Hybrid

Is the hybrid cloud model right for your business?

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Hybrid cloud deployments have become an increasingly popular choice among enterprises. According to MarketsandMarkets research, the hybrid cloud market is expanding at a 17 percent compound annual growth rate.

What’s behind the popularity of the hybrid cloud model, which combines public and private cloud resources in the same environment? Does this setup really deliver the best of both worlds — the scalability of the public cloud with the control of a private deployment?

Some companies hesitate to bring public cloud resources into their IT mix, because they need to keep security operations in-house. Others worry that a hybrid environment will be more difficult to manage due to increased complexity and more infrastructure components.

Here’s a closer look at what factors go into deciding whether hybrid is the best cloud setup for your business, as well as what combination of private and public resources might work for you.

What impacts the hybrid cloud mix?

Here are a few business issues that the hybrid cloud model is designed to address and how those considerations determine the correct hybrid cloud mix for each business.

1. Capital expenses versus operating expenses

Public cloud helps with a shift from capital expenses to operating expenses. The public cloud provider takes on the responsibility of the underlying hardware, infrastructure and maintenance, while the business pays only for the service it requires. Conversely, there’s no need for a business to toss aside its own infrastructure investments. The hybrid cloud model helps a business use its existing infrastructure in support of a private cloud model.

2. Security

Some business systems demand greater security than others. Systems of engagement, such as mobile apps and social media interactions, may demand less security and become candidates for public cloud platforms. Conversely, systems of record, such as billing, customer account data and research data, require heavier security. Private cloud platforms managed by internal resources may be the best option for these systems.

3. Agility to explore and innovate

If your business has a development and test team, it may want public cloud access to quickly spin up and use computing resources for short windows. This agility allows for easy exploration without the expense of procuring private infrastructure. It also provides more freedom to innovate when the team knows resources can be spun up for development, but it can be taken down just as easily if the project doesn’t work as anticipated.

4. Workload variability

The public cloud/private cloud mix inside a business also depends on workload and traffic variability. For example, if you run a retail business, traffic may remain steady on your site for most of the year but spike during holidays or sales runs. For this type of business, the ability to use public cloud to handle traffic spikes may be invaluable. A B2B business that only serves one geographic locale may have higher traffic during work days and business hours and experience little traffic, if any, at other times. With a predictable and steady workload, having a hybrid mix that favors private cloud may be the best option.

Finding what works for your business

The right mix of public and private infrastructure in a hybrid cloud environment depends on enterprise requirements. Companies with variable computing needs and traffic demands often do best with a higher proportion of public cloud, due to the scalability it offers. Startups that need to remain agile and quickly respond to fast-changing markets may also benefit from more public cloud resources. Meanwhile, enterprises in highly regulated industries, such as finance or health care, may lean more toward private cloud rather than public in order to maintain more control over security.

Finding out which model works best for your business requires thought and assessment. Security needs, business maturity and compute demands all play a role in deciding the correct mix of public and private cloud.

Is the hybrid cloud model right for your business? Fortunately, this isn’t a question you have to answer alone. IBM can help you explore the right mix for your business and learn about all the ways cloud computing can benefit your organization.

Learn more about the essentials of private clouds for enterprises and how it can fit within your hybrid model.

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