Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Both Worlds – An Introduction to the Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

This blog post is authored by Joe Weinman, author of Cloudonomics: The Business Value of Cloud Computing, and the forthcoming book Digital Disciplines, which explores four business strategies to exploit emerging digital technologies such as cloud computing.

This week, we’re kicking off a blog series called “Hybrid Clouds: The Best of Both Worlds” as written by cloud thought leader Joe Weinman. The purpose of this cloud series is to learn about the different Hybrid Cloud architectures, scenarios and use cases. We will also go over the reasons that companies are adopting Hybrid Cloud as their target end state, rather than as an interim step towards running all applications in the public cloud. Such reasons include lower total cost, enhanced performance, greater availability and resiliency, reduced time to market and time to volume, enhanced user experience and increased flexibility. Over the next few weeks we will publish blog posts discussing the following hybrid cloud issues:

  • What is the difference between Private, Public and Hybrid cloud solutions?
  • What are the different hybrid cloud scenarios?
  • The economic advantages of using a hybrid cloud solution
  • What is the technology approach needed for successfully implementing a hybrid model?

Private, public, or hybrid?

There are several main options available for running applications: legacy architectures such as mainframe environments; special-purpose technologies such as high-performance computing and quantum computers; modern architectures running on dedicated, siloed resources in an enterprise data center or colocation facility, on private clouds in an enterprise data center or in a colocation facility; managed services; bare metal; virtual private clouds, and public clouds.

Although some take issue with the term “private cloud,” it is not the term that matters as much as the notion of a computing environment that can accelerate provisioning and dynamically allocate resources among workloads that vary in size, thereby achieving higher utilization and reduced costs.

From an economic perspective, the salient differences between computing options are illustrated by one extreme of owned, dedicated resources that incur a fixed cost regardless of whether they are used, and shared pay-per-use resources that incur a variable cost as they are used.  Capital expenditures vs. operating expenses are often mentioned, but fixed resources can be leased and incur operating expenses, and some reserved instances have reportedly been capitalized, so that distinction is imprecise.  

Any mix of these two pure approaches to meet the needs of an application or suite of applications can be viewed as a hybrid architecture.

Transition or endstate?

Some view the public cloud as the end state for all computing, using the analogy of the electric utility.  However, virtually every need in a variety of contexts is met by a hybrid mix of both dedicated and on-demand, pay-per-use resources.  For example, transportation needs are met both by private enterprise fleets and by rental car services.  Floorspace requirements are met both by owned space, such as a home, and by pay-per-use space, such as an apartment or hotel.  Capital requirements are met both by equity (owned capital) and by debt (rented capital).  The increasing prevalence of solar cells on buildings can be viewed as a private electric cloud servicing multiple “applications”—for example, lighting, air conditioning, cooking—that complements public electric utilities.

From looking at other industries as well as the underlying economics, one can come to several conclusions.  First, although the degree of penetration varies by industry, the public cloud model—short-term, on-demand, pay-per-use “rental” of resources—almost always exists and is not only viable, but a highly successful business model offering compelling customer value.  Second, the ownership model also almost always exists.  Third, seamless interoperability between the two is critical.  Imagine if you couldn’t pay off your mortgage, or some light bulbs in your house only ran on solar, or you couldn’t check in to or check out of a hotel.

Over the next 3 weeks, our “Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Both Worlds” series will help you to think about what advantages your organization can achieve using hybrid cloud solutions.  In our next post, we’ll talk about the rationale for hybrid solutions and begin talking about the different hybrid architectures.

For more details on Hybrid Cloud solutions, you can download the entire “Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Both Worlds” whitepaper here.

Next post - Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Both Worlds - The Rationale for Hybrid (Coming February 10)

Comments (0)

  1. JOHN A says:

    Is that Car a Delorean "Back to the Future" ?

  2. Barrie says:

    Based upon my private and enterprise experience.

    In general, I like the sentiments implied regarding a stepped approach to cloud via a hybrid model. The issue that I have with cloud provisioning or the marketing thereof, is the impression that cloud is suitable for every environment. In suggesting a hybrid
    cloud model goes some way towards acknowledging there are discrete environments that are not suitable for using a cloud based solution.

    Recently, I had attended a vendor presentation, in which they clearly stated that they were exclusively an enterprise solution. Their market segmentation does not include any small to medium size business environment. Their pitch and level of expectation is
    crystal clear, any potential party requiring their product would fully understand what environments to use their product is fit for purpose.

    Why is this important to this subject, they were honest in their claim of how they could meet and deliver a certain level of business capability. On the flip side, I constantly hear the war cry, of how cloud will provide you enormous financial savings. Yes,
    there occasions when cloud can and does provide significant savings both in time and operating costs. However, I am now also seeing some institutions bringing back some functions to the in-house service model because the reality did not match the hype and
    sales pitch.

    So in summary, the two points that I would like to make is that when talking about cloud:

    1- there should be a balanced discussion that when considering a cloud solution, it should be fit for purpose. This is to say, that It is very rare indeed that the term “fit for purpose” is used in when discussing cloud solutions. The lack of balance (cloud
    is suitable for every instance)unnecessarily greats a level of expectation that potentially cannot be delivered.

    2 – that in being honest, cloud is nothing more than outsourcing. It is a form of obtaining a managed service (PasS, SaaS or IaaS). The same level of rigour (risk assessment, value for money considerations, contract controls, security, serviceability etc) that
    you would apply to obtaining an outsourced managed service function should be applied to any potential cloud provisioning arrangements.

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