The following blog comes from an interview with Perficient’s General Manager of API Management and Container Solutions, Annel Adzem, and is part of a series on cloud trends with experts from within Perficient.
The story of innovation in recent years has been about software. Nimble new companies have disrupted industries and toppled “traditional” enterprises by focusing on the customer experience and delivering products faster.
This shift has seen application development become a focus. Businesses are seeking agility, velocity, and productivity in application development in order to get ahead. These businesses know the cloud can enable these things and are increasingly turning to hybrid-cloud environments to make it happen. However, these businesses also often struggle with implementation. Businesses need to know the options in order to understand how to best implement the cloud.
What is hybrid cloud?
There are four basic models for cloud infrastructure: private, public, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud. There is a wider understanding of both private- and public-cloud models. Whether a vendor or the business itself hosts the infrastructure determines which of the two models the cloud is. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are less understood, though.
The terms “multi-cloud” and “hybrid cloud” may appear interchangeable to many, but this actually isn’t the case. While multi-cloud refers to the use of several different cloud providers to host software and services, hybrid cloud is an environment that is composed of both internal and external cloud services.
In a practical sense, hybrid environments are designed so that multiple clouds work together for a specific task or application. In simple terms, when a business is orchestrating the usage of a combination of clouds, it’s hybrid cloud. Businesses operating in more “opportunistic” instances are using a multi-cloud model.
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Businesses are now turning to this hybrid model to get the agility, velocity, and application development productivity, as well as embracing agile practices, DevOps, and continuous integration/continuous deployment, that they seek.
This is likely to impact cloud strategies going forward – and has even started to now – as businesses learn more about hybrid cloud.
As mentioned above, hybrid cloud is the combination of a cloud and data center strategy in which you can run any type of workload. Indeed, Gartner predicted that 2019 would be the year of hybrid IT.
A driving force for this is that many companies see that off-cloud deployments, such as IoT, can be paired with the cloud. In fact, 77% of enterprise global infrastructure decision makers that are planning, implementing, or upgrading cloud technology say that they are in a hybrid-cloud environment.
Benefits of hybrid models
As previously highlighted, businesses want to move to the cloud to take advantage of the agility, velocity, and productivity in app development that the cloud brings. Generally, private and public clouds are also scalable, require limited in-house management, are available on-demand, and are simple to manage.
However, the cost of the cloud can be prohibitive for some businesses. Another major issue is vendor lock-in. This is a problem that hybrid models counter, allowing businesses to have options across different vendors. Hybrid cloud also provides added ability to scale up and out, and the multiple environments do have security benefits. Those using hybrid have a reduced lock-out risk due to data being stored across different clouds. Along with that, a hybrid model promotes even greater agility and velocity with deployment thanks to increased operability.
The leveraging of multiple systems means that hybrid models generally require a broader skillset. There also needs to be a unified strategy to counter this, containing security and policy constraints. For businesses that lack this vision, this is where finding a partner can help to prepare them so that they can enjoy the benefits of hybrid cloud.
The effects of hybrid on wider solutions
With so many companies embracing hybrid models, providers have started to act. These providers are now offering solutions that work in a hybrid setting, rather than just on public cloud. This is a case of companies showing cloud providers what they want out of cloud. Google announced its intentions in 2017 with its planned investments into Google Cloud. These investments involve partnerships and lift-and-shift solutions – making for a hybrid environment.
More and more companies are leveraging cloud-native models to develop apps, and hybrid cloud is one of those model types. More recently, Google unveiled Google Anthos as a platform for managing applications on hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud environments.
The numbers indicate this push for hybrid solutions will continue. As highlighted previously, companies in all industries are utilizing and will be utilizing hybrid models in the future. Gartner predicts that over 75% of midsize and large organizations will have adopted either a multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud strategy by 2021.
It’s clear that hybrid cloud is a go-to strategy for companies going forward. The emerging strategy has already changed the way that companies – and providers – think about cloud adoption. For companies, it’s not a choice between having an on-premises data center and being on the cloud. Instead, the answer is both for many.