Hybrid Cloud: The Evolved Enterprise Cloud of the Future


With the benefits of cloud undeniable, enterprises are moving more aggressively toward growing cloud investments. Many startups and SMBs have had the benefit of beginning their IT journey in the cloud era, making adoption of new cloud technologies a standard part of their long-term IT strategy. However, the cloud journey for an enterprise opens up an array of issues – from re-architecting existing applications to protecting massive stores of sensitive data, while maintaining compliance and security mandates.

The cloud is a different IT model that comes with incredible opportunity along with new threats and limitations. While the benefits of public cloud have been proven for certain workloads and use cases (i.e. startups, test & development, handling burst traffic, etc), there is growing acknowledgement of its tradeoffs in areas like performance, customization and security. Therefore, it isn’t realistic to expect that the future is all-cloud, for all applications.

The fundamental problem is that organizations betting on a cloud-only strategy are starting with a specific technology as the answer for every problem. It is like the old adage ‘for someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. While most organizations are likely to have nails, some have screws.

Applications and workloads have different and often complex demands. Hybrid cloud is meeting the need for cloud-powered enterprise architectures that can satisfy the need for speed and performance without sacrificing security or control.

Defining Hybrid Cloud

After finding success with workloads like test & development environments, websites and collaboration, enterprises are eager to adopt a service provider mentality and take advantage of the benefits of cloud across more workloads.

In the zeal to push to the cloud, some organizations are finding that not every use case is right for public cloud. The idea of becoming an all-public cloud shop, while an attractive theory, is simply unrealistic for many multi-faceted enterprise IT configurations. Adding in cloud elements may provide isolated benefits for certain apps or workloads, but can also create security issues, overly complex architectures and higher total cost for other workloads if improperly architected.

Hybrid cloud offers a more holistic approach where public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers (including virtualization) are combined, working together as one platform to minimize tradeoffs and get the maximum value and effectiveness of each component of a workload. In the hybrid paradigm, systems live where they make the most sense – on-premise or hosted, running on bare metal or virtualized, in dedicated or cloud. Enterprises have different sets of requirements for different types of applications, and hybrid cloud solutions offer the flexibility to meet these needs.

For mission-critical applications, including line-of-business and proprietary applications, governance and security requirements may point to the need for dedicated hosting. Usage associated with promotional events and campaigns, or any application that experiences highly variable traffic and usage patterns, may be better suited to scalable cloud solutions. The nature of some applications and the licensing model might also result in different benefits of vertical versus horizontal scaling.

Most applications evolve over time. The application itself evolves, the business and/or the business requirements change, the scale and complexity might change. With a hybrid cloud, businesses have the ability to switch between dedicated resources, to choose public or private cloud services, or use several simultaneously as the needs of the application change.

Technology is evolving at a pace that makes it difficult to predict the future. Most people would not have predicted the impact of cloud computing five years ago. It is impossible to predict with precision how technology platforms will evolve in the next five years. Rather than making a commitment to just one model for the long term, hybrid cloud gives businesses access to multiple platforms, and the peace of mind that these platforms can meet the business needs of tomorrow.

Reasons Hybrid Cloud is the Best Fit for Enterprise

Hybrid enables businesses to find the right combination of cloud and existing resources to do the job. “Hybrid is the end-state. A lot of people say ‘the end state is cloud’ I don’t buy that at all… It is about creating the right architecture to support the application and the evolution of the application over time,” says James Staten, Forrester VP & Principal Analyst2. Mixing and matching infrastructure components allows enterprises to create a cloud strategy around their unique needs instead of building around the components of a single provider or platform. How does hybrid cloud computing serve enterprise IT strategy?

  • Improves TCO: By connecting dedicated or on-premise resources to cloud components, IT can weave cloud efficiencies into existing IT investments that aren’t ready for cloud to boost performance, maintain security, and enhance reliability while reducing the total cost of ownership. Though it offers a lower cost entry point, public cloud alone is often not the most cost effective solution at scale.
  • Gradual Cloud Adoption: Making the most of public cloud often requires understanding new paradigms and new terminology, re-architecting applications, and writing code to allow applications to control resources via APIs to provide scalability and resiliency. Hybrid cloud, on the other side, allows customers to start by taking advantage of dedicated servers and virtualization using existing applications and paradigms, and eventually evolve the application by moving the right elements to a public cloud over time as needed. The flexibility of moving certain workloads or components of an application between platforms gives IT shops the ability to transition to cloud at their own pace and only with the components that make sense.
  • Enables Innovation: Hybrid cloud brings all the benefits of the public cloud: access to massive public cloud resources to test out new capabilities and try out new technologies without investments that hang around strangling floor space and budget. Developers can focus on developing instead of provisioning. With ready-made compute power at your fingertips and fully integrated into your existing infrastructure, new system enhancements or application updates get through the software lifecycle faster, and you get your products to market faster.
  • Security and Compliance: Combining dedicated and cloud resources, enterprises can more easily address many of the security and compliance concerns of a fully cloud-based solution. An application that requires PCI-DSS compliance and strict audits, for example, can place secure data on dedicated physical servers and data- bases isolated from other portions of the website, while the product catalog can reside on cloud servers for responsive scaling under fluctuating traffic patterns.

Hybrid Cloud at Rackspace

Rackspace, the leader in hybrid cloud and the co-founder of OpenStack, started on a journey to hybrid cloud in 2009. For years, customers have enjoyed unique technologies like RackConnect®, our unique technology that securely connects dedicated hosted IT infrastructure or hosted OpenStack private clouds to Rackspace public clouds on an internal local network centrally managed with the MyRackspace© customer portal.

  • Open cloud platform: Maximum portability with build once/run anywhere infrastructure using battle-tested software, based on our experience designing, deploying, and operating the world’s largest OpenStack cloud.
  • Fanatical Support: Our award-winning brand of support that encompasses both delivering expert guidance and best practices as well as around the clock Managed Operations and troubleshooting.
  • Broad service portfolio: With storage, compute, and networking across public, private, and dedicated (including virtualization) offerings all under one roof paired with seasoned IT experts to help you put it all together, you have all the tools needed to build your optimal hybrid environment.

Start Your Hybrid Cloud Journey Today

For detailed insight to make decisions around cloud adoption and help identifying potential areas for cost reduction through consolidation, modernization, and application retirement, schedule an Application Profiling Workshop. The workshop is a free service that combines collaborative planning with an onsite visit from our Senior IT Consultants to provide you with formal cloud recommendations. At the end of the workshop, you’ll understand:

  • Applications that can move to the cloud today
  • Levels of complexity and risk involved in re-engineering applications to run in the cloud
  • Ideal platforms for your applications: public cloud, private cloud, virtualization, or bare-metal infrastructure


More Hybrid Cloud Resources:


1 https://www.rightscale.com/pdf/rightscale-state-of-the-cloud-report-2013.pdf
2 https://blog.rackspace.com/why-hybrid-cloud-is-a-must-have-for-the-enterprise
4 http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/white_paper_c11-687554.html

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