Cloud computing today has emerged as one of the top items on the enterprise digitalization agenda. With adoption rates continuously increasing, the public cloud market keeps expanding in size and influence. Since becoming mainstream almost a decade ago, cloud has now emerged as a critical component of IT spending worldwide. From the scalability and flexibility it provides, to the reduction in operating costs and complexity of technology operations it facilitates, cloud delivers multiple tangible benefits. For organizations that are yet to consider moving their workloads either partially or completely to the cloud, it has thus become an undeniable choice that they simply cannot afford to ignore anymore.
However, some organizations continue to hesitate making the move for various reasons including concerns surrounding data security, regulatory requirements, and the cost of infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. This is where evolving business models in cloud services provisioning represent an attractive solution. Termed as ‘hybrid cloud’, these services are a mix of both public and private cloud that works seamlessly with on-premise applications and services.
Together, the public-private cloud services enable organizations to enjoy enhanced security, avoid technology redundancy wherever possible, and benefit from the higher computing powers offered by public set ups–all at a lower total cost of ownership. Especially, for enterprises that depend on data to power their business decisions, the hybrid cloud is a compelling alternative to traditional enterprise analytics.
With the enormous growth in the size, type and variety of data in recent years, long-established analytics infrastructures are no more capable of delivering value. Legacy, structured data now needs to be analyzed in tandem with the huge volume of unstructured data that consumers are generating. The need, thus, to integrate multiple sources of data spread across different sources and locations, both internal and external to the organization, necessitate adoption of sophisticated mechanisms to store, access and retrieve data. Any gap in this exercise can result in lower visibility, control and/or security of data that will be hard to reconcile.
Additionally, the new datasets require advanced analytics software to derive meaning that can be quickly converted into actionable insights. But investing in advanced capabilities, both for the software and the infrastructure it needs to perform efficiently, can result in higher cost of operations that stands contrary to the objective of optimizing operating costs. The answer then is to take advantage of the data and higher computing capabilities enabled by the hybrid cloud on a pay-as-you-go model, and seamlessly integrate distributed data environments into one canvas for higher data visibility and control.
While the data itself can reside in the private data center or on-premise servers with minimal investment in analytics, the public cloud can be leveraged to build real-time and advanced analytics, service reporting requirements for multiple devices. Alternatively, organizations can continue to use existing infrastructure for legacy or structured data while looking to the cloud to host the new types of data coming in. Companies can use such a setup to also enable controlled/restricted access for partners and other third-party stakeholders in the trust ecosystem. Such a hybrid set up will ensure high data security and compliance with regulations concerning data privacy, while still exposing data to be used for different analytics exercises. What’s more, the inherent flexibility of an integrated hybrid cloud will foster easy movement and mapping of data and related analytics builds between different environments as per changing business requirements.
The availability of multiple, niche hybrid cloud services in the market, offering both infrastructure and applications as a service, makes it easier for organizations today to transform themselves into a data-driven business. If companies take sufficient steps to achieve better data security and governance the biggest challenges today hindering cloud adoption they will be able to enjoy both the benefits of the cloud as well as leverage the many advanced cloud-based tools and platforms. With even governments mandating a ‘cloud-first’ strategy, it is but only in the best interests of organizations to consider investing in the cloud before it becomes too late to derive any competitive advantage.