As cloud computing becomes more popular and companies find they are able to leverage the technology in more sophisticated ways, cloud-based tools are continually changing and developing to meet the dynamic needs of users. One of the more recent and more widespread shifts has been the introduction of a middle ground between the traditional poles of private and public cloud. Hybrid cloud services are offering many companies the best characteristics of both single- and multi-tenant infrastructures, eliminating the need to choose between the two models and thus making more effective cloud implementations possible.
The hybrid cloud is potentially as relevant to any small or mid-sized business as it is to major enterprises, and a growing number of SMBs are looking to reap the technology's benefits. Talkin' Cloud recently ran a poll that found 87 percent of its readers expect SMBs to increase their adoption of the hybrid cloud model in 2014. The factors that might motivate a small firm to implement a hybrid cloud environment vary with each company, but there are a few central, unifying advantages of going with a part-public, part-private cloud strategy.
1. Greater customization
One of the key factors that leads businesses to consider strategies outside the wholly public cloud model is that multi-tenant infrastructures are much more standardized than private architectures and don't vary much between the clients of any given provider. Of course, for many businesses that are just getting started or aren't yet acquainted with the cloud, a public environment may be a perfectly suitable place to store data and host applications. But as a company's needs become more specialized, having a custom-fit, private cloud begins to appear more attractive.
On the other hand, there are some benefits to public cloud hosting - instant scalability and low costs, for example - that the business may not want to forfeit. The hybrid cloud allows firms to customize their cloud environments to a greater degree than a strictly private deployment would, as this option makes it possible to keep certain data and applications in a public environment if it makes sense to do so.
"The hybrid approach allows a business to pick and choose from public, private or on-premise solutions that best suit their individual requirements as an organization," PACE Technical Services CEO and founder Shael Risman told Talkin' Cloud.
2. Better performance
In addition to providing the set of cloud services that is right for your company, introducing a private component to your SMB's cloud architecture can help you get the most out of your current applications. Some solutions and types of software simply aren't optimized for the public cloud. Highly sophisticated apps such as big data analytics and programs that need access to large sets of information, including enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management, often need great amounts of capacity in order to function at their best.
With many clients accessing the same infrastructure in the public cloud, performance is often less than it could be. However, if you opt for a hybrid cloud strategy, you can implement a private architecture even just to run a few specialized applications.
3. Tailor-made security
Especially as cyberthreats become more complex and businesses of all sizes need to store increasingly large amounts of data, no company's security strategy can or should look exactly alike. The way your SMB uses the tools of data protection should reflect the specific types of information you possess and the accompanying levels of sensitivity and risk. A hybrid approach can help your business achieve a more customized level of cloud security, keeping certain low-risk workloads in the public cloud and hosting the most mission-critical or sensitive data and apps in a private environment.