The cloud continues to fumble its way toward definition, and while the industry has pretty much settled on the various service-delivery models, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), Platform as a Service (PAAS), and Software as a Service (SAAS), there is still a lot of discussion ongoing about the best way to provide each service.
In terms of IAAS, much of that discussion has centered on how best to leverage the benefits of public cloud computing, such as rapid scale and provisioning of resources, against concerns like security and data privacy. Companies want the benefits of a public IAAS platform, but the security control of an in-house private cloud.
Enter the hybrid cloud model. In a hybrid cloud, enterprises utilize a private cloud infrastructure that they control directly, and utilize public cloud resources to give them the ability to rapidly scale. In this model, key assets and data are retained in-house, with less critical public-facing servers deployed in the public cloud, and secure network connectivity provides communication between the two environments.
Advantages of a hybrid cloud management model include:
- Flexible scale – As mentioned above, public-facing servers are typically deployed in the public cloud, allowing for rapid deployment and scale.
- Security for critical assets – Key assets like certain application servers, data and databases are kept under the direct control of the enterprise, enhancing security.
- Greater control – Almost by definition, hybrid clouds offer a higher level of control when compared to deployments in the public cloud only, because the company retains direct control of a significant portion of the environment.
Of course, as you might imagine, hybrid cloud deployments don’t solve every problem, and they often create entirely new issues to deal with. There are definitely considerations to think about when it comes to hybrid cloud management. Here are a few important points to consider:
- Make sure your data is protected – Probably the most common approach in hybrid cloud environments is to keep core data on the private cloud side of the environment, due to a combination of security, regulatory, and cost considerations. But whereas public cloud storage platforms like Google or Amazon’s S3 have redundancy built-in, private clouds don’t necessarily have the same level of protection.
- Understand your resource constraints – Enterprises love the idea of using the public cloud to scale web servers quickly, while keeping critical assets under their control. But scaling web servers quickly in response to a sudden upsurge in traffic only increases the front-end of your environment. What happens when all of those web servers call back to the database? You need to understand what rapidly scaling up one area of your environment will do to other areas.
- Make sure your hybrid cloud doesn’t break your compliance model – If your data is spread between your private and public clouds, what does that do from an audit and compliance standpoint? Some regulatory standards are more forgiving than others when it comes to the hybrid cloud approach.
- What SLA’s are you getting? – If you keep the private cloud portion in-house, are you really gaining any SLA advantages? Even more – does your private cloud affect your public-cloud SLA’s? One key component to achieve target SLAs and QoS (Quality of Service) is to have a sound WAN (Wide Area Network) strategy, such as Broadband Bonding or WAN Orchestration, to support your hybrid cloud applications.
Hybrid clouds offers a lot of potential to enterprises, offering the ability to scale rapidly while protecting critical data. But hybrid cloud management is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, either from the standpoint of planning or implementation.
Mushroom Networks has implemented hybrid cloud solutions for many customers, and we would love to discuss hybrid cloud management for your enterprise. If this is something you’d like to discuss, contact us today to get started.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.