Cloud computing has seen increasing adoption in recent years, and it’s not really difficult to see why. In general terms, this computing practice can be described as the on-demand provisioning of computing resources over the internet. Taking advantage of remote servers instead of on-premises data centers, cloud providers can host everything from computer programs to entire enterprise data centers.
As you can imagine, the cloud setup offers a host of benefits for any organization that may choose to migrate their data to the cloud. The most apparent among these advantages is the fact that enterprises are able to gain significant infrastructure, labor, software, and energy savings. Furthermore, since these resources reside in the cloud, users are able to access business-critical applications and data from wherever they may be located in the world. Let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits:
- Scalability and on-demand nature – With cloud computing, enterprises can deploy resources on demand, making them more agile and more readily able to scale up or down depending on their needs for computing resources. Furthermore, they will be able to easily do this independent of the hardware lifecycle.
- Affordable payment terms – Many cloud providers charge on a pay-per-use basis, making cloud computing the more affordable option in many cases.
- Less labor resources needed – Since cloud providers will be managing and maintaining an organization’s IT systems, the need for conventional IT administrators and other staff members will also be reduced.
- Less hardware and energy costs – By migrating data to the web, organizations can forego the usual physical infrastructure requirements that on-premises data centers require. This means more savings for an organization in terms of hardware acquisition and energy expenditures.
- Conduciveness to collaboration – With cloud computing, users will have access to any file, data, or application even if they work across different locations. This makes collaboration so much easier for members of the organization.
- Business continuity – Cloud computing also offers business continuity and high availability benefits in the event of catastrophic system failure, thanks to cloud providers’ efficient backup and redundancy mechanisms.
Is It Time to Shun the On-Premises Data Center?
Given the many advantages of cloud adoption, does this necessarily mean that on-premises computing is finally becoming passé? Of course not. While many organizations are embracing cloud migration because of its many potential benefits, it can still be a monumental and complex undertaking, particularly for large enterprises that use a diverse range of applications on a daily basis.
Many such enterprises or public sector agencies also continue to be concerned with issues like security in the cloud and legislative roadblocks in terms of where data can be stored. This is why as an alternative to a purely cloud-hosted setup, hybrid cloud computing through cloud integration is considered by many organizations instead.
Hybrid Cloud Computing and Integration
Hybrid cloud computing is a term that is used to refer to a computing environment in which on-premises and cloud services coexist. Multi-cloud computing—a setup in which cloud applications run in different cloud platforms—can also be considered hybrid cloud computing.
Hybrid environments are often helpful as they afford organizations greater flexibility and more data deployment options that would otherwise be unavailable if they choose a purely on-premises or purely cloud setup. In fact, there are not a lot of organizations that will use just on-premises data centers or just a single cloud provider.
Consider how a company might use a diverse range of applications for the different aspects of its business. It may use a different software each for human resources, customer relationship management, inventory management, automated billing and payments, business intelligence, and many others. Chances are, many if not all of these programs will be provided as Software as a Service by individual vendors, who will also have their own cloud providers. This alone essentially makes hybrid cloud a reality for many organizations.
With the hybrid approach, resources and services are able to interoperate across the boundaries between cloud and on-premises environments, and between different cloud solutions. For many companies, this may be the most advantageous setup since their on-premises data centers, private cloud services, and public cloud services are harmonized under one unifying data management system while remaining distinct firm each other. Furthermore, by going hybrid, they are able to access and process sensitive business data and applications in traditional environments whenever it may not be appropriate to do so in the public cloud.
The case for hybrid cloud computing is a strong one, making it an option that should be strongly considered by both small and large businesses. It’s the computing model that is likely to be the one that will be followed by many of these businesses for the foreseeable future.