Hybrid clouds look set to be the preferred IT model for large enterprises who want infrastructure flexible enough to cope with bursts in demand, without the security issues around hosting data in the public cloud.
In a blog posted following the recent Data Centre World conference and exhibition in London, research firm Analysys Mason said the debate is moving away from an either/or discussion around whether to use public or private clouds, towards a hybrid approach that combines the best features of both.
Senior analyst Cesar Bachelet and research analyst Karim Yaici defined hybrid cloud as follows: “where internal enterprise data centres and cloud continue to support mission-critical business processes, and public cloud is used to enable on-demand hosting capacity for less critical assets”.
The key benefit of a hybrid cloud, according to both, is the ability to ‘burst’ computing resource as needed in order to cope with peak requirements without having to build the underlying infrastructure within the organisation to do so.
There are challenges involved, one of which is integrating between the two clouds. Bachelet and Yaici said this “can be addressed to some extent by adopting standardised interfaces to enable application and data portability”.
Analysys Mason also noted that putting applications into the cloud adds complexity. What’s more, many organisations are reluctant to leave applications and underlying infrastructure in the hands of third parties because they perceive the virtual environment to be less stable than the physical one.
Security also features high on large enterprises’ list of concerns about the cloud, especially where business assets are moved to a third-party provider. These security concerns, combined with the fear of the unknown, hold back the adoption of cloud services, notably the public ones, said Bachelet and Yaici.
In support of its conclusion, Analysys quoted a survey of IT leaders it conducted for the software vendor Precise. The research found that large enterprises don’t feel the same about private cloud storage as they do about the public internet; whereas 37pc of large enterprises would eventually migrate at least 61pc of their applications to a private cloud, only 6pc would do so on a public cloud. Public cloud services are typically reserved for non-core applications or new projects.
According to the survey, typical applications to be moved to the cloud, in order of preference, were email and collaboration; IT management; finance/HR/ERP; sales and marketing; and finally, security.
Overall, the research indicates number of organisations adopting cloud services is growing, thanks to the attraction of benefits like lower financial outlays to deploy applications, speed to market and agility.