in the 1990s. Experts have worked toward what is now referred to as the cloud because it is a solution to many of the issues with exclusive on-site data centers. However, many technology experts do not advocate a reliance on an exclusive cloud strategy, either. A look at the advantages of both methods shows how a balance between the two can benefit organizations.
Benefits of On-Site Data Centers:
- Control over equipment brand, maintenance, and testing
- Dedicated employees chosen by the organization
- Better security
- Fulfilling legal or government requirements for on-site storage
Benefits of Cloud Computing:
- Flexibility to quickly and inexpensively expand or contract
- Cost reduction for space, employee salaries, and energy
- Data back up over several locations
Hybrid solutions combine the security and control of on-site data centers with the scalability and reduced cost of the cloud. This ability to comply with regulations or sensitive data requirements while managing costs and effort is why IT professionals recommend hybrid cloud strategies.
Other Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Implementation
Web Hosting Geeks recently outlined the need to balance an all on-site data center solution with an all-cloud solution. The article “Is the Hybrid Cloud Right for Your Business?” lists several business requirements that make the hybrid cloud the most elegant business strategy:
- Data Location: Some companies can trust data security in their own data center, but cannot expand to accommodate computing power requirements. Data could securely stay on-site, and computing could take place in the cloud.
- Testing: Companies that are unsure if cloud computing will work for their business could maintain on-site data centers while testing business scenarios in the cloud to see what functions work best on-site and what performs in the cloud.
- Temporary Use: Instead of investing capital into expanding on-site data centers for a temporary or periodic need, businesses could implement cloud computing.
- Geographic Necessity: While on-site data centers may be preferable or even required by law in some areas, other branch locations may not have such preferences or requirements and could use cloud storage.
- Redundancy: Using a cloud solution for back up could create an additional safety net.
The article also advocates a hybrid solution for pricing systems and reducing costs. Using a hybrid cloud platform allows organizations freedom to innovate without costly on-site expansion.
Amazon Web Services Expands Cloud Services
Continuing the trend toward hybrid cloud services, Amazon Web Services revealed a new business collaboration cloud service at the recent AWS Summit. The enterprise storage and sharing service is called Zocalo. Businesses can implement Zocalo to allow easy document sharing among employees from a centralized cloud storage space. However, IT administrators can control the location where the data is stored.
Other features of Zocalo include:
- Authorized users can preview and comment on MS Office files, PDFs, web pages, images, and text files through Zocalo.
- IT administrators can integrate Zocalo into existing corporate directories.
- IT administrators control the flexibility of the sharing policy for documents and can monitor audit logs.
- Contributors to documents stored on Zocalo can be alerted to user comments, changes, and deadlines.
- Users can access documents stored on Zocalo through a web browser or a Zocalo app.
- Each user is allotted 200 GB.
Zocalo is still in limited release, but as another competitor for cloud storage services and cloud collaboration services, it confirms the upward potential growth for using hybrid cloud services.
Hybrid Implementations and Upward Growth
The Cloud Expo and AWS Summit along with IT expert recommendation indicate an upward trend in hybrid cloud implementations. The hybrid solution is not just a trend in business strategy discussion. Hybrid implementations are planned or are in progress in organizations right now, providing both security and flexibility for business computing.
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