The hybrid cloud is the future for many companies. Businesses large and small are turning to blended infrastructure because it combines the best of all worlds: public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers working together in any combination.
Individually, the public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers can stand on their own legs as valuable architecture. But what our customers have found is that when it comes to the cloud, one size does not fit all. Instead, you can gain a synergistic value from combining different infrastructures into a single product portfolio. The ability to create a common computing architecture can deliver better reliability, optimized performance and greater cost value. But that’s not all.
In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why a hybrid cloud is better for your business and your customers:
A complete hybrid cloud portfolio enables you to place workloads where they make the most sense. You can align your architecture to take advantage of performance requirements that only dedicated servers can offer. At the same time you can meet financial objectives with contract term billing to meet regulatory or investor expectations, while also taking advantage of utility billing for unknown or short term needs. And of course, cloud technology offers rapid deployment times that come in handy when deadlines get shortened or requirements change.
Root access can be granted to appropriate personnel, and custom network segmentation can be defined to logically and physically segment your architecture where needed. Unlike cloud-only solutions, a hybrid cloud portfolio enables you to define if and where multi-tenancy is acceptable. You can also request customized hardware as needed to meet your specific application performance requirements.
A common concern about cloud technology among enterprises is security and multi-tenancy. A hybrid portfolio eases these concerns by allowing you to choose dedicated servers and network devices that can isolate or restrict access. Furthermore, your devices can be configured so your dedicated servers and cloud servers can communicate on a private network, turning what formerly used to be two separate solutions into a single integrated architecture. Rackspace has been providing this option to customers for several years.
With better security comes the ability to meet compliance requirements. Many auditors frown upon multi-tenancy and require dedicated solutions for some (and sometimes all) aspects of your hosted infrastructure. With proper network security, a hybrid solution blending cloud and dedicated hardware can satisfy auditor requirements.
Managing vendor relationships can be daunting. Different billing capabilities, pricing methodologies, differences in technology priorities and varying levels of support can make it difficult to keep your outsourced technologies running smoothly. Using a single provider that offers both a robust portfolio and customer-centric account team can greatly reduce your stress levels, thanks to the “single throat to choke” or “single person to hug” concept.
We have often said that the cloud is for everyone, but not everything. There are simply some workloads that demand the performance and security that dedicated hardware can offer. However, you’ll still need the flexibility and speed to market of cloud services when it comes to completing batch computing jobs, bracing yourself for traffic surges (whether expected or not) and preparing for peak business periods, among other reasons. A hybrid cloud lets you own the base configuration and rent the spike, so you can pay only for what you use.
Developers work hard to create stable applications. Development and testing is a common use for cloud servers (think “rent the spike”), but when it comes time for production you want to know exactly how your platform will perform. In many cases, public cloud will work fine, but some businesses may prefer to stick with dedicated servers for at least part of their mission critical launches. For example, dedicated servers can be configured to meet performance needs and then be supplemented with multi-tenant cloud servers for overflow traffic.
Most public cloud vendors offer a wide variety of operating system choices. This can be valuable if you need to test products or engage different technical audiences. If you resell hosted services, your customers will have the flexibility to choose their preferred environment, and you will know that you have the ability to rely on dedicated options for customers that need such.
The ability to spin up and tear down cloud servers is very appealing to developers, especially if they are able to do so on their own without the process or time restrictions often required by internal IT departments. This building block mentality can promote research and development flexibility by liberating technical creators through fast set up/tear down of cloud servers. Think proof of concept projects, pilots, software trials, etc. Once goals are achieved and tests are complete, cloud or dedicated resources can be deployed to meet production requirements going forward.
Application sprawl is the concept of business units purchasing IT resources from external vendors for a wide variety of reasons. For example, maybe your developers are going to a provider to spin up and tear down servers to meet a short-term project timeline. A company could create a single sandbox environment on dedicated servers with the performance and security features you need, while also being able to connect to flexible cloud resources. This could then provide a controlled and finite reusable technology pool where internal departments, external vendors, partners and maybe even customers can deploy and test solutions. Internally such a configuration might even become a profit center.
One consideration we’ve deliberately excluded from the list is cost. That’s because there are many variables that determine the value and cost of any given hosting solution, at least from our perspective. Is a cloud solution less expensive than a dedicated solution? Sometimes; but the real answer is “it depends.” Every hosting solution is unique, and every customer has requirements that revolve not only around technology, but also around support, financial and business objectives. Working with a hybrid cloud provider can give you the luxury of choice with the confidence of consistency.