Infrastructure: Why the cloud's future is hybrid
The cloud is a system that can store information and offers processing capabilities. Clouds can be public, private, or both. Let’s discuss the infrastructure of hybrid clouds.
What is the cloud? What is its infrastructure?
A cloud and the cloud are two different terms nowadays. The former refers to a big clump of water molecules, the latter to a large amount of massive warehouses full of hard drives and microprocessors. Did you know that?
Maybe the cloud has become one of those terms which are tough to explain. On the physical part, the cloud is made up of servers in data centers all over the world. If you wish, you could go to any data center that makes this system work. Most of them are huge rooms where all the processing gets done, and you are actually just using a computer abroad. Probably in Virginia.
Cloud infrastructure then consists of all the hardware and software components needed to support the delivery of cloud services. The main physical components of cloud infrastructure are networking equipment, servers, and data storage.
I’ve seen the cloud described as “one massive hard drive” and yeah, sure, that’s one of its implementations. But there is more to it than only giving you access to your precious Google Photos. Let’s see some different types of cloud services.
Types of cloud services
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a standard web hosting that is acquired by paying a subscription or a fee per gigabyte consumed. In this model, the customer only pays for what they use: because there is no need to invest in purchasing servers, there is a tremendous cost reduction in the short run. As always, with new trends towards selling services and not products, you can essentially become dependent on a service provider.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
The best example is access to email from a client such as Outlook or Gmail—through the Internet, the user can access the application stored in the service provider's network. Other examples of SaaS in companies are the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Software as a service might look great, but a lot of people have mixed opinions about them. Do you remember when you could actually buy something and it was yours permanently? One-time purchase is now a marketing strategy. Yeesh.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In this case, the client pays for the platform to develop products of their own, with the option to create code, manage it and test the developments with the tools offered by the cloud provider. That is a widely chosen option by big companies.
What is cloud computing, and how does it work?
It is estimated that, by 2025, two-thirds of all the data stored worldwide will be up and managed in the cloud. Even though cloud computing has been around since the 1950s, the concept was first made widespread in 1996 by two Compaq executives. Since then, the possibility of storing data on external remote servers has had such exponential growth that the current security parameters predict the cloud will be even more popular in the years to come.
What is cloud computing?
We’ve said that the cloud is a storage system that allows users to store information on external servers and access it anywhere from any device connected to the Internet. In addition, this space offers processing capabilities and executable software.
The traditional computing structures—servers are physically set up in companies—have been losing ground as they involve a human resource investment. In light of this, the cloud began to prevail supported by its main features: agility, flexibility, and lesser costs. But remember, as we’ve said countless times, HR investment can cause unexpected benefits. Not everything about having less and less staff.
Thanks to the cloud, both companies and users can run programs directly on the browser without installing them on their devices, which is the case of Figma, our preferred design software. In fact, the implementation of the cloud in a large number of companies has boosted the growth of remote and collaborative work, as many collaborative tools operate based on cloud computing.
How does the cloud work?
In the same way as in an intranet, each cloud user must log in on a device to access content in the company's remote server. Users can access the infrastructure through a private interface or the software on the cloud. Even though the data is managed in the same way as in a hard drive, each user receives authorization to access it.
When companies provide their employees with their own cloud computing infrastructure, that is called a private cloud. In that case, each collaborator has access to the company's server, where they store data and services which are not open to the public.
Instead, the public cloud is a service offered by an external provider and is available to anyone who wants to use or buy it. A public cloud has three outstanding advantages: it does not require maintenance, most services guarantee over 99% of uptime without risk of interruptions, and it can be set up in just a few minutes. The three top providers are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud.
When both features above are combined, that is called a hybrid cloud—in that case, the confidential information is stored on-premise, and the remaining files are directed to the public cloud securely. This system allows you to keep important information on the house while having the rest of it abroad. You don’t have to worry about anyone peeping on your classified X-files.
Why the cloud’s future is hybrid
An expected scenario ended up becoming a reality in 2020. Fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud usage saw exponential growth because of the value added to companies —and the money saved— in terms of data management and workflows. In this context, the star that mainly sets the tech, telecommunications, and media industries in motion worldwide is the hybrid cloud.
As early as mid-2020, a survey conducted among 250 IT executives and professionals by the leading data virtualization company Denodo showed an overall preference towards hybrid architectures—42%, versus 18% going for public clouds and 17% choosing private clouds. According to the report, the chance to diversify expenditure and select the features that better fit each provider's strengths are the most substantial arguments for adopting this technology. Time and time again we see the same: it’s usually middle-ground solutions, the ones that work better.
"Companies are no longer satisfied with a single provider, and it is not possible to move all resources to the public cloud," say specialists. For instance, Red Hat, the leading multinational company providing open-source solutions, claims that "the biggest benefit obtained from the hybrid cloud strategy is the chance to choose the best solution for each task or workload."
What is a hybrid cloud?
But let’s be more specific. First, a quick recap:
By hybrid cloud, we mean the data storage and services ecosystem, which combines the capabilities of a public cloud with those of a private cloud through exclusive software that enables communication between them. When a company hires a cloud service, it becomes part of the public cloud system. On the contrary, a private cloud is dedicated to one organization exclusively, whether handled internally or by an external provider.
Reasonably enough, public clouds are less expensive and provide flexibility to increase their clients' storage space. Private clouds, in turn, offer greater security since they can only be accessed by each client. You might be choosing between costly independence or cheap but dependent reliableness.
As a result, the hybrid cloud is the solution that has the best of both worlds. An outstanding benefit is its greater flexibility to migrate workloads between both clouds, based on each company's needs and affordable costs. For example, a company can store confidential information on a private cloud and, at the same time, take advantage of a managed public cloud. In this case, the hybrid cloud enables keeping unified management of these resources, unlike a multi-cloud strategy, where each environment has to be managed separately.
You never want to manage this separately. It would be like dividing and conquering yourself but in the wrong sense. That doesn’t sound right, right?
Main advantages of a hybrid cloud
Now for the main course. What are the advantages of a hybrid cloud?
Considering that the hybrid cloud gets the best out of a public and a private cloud in a single environment, this model allows companies to design an IT resource architecture to suit their needs. A word of caution: you can have a public cloud and a private cloud, but that does not imply that you have a hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud means that both the private and the public clouds communicate, enabling data loads and migrations. That's the purpose of the shared environment.
Hybrid clouds can scale both horizontally and vertically, depending on each company's needs. By using this system, small organizations can benefit from counting on unlimited resources and; that way, they find a scaling solution without facing dreadful high costs.
A hybrid structure allows clients to store their critical workload and other minor volumes on different clouds. With their most sensitive data stored on the private cloud, not only will they be more secure, but they will also comply with existing data protection regulations. The public cloud can take the less sensitive part of the workload, giving more control over the data that must be protected. A well-designed, integrated and managed hybrid cloud is a secure cloud.
The best of both clouds in a single environment is the most suitable definition of a hybrid structure. This technology offers a highly smooth data transfer process, which sets it apart as a solution for companies working with dynamic loads that need to stay competitive at all times.
But what’s up with clouds today? And I don’t mean the local weather. God, my jokes aren’t getting any better… If you want to continue torturing yourself with my jokes you can find out more about the top tech trends in cloud computing for 2021. If not, I get you, you had enough of me for today.
At Awkbit, we know that trade-offs and middle grounds are usually the best places to be, even if you are getting shouted at in stereo. A reliable public cloud service combined with a private and secure cloud creates a perfect hybrid environment to develop your company. Are you interested in setting up your hybrid cloud?