There are a lot of “buzzwords” associated with cloud computing. One in particular is “hybrid cloud.” So what exactly does that mean? A hybrid cloud model is a mix of utilizing public cloud computing resources along with private cloud resources. In order to better understand a hybrid cloud model, let’s take a look at the differences between public and private clouds.
Public Cloud: A public cloud is a computing model where users subscribe to a monthly service. We use public clouds all the time without even realizing it. Gmail by Google is a public cloud service where data is stored and processed off-site by a 3rd party provider, and is accessed via an internet connection. With a public cloud, the cloud provider (Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are two, just to name a few) is responsible for monitoring servers and computing, guaranteeing uptime, and backing up, replicating, and storing subscriber data.
Many businesses shy away from utilizing a cloud computing platform for fear of their data living off-site on someone else’s servers. With the public cloud, often multiple clients’ data are stored on the same server. While the cloud provider has multiple safeguards in place to keep the data separate; some business owners are not comfortable with the idea of having their sensitive information commingled with other companies on the same server.
Private Cloud: Traditionally speaking, private clouds were developed as a way to make a cloud-like environment for a company without using an off-site cloud provider. Private clouds are built by virtualizing servers within an organization so that it offers similar benefits of using a public cloud (scalability, high level processing power, and replication of data across virtualized servers) while residing on a server that is on-premise and protected behind the company’s firewall. Unlike public cloud computing, a private cloud requires monitoring and maintenance by an in-house staff member as the server is physically located in-house.
Many cloud providers have recognized that businesses want their data kept separate and have created private-public cloud offerings. With these, companies get to choose the off-site server they want to store their data on with a guarantee that their data and their data only are what are living on the server. Through virtual private network (VPN) and other direct connectivity protocols, companies are able to store sensitive data privately off-site with a cloud provider.
A hybrid cloud configuration bridges the gap between private and public clouds and allows businesses to take advantage of cloud computing technologies to optimize their IT budgets, streamline operations, and have access to enterprise level computing power – without having to host all of those resources in-house. With a hybrid cloud, companies move a lot of their data off-site to a cloud provider such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. Applications, databases, and archive data are stored in the cloud, where they are monitored and replicated by the cloud provider for continuous availability.
For ultra-sensitive data that companies do not want to move to a cloud, they can virtualize internal servers to build a cloud-like environment for sensitive data to live on. IT administrators can configure the public and private clouds so that end users can access data simultaneously, while the source locations of the data are protected via the company’s network firewall. This type of model provides robust scalability, reliability, and agility – giving businesses a competitive edge by optimizing their IT operations.