‘Cloud' Computing is a broader term that describes a wide range of services which can further be classified by the nature of services they offer, be it the Software offered as Service (SaaS), Platform offered as a Service (PaaS) or the entire Infrastructure offered as a Service (IaaS). Another popular classification that Cloud Providers describe Cloud environment is by the way of proximity with the Cloud User, namely Private (which resides with in the firewall of an organization) or completely managed by Cloud Provider on behalf of the User (Public). As there are both advantages and disadvantages with an organization's computing assets hosted on Private or Public Cloud, here comes the Hybrid approach. Yes! Hybrid Cloud.
Hybrid Cloud helps organizations and provides better ROI with right combination of Public and Private Cloud Computing resources.
Nevertheless, the challenge is with achieving compatibility and seamless integration of both environments as per an organization's requirements. While there is no hard and fast rule or formula to measure the ROI, the benefits are obviously visible as the Hybrid approach matures in terms of its usage. Organizations should opt for Hybrid Cloud environment when they already have Private Cloud environment but need to address the challenges arising because of sudden demand for more computing resources or outages in Private Cloud. In such cases, unlimited scalability offered by Public Cloud should be a better option to extend the capabilities of Private Cloud.
Secondly, securing mission critical data is a very important requirement for some applications. In such cases, these security mechanisms should be managed with Private Cloud as it is in full control of organization. Other core capabilities of the application should be transferred to Public Cloud. In addition to the genuine security requirements, organizations should store their data only in their control and refrain from external storage because of regulatory guidelines laid by their nature of business. In such cases, storing the data in Private Cloud is more sensible for the organizations to maintain. Further, at times, hosting of data in Private Cloud environment always has an advantage over keeping the same in Public Cloud, especially when the application demands Computing performance of very high Standards, sometimes referred as High Performance Computing (HPC). This will be realized with less network latency when hosted in Private Cloud as compared to hosting in Public Cloud.
Key Concerns: Interoperability and Seamless Integration
Either of these situations, organizations must be cautious in dealing with issues such as interoperability and seamless integration among their Private Cloud with respect to the chosen Public Cloud. Most prominent Cloud Providers have compatible offerings of Private Cloud in addition to regular offering of Public Cloud. This further helps in simplifying the pricing model and streamlines SLAs. Off late, there are Open Standards that once supported in Private Cloud will integrate to all major Public Cloud providers by the way of standard Application Programming Interface (API). This is especially becoming very critical as organizations might get in to situation - sometimes referred as "vendor-lock in" when providers have their proprietary standards.
As with any new technology or environment change in organizations, migrating towards Hybrid Cloud also might hit a few roadblocks on its way to implementation. These challenges might vary little bit among organizations based on their capabilities, but these will exist more or less in all organizations. There can be difficulties of on boarding right talent to make Hybrid Cloud strategy successful and procuring required hardware which is otherwise taken care of by external providers (Public Cloud). In addition to these, there could be budgetary constraints to setup necessary environment and maintain it.