Hybrid cloud solutions suit the enterprise.
Research published by the Harvard Business Review in 2017 points to how companies of all sizes are responding to the shift to cloud computing:
- 42% combine services form both public and private cloud platforms
- 40% operate mostly in the private cloud
- 13% operate mostly in the public cloud
Using a combination of public and private cloud services, enterprises can use customized cloud solutions to address complex business challenges, such as gathering and processing data, improving service reliability, and controlling service costs.
On-Premise Private Cloud Solutions Offer Control at a Cost
Private, on-premise solutions provide a high level of security and control over company data.
On-premise private cloud solutions are appropriate for businesses that collect highly sensitive data or must maintain full control of critical applications, such as CRM or HR portals, in their environments.
On-premise private cloud solutions are based on a company’s intranet or its private data center, where the data is protected by a firewall.
However, the hardware required for a locally-hosted private cloud solution needs routine maintenance and constant monitoring from experts. Whether these experts are sourced internally or externally, they need ongoing training so that their skills evolve with changing standards in IT, which increases their cost.
Buying and implementing the hardware for on-premise solutions, along with maintenance costs and salaries for personnel, make private on-premise cloud solutions prohibitively expensive for many organizations.
Scaling on-premise solutions—to accommodate more customer data, for example—demands even greater prices.
As such, the costs of private internal cloud solutions are only justified for enterprises that demonstrate very precise technical needs, like maintaining administrative functionality in employee benefits software for a large company or strict data control in organizations dealing with personal health information.
Hybrid Cloud Solutions Benefit the Enterprise
Enterprises can mitigate costs and increase efficiencies by using both public and private cloud services, a setup referred to as hybrid cloud solutions.
When a company distributes its products and data using both on-premise and public cloud-based servers, IT teams are empowered in multiple ways, including:
- Bolstering security
- Optimizing savings
- Improving support from internal teams and managed service providers
Hybrid Cloud Solutions Provide Flexibility to Enterprises
Moving non-critical applications, like word processing or presentation software, to the public cloud allows you to keep sensitive processes within the more secure environments of the private cloud.
This also begins to drive efficiency, as the company only pays for the exact services and applications it uses.
Experiment with small use cases (like running your email or call services in the public cloud) to determine how other applications of cloud-enabled technologies can improve other business processes. For example:
- The cloud can be used as a tool for inexpensive software testing since it offers better access to statistics relating to user traffic.
- Non-sensitive data can be shifted to the public cloud when web traffic increases, freeing up resources to process data effectively on the private cloud when necessary.
However, the hybrid cloud environment is not as economical as the pay-as-you-go model offered by a purely public cloud-hosted solution.
Hybrid cloud solutions are generally more expensive than purely public cloud solutions for the following reasons:
- Managing a hybrid environment requires more attention and expertise; additional people and software may be required to do this successfully.
- Software may need to be customized when moved from an on-premise server to a public cloud.
- Compliance is easier to achieve when an environment is homogenous. But when local and remote databases are paired with public and private cloud services, maintaining compliance demands more involvement from both internal and third parties.
Hybrid solutions also have more complex pay models. That being said, the customized nature of hybrid services, from data archiving to web application hosting, can optimize the ways in which your business shifts and processes data to suit your fluctuating needs.
Leaders of businesses using hybrid solutions need to pay close attention to both pricing models and the implementation of services to ensure their custom solution makes both financial and business sense.
How the Cloud Supports Innovation With Legacy Code
The increased opportunities for innovation in the cloud allows organizations the ability to quickly and cheaply add servers to test new solutions — a fast way to launch product experimentation and development.
Repurposing legacy code to build new and innovative solutions is made possible by using containerized applications. A "container" is a software component that integrates with another piece of software in an isolated environment. The container can be used to create an isolated environment in which to develop, test, and launch new software.
Containerized applications run smoothly on any machine, regardless of operating system, meaning technical teams spend less time writing code to positively impact more end users.
In the enterprise, product owners looking to modernize legacy solutions understand that securing buy-in from leadership requires minimizing costs while maximizing solution efficiency.
By moving software into containerized applications, teams can easily switch between local servers and their cloud service provider.
From there, they could switch to another cloud service if they happen to have or need one. This is an effective way for product owners to control costs of services while also deriving the most value from cloud storage and support services.
How ING Used Cloud to Decrease Cost and Streamline Development
ING, a multinational financial services and banking company, delivered better digital experiences to customers using Docker, a cloud-based service that supports containerized applications.
ING significantly reduced the number of legacy applications supporting the features of its consumer-facing software. Those remaining were repurposed in a microservices architecture, meaning smaller teams could release more deployments of high-quality code per week.
Through the use of cloud and Docker, ING to decreased costs and improved its ability to build and launch code that meets users needs more effectively.
While containerizing legacy applications require considerable efforts from technical teams, solutions like Docker help enterprises leverage existing code and internal resources in the name of faster innovation.
Companies Need to Tailor The Cloud to Evolving Business Needs
From public, pay-as-you-go services to containerized applications, there are a variety of paths businesses can take as they adapt the cloud to their existing IT ecosystems.
Certain combinations of services suit businesses of particular sizes better than others. Stakeholders must consider how services and applications can and should scale to support long-term business goals.
The solution a company builds in the cloud can be as simple or complex as the challenges it faces. Business leaders must adapt “digital-first” mindsets, leaning on their IT teams if necessary, to achieve the solution that nestles into their unique combination of business challenges and technological resources.
Especially for enterprises, adopting the cloud to the business’s needs through hybrid solutions is the best way to achieve success and a more lightweight, secure, and scalable IT infrastructure.
About the Author
As the Content Associate at MentorMate, Stan loves to make the obscure more apparent, the complicated more human and approachable. He strives to communicate the complex themes inherent in software development in ways that spark curiosity and invite exploration.
Stan helps to develop content and coordinate communications that connects MentorMate's audiences with vital information that helps them create solutions that help other people. When he’s not researching or publishing a new article, Stan enjoys running around a few of Minnesota’s many lakes and looking for new recipes.