The Ongoing Push Toward the Hybrid Cloud

    Companies Are Beginning to Move Away From Solely Private and Public Cloud Solutions Toward Hybrid Strategies That Deliver Greater Benefits

    As the cloud computing landscape continues to evolve, mature and grow, enterprises around the world are pursuing this technology in an effort to experience a number of benefits. These advantages come in many shapes and sizes, including the ability to reduce costs through the process of outsourcing management responsibilities, as well as the opportunity to improve collaboration by replacing old phone systems with more innovative platforms. In other words, the cloud is introducing massive changes that will transform the corporate landscape into a more efficient environment.

    At the same time, there is no single approach to the cloud. This is primarily because every organization has its own unique objectives, responsibilities and capabilities, making it important that decision-makers embrace IT services with a personal touch. In the past, companies were often attracted to the cloud landscape because of the benefits associated with public offerings, which often included new chances to improve flexibility and reduce costs. Today, however, executives are embracing a new mentality when approaching the hosted landscape.

    In general, there are three types of cloud computing: public, private and hybrid models. The latter in particular is gaining significant momentum due to the inherent benefits that come hand in hand when combining public and private services. This was highlighted in a recent Vanson Bourne study of 400 business employees and decision-makers on behalf of Rackspace, which revealed that slightly less than two-thirds of respondents see the hybrid cloud as the "culmination of their cloud journey."

    In fact, approximately 60 percent of respondents said they either have moved or are planning on migrating applications and workloads off of the public cloud and potentially into a hybrid environment.

    "The findings of our study indicate that the hybrid cloud is the next cloud for many organizations. They may have started with a public cloud-only architecture, but have come to realize the limitations of this approach as they've continued on their cloud journey. They turn to the hybrid cloud because it can combine the best of public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers, delivering a common architecture that can be tailored to create the best fit for their specific needs," said John Engates, CTO of Rackspace.

    In some cases, the need to implement a hybrid cloud derives from the importance of successfully supporting a remote workforce. Other times the imperative to deploy hybrid cloud services are to improve efficiency.

    The Driving Forces Behind the Hybrid Movement

    The study revealed that nearly three-quarters of U.S. and U.K. companies are using the hybrid cloud, though they are pursuing the technology for various reasons. While some organizations wish to improve data security and experience greater levels of control, others are looking to improve the performance of their business phone systems and other tools that are hosted in the cloud.

    Fortunately, many respondents said hybrid cloud solutions are capable of meeting these needs, as 59 percent said the services granted them more control over their infrastructure, while another 54 percent claimed to have improved security after making the transition. Roughly 44 percent of enterprises said they also augmented performance by reducing costs and improving the availability of mission-critical resources.

    "There's no excuse for downtime. None. Especially now that the world has gone social and digital life is lived at an always-on, real-time pace," said Matt McClure, vice president and chief architect at MapMyFitness.

    In addition to improving security, reducing costs and boosting performance, many decision-makers also believe the hybrid cloud is easier to manage. This was highlighted in a separate SAP report, which found that 87 percent of enterprises believe the cloud is important to their business, 75 percent of which said the hybrid hosted services tools are easier to maintain after they have been migrated to a hybrid environment.

    As companies use increasingly sophisticated office phone systems, data analytic platforms and other applications, it will be critical to have an easy-to-manage cloud infrastructure.

    "In the past, we used public cloud for many of our applications and workloads, but as we grew it became clear that some of these applications were becoming too complex for a public cloud-only deployment," said Darren Robertson from the charity organization, Action for Children.

    The enterprise is constantly changing as the IT landscape evolves and matures. In many cases, companies are beginning to use cloud communications and hosted PBX solutions in an effort to improve internal and external collaboration, which is critical to long-term success. Rather than sticking with run-of-the-mill cloud solutions that were deployed when the hosted environment first emerged, enterprise decision-makers should consider adopting both public and private solutions simultaneously to take advantage of a highly beneficial, scalable and cost-effective platform. In time, this hybrid mentality will likely become the norm as business executives recognize the need to create customized infrastructure environments.

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