60.9% of companies worldwide already use hybrid clouds, and a further 32.7% are going to implement these solutions in the upcoming two years. Hybrid cloud services are a perfect solution for any business, irrespective of the number of employees. The combination of what is best in both public and private clouds, along with the advantages of local infrastructure, allow companies to increase their resistance to crises, to maintain their identity, meet all the regulations and standards, as well as accelerate the pace of development. Find out when and why it is worth implementing hybrid cloud services in your company.
For the majority of leaders, the key factors for survival in the market are an increased flexibility of action, modernisation of the IT infrastructure, ensuring the highest in security standards, meeting legal requirements (e.g. the GDPR in the European Union), and improving the effectiveness of corporate processes. Hybrid cloud services have been designed to enhance all these factors. In addition, they also facilitate flexible business scaling, reduce costs, and paradoxically provide greater control over the dispersed IT system.
What are hybrid cloud services and how do they work?
Hybrid cloud is a blend of solutions offered by private clouds, public clouds and local in-house infrastructure. Why combine several different technologies? Each of them has specific advantages, and hybrid clouds allow companies to use the functionalities they really need.
It should be emphasised that hybrid cloud services are not multi-cloud solutions, which combine just different cloud services from an external provider. Hybrid cloud is a mix of an organisation’s own resources (internal private cloud or on-premise local infrastructure) with cloud resources offered by an external entity (hosted private cloud or public cloud).
Together, hybrid cloud services can include the following solutions:
- On premise – the company uses its own physical servers. A private in-house data centre ensures a high level of control over resources and unlimited freedom in the environment configuration.
- Public cloud – you pay for just the actually used computing power. For example GCP, AWS, Azure. This is the most attractive solution as far as the price is concerned.
- Private clouds – allow buying the necessary equipment, software and resources from external providers, or building this environment in the company. For example IBM Cloud, VMware, Dell, Oracle. Private solutions guarantee high software and data security.
On-premise, private and public solutions can be combined in a variety of configurations. When selecting appropriate technologies, Stepwise always takes the individual needs of a given business into consideration. We thoroughly examine what you need and offer an optimum blend of solutions. How can you combine the available technologies, and what benefits can you receive? Here are four simple examples of the practical use of hybrid clouds:
The first example of using hybrid clouds
We have a large application installed on-premise (on corporate servers). We would like to change the access model into SaaS and move a digital product with the system to the cloud. It is hard to move the entire software to the cloud in a short period of time and maintain constant access to the application. Hybrid clouds allow us to move businesses to cloud services gradually.
Some specialists complain about the extended completion time of processes where the components of the system communicate by means of the internet. In the case of the most frequently used software, this difference is nearly imperceptible. If your application is not real-time (e.g. high-frequency trading), this will not matter.
The second example of using hybrid clouds
Hybrid cloud is often used by those entrepreneurs who, for a variety of reasons, prefer storing sensitive and confidential data on corporate servers. In many industries there is a conviction that this is significantly more secure than processing data in external data centres.
In such a situation, applications can run within the framework of cloud services, and customer and user data can be stored on local servers or in the private cloud of the company. This solution is justified only when we are certain that our own virtual machines are 100% secure.
For some time, entrepreneurs’ fears of data security in the cloud have been unjustified. Nowadays, the security level of cloud services is very high. Cloud providers deliver required certificates and meet the strictest security standards (including the GDPR). Users can use available encryption keys or implement their own code. A growing number of users and professional support enable increasing security on an ongoing basis. For this reason, businesses are more resistant to new cyber threats.
The third example of using hybrid clouds
Legal regulations regarding specific types of data can vary from country to country, e.g. in the European Union there are strict rules for processing personal data (GDPR). For this reason, in certain circumstances, storing customer data in external clouds is impossible.
Hybrid clouds enable combining cloud services (where an application works) with the company’s local server. In this way, data stay within the organisation. At the same time, the company can use an exceptionally comfortable model of providing access for the application in the SaaS or PaaS models. What is more, cloud providers often offer comprehensive packages of documents and procedures associated with security and ensuring appropriate quality, adjusted to the specific system or industry.
The fourth example of using hybrid clouds
Imagine that you already have a running application installed on local servers (on-premise), and you would like to test a new solution. While not being sure whether it is worth adding that to the software, thanks to cloud services you can check the justifiability of your concept quickly and at a relatively low cost.
In this approach, Stepwise uses an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or PoC (Proof of Concept). Instead of paying for building a new functionality on your own servers, you can do it with our aid, using cloud servers. Efficiently, safely and in controlled conditions. Find out more about MVP and PoC.
There are a lot of similar examples and combinations, which is why a thorough analysis of business needs and research on the solutions available in the market are of key significance. Different organizations have different priorities. Nevertheless, irrespective of the industry, there are several major benefits offered by hybrid clouds.
The benefits of hybrid clouds
Data security and control
For many companies it is important where applications and data are stored (particularly when it comes to sensitive data). Hybrid cloud services allow greater control over the location of these elements. In public clouds, data are divided across several data centres. Users have a small impact on where and in what conditions particular segments of their software are stored. Hybrid clouds guarantee complete control over selected parts of the system.
Ownership of the infrastructure
Complex information systems in companies often require the individual choice of particular functionalities. Cloud services allow you to freely configure settings, yet the possibilities are imposed by the manufacturers. Hybrid clouds enable building a tailor-made infrastructure on local servers. You are the owner of the software and you decide how you can improve the system management. At the same time, you can successfully use the cloud to handle selected processes (e.g. those characterised by extremely changeable load).
The possibility of moving the system piece-by-piece
Moving the entire system from physical virtual machines to the cloud can be troublesome if you have never done it before. To carry out this process efficiently and to avoid problems, you need to consider several particularly important issues. If you would like to find out how the migration to the cloud looks with Stepwise, read this article.
Hybrid cloud services combine the advantages of private and public clouds, as well as the local infrastructure of companies. This means that you do not have to move your entire software and data simultaneously. We can do it piece-by-piece or service-by-service. In this way, nothing will interfere with the system operation and performance. In case of any problems, it is relatively easy to identify the source of error and to fix it immediately.
Is hybrid cloud right for me?
Yes, especially when:
- you want to move your business or application to the cloud,
- you want to develop new software (MVP, PoC),
- you want to add a new functionality to the existing system,
- you do not want to lose time and money on building the infrastructure on premise.
Hybrid cloud services combine what is best in clouds and local in-house infrastructure. If you have the relevant competencies for creating in-house technological infrastructure, then preparing the appropriate equipment and software should not constitute a problem. If you need any assistance in this area you can contact the Stepwise team.
When you already have your own infrastructure, it is worth thinking about which cloud services suit your business best. See the most important advantages and disadvantages of public and private cloud services.
The advantages and disadvantages of public clouds
The advantages of public clouds
- Easy infrastructure set-up and management
Creating infrastructure in the public cloud can be compared to Lego building. Some elements require more attention and time, yet this is significantly more comfortable and faster than developing the infrastructure on-premise, where nearly all the “blocks” need to be created from the ground up.
If you do not use something, you do not pay for it. The fees are based on the actually used cloud resources.
- High availability
The majority of suppliers ensure a high SLA (Service Level Agreement). They guarantee the high level of their services, which ensures constant accessibility and high performance of your software.
- Disaster recovery
You can spread the workload across multiple data centres. A huge number of data centres enable dispersing the stored data and applications. You can create secure system backups and diversify the risk of losing your data.
- A variety of ready-to-use services
There are multiple technologies, programming languages, frameworks and tools that largely facilitate cloud service management. Kubernetes, BigQuery and DataFlow are just a few examples that can help you develop and manage your digital products. Each technology is accompanied by a vast group of specialists who consistently develop them, and suggest ready-to-use open source solutions.
The disadvantages of public clouds
- A lack of control over resources
In the case of an on-premise infrastructure, as an owner you can independently create new functionalities of the system. In public clouds you use the services of the cloud manufacturer, which significantly impedes customisation. One of the advantages of cloud services is the big number of possibilities of configuring available functionalities.
- Difficult service customisation
If you would like to add new functionalities or technologies to a public cloud, you will be disappointed. Public cloud providers offer specific packages of functionalities. They can develop software upon user request, yet they will not add functionalities to the existing product from just your request.
The advantages and disadvantages of private clouds
The advantages of private clouds:
- Sometimes it is easier to meet legal conditions and standards
The most common clouds (e.g. GCP and AWS) ensure a very high level of security. Providers guarantee relevant security certificates. We can also use encryption keys. As part of private computing clouds, only authorised individuals have access to the resources, and therefore they are much safer than public clouds.
- You own the infrastructure
In the case of internal clouds, you own the infrastructure. You get a full insight into processes, you know where and in what conditions the data is being stored, and you have absolute power over building the technological environment. This gives you greater control over your business and allows you to maintain flexibility in actions and changes.
The disadvantages of private clouds
- High costs of setting up and maintaining the infrastructure
Private clouds usually appear in two forms: as an internal infrastructure in your company (internal private clouds), and as an environment made available by an external provider (hosted private clouds). Both of these solutions are more expensive than public clouds and the cost of investing in your own environment in the company will be particularly high. If you choose this option, you will get greater control over the system and the possibility for flexible shaping of the infrastructure, but you will need to take into account the high costs of hardware, development, monitoring, disaster recovery, and remuneration for IT specialists.
- Technical challenges
Depending on the kind of private cloud, you may have to take full responsibility for the equipment and system. You will need to overcome all the technical challenges on your own, which is why the knowledge and experience of qualified specialists are necessary to prepare, manage and maintain a private cloud. You will need to be prepared for such issues as system errors, overloading, reduced performance, and problems with the physical equipment. In hosted private clouds the service provider can support you in all of these aspects.
- You pay for resources that you do not use
While maintaining your own infrastructure, you often have to pay for computing power that you do not use. For this reason, it is worth considering and planning the cloud strategy in your company. Stepwise has extensive experience in this area, and we are willing to tell you how you can optimise the costs of IT infrastructure.
- You need to set up services manually
Public cloud services mean ready-to-use infrastructure that you can instantly configure according to your needs. You also receive access to multiple free-of-charge solutions that facilitate using the cloud and software. In the case of internal private clouds, you implement all the services yourself.
When is it worth implementing hybrid clouds in your company?
Are you developing your own software in the cloud but you would prefer storing part of the data on internal servers? Would you like to flexibly scale your applications and provide your customers with the highest accessibility of the digital product, but the law requires storing sensitive data on secured corporate discs? Contact Stepwise and find out how you can implement comprehensive hybrid cloud services and use the most effective solutions in private and public clouds, as well as local in-house infrastructure.
Reach out today to the changing market needs. We are here to help you modernise your organisation and prepare your business for efficient existence in “the new normal” following the pandemic. Contact us and see for yourself that communication with Stepwise specialists is really easy. Check also how we can help you in the area of cloud services!