Ten Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Hybrid Cloud Strategy
by Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Evangelist, Rackspace Technology
(Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this post, originally published in 2013, to reflect the realities of cloud in 2022.)
As cloud continues to evolve, a hybrid cloud infrastructure is still the future for many companies. But why and how do you identify if you’re one of them?
Businesses of all sizes are turning to blended infrastructure because it brings together the best of all worlds: public and private clouds and dedicated servers working together in any combination.
Customers looking to accelerate digital transformation are moving data and applications and most important business processes to multicloud. The immediate benefits they enjoy are better security, cost-saving innovation, accelerated development, broader accessibility and business continuity.
Individually, public cloud environments, private cloud and dedicated servers can stand on their own legs as valuable architecture. But our customers have also discovered that one size does not fit all when it comes to the cloud. As your business changes, a hybrid cloud solution can change right along with you.
By combining different infrastructures in a single product portfolio, you can achieve synergies. You can turn off, manage and operate services. You can use new services, but only when you need them.
Creating a common computer architecture can deliver better reliability, optimized performance, and higher cost value. But that's not all.
The Future of Multicloud
We surveyed 1,420 technology decision-makers in April 2022, including more than 400 chief information and chief technology officers. Business leaders appear to be putting their money on the table again, with the companies we surveyed saying that they will invest in public or private cloud containers (48%), serverless (44%) and edge technologies (38%).
Forward-thinking companies are combining cloud computing with emerging technologies — AI, machine learning, containers and serverless. When we asked how cloud is aiding innovation:
- 49% Said that the cloud improves customer experience and ease of use
- 44% Cloud enables faster testing and deployment of new products and services
- 37% Offers limitless compute and storage
- 35% Expands their range of products/services
- 33% Provides the ability to scale up and down on demand
That’s not all. 56% of respondents can’t imagine having a data center infrastructure in five years, lending credibility to the idea that cloud is here to stay — and growing. To learn more, check out our “Multicloud Annual Research Report 2022.”
- Cloud computing evolves at a brisk pace. Case in point: SaaS is now a very real option for several enterprise workloads. Far more than a pure sales-tracking application, Salesforce is highly extensible, even for complex workloads.
- Hybrid enhancements keep advancing. Not so long ago, private cloud was associated with the physical infrastructure running in your chosen data center. This could mean a physical server, a virtual-machines environment or an OpenStack deployment. Today, hyperscale cloud providers have developed services that enhance capabilities — in your data center. Microsoft offers Azure Stack to extend Azure services to data centers, edge locations and remote offices. Additionally, Microsoft introduced Azure Arc to provide consistency of management and management tools across Azure, on-premise data centers and other clouds.
- The “public, private cloud” Another improvement is the ability to run VMware-based virtual workloads on cloud native applications like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure. While this might feel like it creates confusion, you can think of this still as a private cloud – it’s just that the underlying infrastructure runs on top of a hyperscale public cloud provider’s infrastructure.
Why Choose Hybrid Cloud?
1. GREATER FLEXIBILITY
A complete hybrid cloud solution allows 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 use term billing to meet financial goals or regulatory/investor expectations, while also taking advantage of utility billing for unknown or short-term needs. And since the cloud enables fast deployment times, tight deadlines or scope changes become feasible.
2. MORE CONTROL
The company can grant root access to appropriate personnel, and custom network segmentation can be defined to segment your architecture logically and physically as needed. Unlike cloud-only solutions, a multicloud portfolio lets you determine if and where multi-tenancy is acceptable. You can also request customized hardware as needed to meet the performance requirements of your specific application.
3. IMPROVED SECURITY
Our survey found that security remains the number one IT challenge for businesses (ahead of “cost” and “IT talent”). In addition, security remains the most cited barrier to cloud adoption. Security risks and multi-tenancy are common concerns when it comes to cloud technology. A hybrid portfolio eliminates these concerns by allowing you to choose dedicated servers and network devices that can isolate or restrict access.
Furthermore, you can configure your devices to allow your dedicated servers and cloud servers to communicate on a private network, transforming separate solutions into a single integrated architecture. Rackspace Technology® has offered customers this option for several years. Today, you can monitor and manage the entire attack surface uniformly and effectively with a range of security services on the market from both managed service providers and specialized boutique firms.
4. COMPLIANCE OPTIONS
Public cloud service providers have worked hard to make the public cloud a secure option for storing sensitive data. Still, many organizations are more comfortable having their high-risk data stored on-premises or in a private cloud, where there is less risk of it becoming available to other cloud users. Many auditors frown upon multi-tenancy and require dedicated solutions for some (and sometimes all) aspects of hosted infrastructure. With adequate network security, you can easily adopt the hybrid cloud model, combining cloud and dedicated hardware to meet audit requirements. With better security comes the ability to address compliance requirements.
5. PEACE OF MIND
Managing supplier relationships can be daunting. Different billing features, pricing methods, differences in technology priorities, and varying levels of support can make it challenging to keep your outsourced solutions running smoothly. Using a single provider that offers a robust portfolio and a customer-focused account team can significantly reduce stress levels thanks to having a single point of accountability.
6. UTILITY BILLING
We’ve often said that the cloud is for everyone, but not everything. Some workloads demand the performance and security that only dedicated hardware can provide. However, you’ll still need the flexibility and speed to market of cloud services to complete batch computing jobs, plan for traffic spikes (expected or not) and prepare for peak business periods, among other reasons. With a multicloud model, you can own the base configuration and rent the spike, paying only for what you use.
7. TECHNICAL PREDICTABILITY
Developers work hard to create stable applications. Development and testing are common uses for cloud servers (think “rent the spike”), but when it comes time for production, you want to know precisely how your platform will perform. Public cloud infrastructure will work well in many cases, but some businesses may prefer to stick with dedicated servers for at least some of their mission-critical launches. For example, dedicated servers can be configured to meet performance needs and then supplemented with multi-tenant cloud servers for overflow traffic.
8. OPERATING SYSTEM CHOICE
Most public cloud providers offer a wide range of operating systems. This can be valuable if you need to test products or target different technical audiences. If you resell hosted services, your customers will have the flexibility to choose their preferred environment. You’ll know that you can count on dedicated options for customers who need them.
9. FUELING INNOVATION
The ability to spin up and down cloud servers is attractive to developers, especially if they can do it independently without the process or time constraints often required by internal IT departments. This building-block mentality can encourage R&D flexibility by allowing technical creators to quickly set up/tear down cloud servers — think proof-of-concept projects, pilots, software trials, etc. Once goals are met and testing is complete, you can deploy cloud or dedicated resources to meet future production needs.
10. A TECHNOLOGY SAFE HARBOR
Application sprawl is the concept of business units purchasing IT resources from external vendors for various reasons. Your developers may turn to a vendor to spin servers up and down to meet a short-term project schedule. A company could create a single sandbox environment on dedicated servers with the performance and security features it needs while connecting to flexible cloud resources. This could then provide a controlled and finite, reusable technology pool where internal departments, external vendors, partners and perhaps even customers can deploy and test solutions. Internally, such a configuration could even become a profit center.
One consideration we deliberately excluded from the list is cost. Many variables determine the value and cost of a hosting solution. Is a cloud solution cheaper than a dedicated one? Sometimes. But this answer depends on several factors. Every hosting solution is unique, and every customer has specific needs related to technology, support and financial goals. Working with a hybrid cloud provider can give you the luxury of choice with the confidence of consistency.
Teams used to make infrastructure decisions every one to three years. Today business and technology are moving so rapidly that a company’s entire technology stack should be on a roadmap for reconsideration every quarter.
That doesn’t mean you change direction every quarter. It just means you must stay on top of innovations and ahead of changes in your industry. In particular, consider which platform each of your applications should be running. Here are the buckets:
- Private Cloud (VMware, HP, DellEMC, Microsoft, OpenStack, RedHat)
- Public Cloud (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, Microsoft 365)
- Software-as-a-Service (Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, Marketo, Okta, HubSpot)
Here’s that challenge for you to take on: Either build a team that can focus on this as a full-time job, or partner with a company that can bring an outside-in view to your technology stack.
Partner with us to go Beyond Clouds. Learn more about The Four Pillars of a Successful Multicloud Strategy.
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