Hybrid cloud: the best of both worlds
By Piers Linney, Co-CEO, Outsourcery IT industry
The flexible nature of the hybrid cloud model is opening up an array of opportunities for the data centre community. IT leaders can now transition workloads to the cloud and dispense with clunky, legacy silos with restricted capacity. Hybrid cloud offers a flexible alternative which provides the ability to transition workloads to private or public clouds whilst integrating with existing infrastructure or applications wherever they might be.
Organisations are demanding more and more from their data centres, as the amount of information stored grows and becomes more complex. Capacity restrictions and seasonal peaks in data traffic are difficult to control too, causing a strain on IT infrastructures, which have not been developed to meet the amount of work being pushed on them. And, often, this can be found in cases where organisations are relying on legacy systems, which were initially fit for purpose but have since seen demands outpace their capabilities.
A recent cloud computing report by Gartner predicted that 75 per cent of commercial organisations are set to have hybrid cloud in place by the end of 2015.
Piers Linney, Co-CEO at Outsourcery
These organisations are aiming to reap the benefits of a virtualised infrastructure, which supports their increasing workloads. But, what is it about hybrid cloud that is so compelling?
As it stands, the hybrid cloud is a combination of the existing fixed data centre infrastructure and a private and/or public cloud hosted infrastructure. A key consideration for moving to a hybrid cloud model depends on the amount of accessibility and privacy that an organisation requires. Organisations, for example, might find that some workloads can be hosted in a public cloud and/or a cloud hosted from a UK data centre with access to certain networks which can be accessed by multiple parties, whereas more sensitive data may need to be held on a private environment, which can only be accessed by one particular organisation.
In addition, taking a hybrid cloud approach enables organisations to gradually and flexibly host the desired workloads while meeting security requirements. For example, with an increase in traffic or a restriction in capacity in the fixed infrastructure, IT leaders can then transfer selected data to the right cloud platform when it suits them.
The public sector is a keen adopter of cloud however it faces tighter regulation because of the responsibility it carries to keep the public’s data secure. Further, the size of public sector organisations makes it impractical for a wholesale move to cloud with a hybrid model resulting. The Cabinet Office has launched a joint venture with Ark Data Centres, the Crown Hosting Service, and with this, public sector organisations are now able to collocate their existing assets moving out of their existing data centres. The facility means that public sector bodies can move out of existing data centres sooner and take an iterative approach to moving elements of their IT estate to the cloud. Cloud providers that provide cloud services from the same location as the JV, are able to offer close proximity cloud services over networks such as the PSN whilst meeting the government’s security principles, enabling the public sector to leverage the benefits of public cloud delivered from a UK Sovereign Data Centre.
The cloud’s ability to adapt easily allows organisations to introduce new applications and technologies to the work place and to continuously enhance functionality in a safe and secure environment.
While hybrid environments provide organisations with increased capacity, flexibility and enhanced workload process speeds, they can also deliver commercial benefits through metered billing for cloud workloads. In addition, virtualised infrastructure enables organisations to increase their energy efficiency, because less energy is being consumed for cooling or running large systems, helping organisations become more environmentally friendly.
Data Centre providers enable organisations to achieve greater operability, and maintain a fixed power efficiency rating (PUE) to save 14,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over 10 years.
Hybrid cloud has given organisations the opportunity to manage data loads, without having to invest in a completely new data centre infrastructure. Organisations can sweat current assets whilst they redevelop applications for the cloud with the ability to mix delivery models depending on their data security requirements, current investment and readiness for the cloud.
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