We’ve all heard of the cloud; the place where our treasured data magically disappear to, only to reappear whenever we need them, without clogging up space on our devices. We only pay for what we use, and if we need more, we can just pay a little extra. For large organisations though, cloud hosting is much more complicated, costly, and risky.
Having seen the flexibility and simplicity of public cloud, and migrated much of their estate to the public cloud, many organisations are looking at strategies to withdraw – at least in part – to reduce the rampant cost growth that has ensued.
Selecting a cloud provider also means putting your faith and the operations of your organisation into the hands of another company; you are totally dependent on their performance.
If you have chosen to use 100% public cloud, it’s wise to consider splitting your suppliers between "business as usual" and "disaster recovery" - just in case the disaster is your primary cloud provider failing.
Larger organisations typically have sections of a data centre (or even their own data centres), containing their own servers, which are then clustered to form a private cloud. While this has many benefits of cloud computing, and can offer cost savings, it lacks the on-demand scalability of the public cloud.
The organisation must predict its peak usage, then purchase and manage hardware with sufficient headroom to handle large spikes in demand. This is where the organisation loses out, and becomes shackled to the old commercial model of hosting; it is paying for over-specified resources that are generally under-utilised, and this is where hybrid cloud comes in.
Hybrid cloud uses software to ‘orchestrate’ data usage, so that when the private cloud reaches capacity, it can overflow into the public cloud. The orchestration software deliberately fragments the data pushed into the public cloud, preventing any of the data being useful to a malicious third party.
Using a hybrid approach means that even if your chosen cloud provider lets you down, core business functions remain operational. So, with hybrid cloud the organisation benefits from optimised cost efficiency, greater control, and improved information security.
By means of conclusion, public cloud is a bit like a hotel; it’s convenient and easy, luxurious even, but expensive compared to a mortgage. To get the best from the cloud, organisations need to consider how they can utilise the public cloud as a fail-over, until they’ve extended their physical capacity to keep up with demand. This approach will see a leaner cost base, without compromise on performance.
Some of the larger hardware providers are starting to offer customers over-specified hardware that can accommodate spikes in demand, yet this head room is only paid for when it is used. It remains to be seen how this compares to hybrid cloud however; there is no such thing as a free breakfast.
How can we help?
Our team has experience of migrating large and complex systems into the cloud, so please speak to us if you have questions, and see our other 2018 tech trend picks below.
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