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5 tips for building a successful hybrid cloud

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 17, 2014
Enterprises may need the flexibility of a hybrid cloud; here’s what to think about as you move forward.

hybrid cloud

Enterprises are increasingly interested in the cloud, but IT managers are discovering that one size does not always fit all.

Well, at least they're finding that one cloud doesn't fit every company.

Sure, some companies can go with the straight-up economy and convenience of a public cloud, while others need the added security and customization of a private cloud.

However, there are the enterprises that are required by their business users to go to the public cloud with non-sensitive data but need a more secure system for their critical systems and information, or because their regulatory environment requires a private cloud.

For them, there's the hybrid cloud.

"Many users want to mix the clear flexibility, agility, speed and cost benefits of public cloud services with the control, security and performance benefits of private networks or the private cloud," said John Dinsdale, an analyst with the Synergy Research Group. "Hybrid cloud services are a good answer for many of them."

While the public cloud is showing a 50% growth rate, the growth rates of both hybrid and private clouds come in at a strong 40% to 45%, according to Dinsdale.

Hybrids are a solid choice for companies looking to fully dive into the cloud or expand their presence in it.

"I believe that hybrid clouds will become the most prevalent cloud usage model for enterprises," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.

"Users will utilize public clouds for short-term needs, but rely on their internal private clouds for the bulk of their computing," Olds said. "This model gives data centers the ability to add extra capacity very quickly to handle seasonal usage spikes or other events, without having to purchase new systems."

Enterprises break up their cloud workloads differently based on their specific needs, including uptime, quality of service and security concerns.

Exactly how they allocate their cloud into public-vs.-private is part of what makes a hybrid more complicated than simply using one or the other. Anyone setting up a hybrid cloud needs to carefully separate mission-critical or strategic systems and information from the rest, set up security and availability policies and consider compliance issues.

"There are complications in running a hybrid cloud versus just a private or public cloud, which makes the planning process so vital," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "Hybrid clouds are very important for the enterprise, primarily because it gives them a choice -- so they need to choose well."

So if enterprises are looking to use a hybrid of public and private cloud set-ups, what's the best way to do it? How can a company try to get the best financial deal and still get the security and scalability it needs?


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