Things to know about hybrid clouds
Some say hybrid clouds are what all businesses will operate in eventually. You hear the phrase hybrid cloud mentioned everywhere. But are we all talking about the same thing?
What are hybrid clouds?
According to the National Institutes for Standards in Technology (NIST):
“(Hybrid) cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.”
To put it plainly, hybrid clouds are a combination of computing environments that include both public and private cloud services, and may include on-premises infrastructure, as well. These various environments share data and run applications that can move among them. Examples of hybrid clouds include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Types of cloud computing
Let’s go back a step. Cloud computing is the storing and accessing of data and programs over the Internet, instead of your hard drive. If you’re sending and receiving email, or streaming a video, chances are cloud computing is supporting those actions.
You can break cloud computing down into four basic types:
- Private cloud. A company maintains its own infrastructure and does not share data or resources outside. Traditionally, companies purchase hardware, equipment, installation, software, and took responsibility for providing security and maintenance. Advantages include total control over all aspects of building, maintaining, and upgrading the environment.
- Public cloud. A company’s infrastructure is managed by a single cloud service provider, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS. An independent third party owns and maintains computing resources and the company rents those services and resources. Advantages include lower capital investment and maintenance costs, flexibility, scalability, and security.
- Hybrid Cloud. A company uses a combination of both private and public clouds to support its infrastructure. Advantages include the ability to keep sensitive systems or data internal for greater control, while outsourcing less critical systems to a public cloud for lower costs and greater flexibility. The best of both worlds, the hybrid cloud can provide safety, scalability, and flexibility to meet irregular demands. No wonder this model is the one most often used.
- Multi Cloud. A company’s infrastructure is managed by multiple cloud service providers. Advantages include the ability to mix and match to harness the strengths of more than one cloud service provider for maximum benefits. For example, a company might use the strongest cloud service for some services, and the most affordable for others.
Types of cloud services
There are three main types of hybrid cloud computing services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Here is how they compare with on-premises infrastructures:
Delivers on-demand access to resources for managing business resources. That includes memory, storage, and networking, as well as the software to provide such services, like OSes and databases. Simply put, customer companies rent the virtual servers that form the data center.
- Advantages include the most control and choice over your infrastructure of the three types of hybrid cloud services. You can scale up or downsize as needed, at will. You don’t need to buy or maintain physical servers. And the on-demand format means you only pay for the resources you use.
- Disadvantages include the responsibility for maintaining security yourself. You are responsible for the data, and for recovering it if any is lost. You’re responsible for the apps and OSes, and for ensuring that they work properly and are secure. Your IaaS provider takes care of the servers and API only, and you must configure and maintain everything else.
Delivers on-demand access to a complete cloud-hosted development and deployment environment, including all the hardware and software tools you need. The customer company rests the framework or platform they can use to host, develop, and deploy their own applications.
- Advantages include ability for developers to collaborate easily with each other to develop a specific app and deploy it. They can customize and update the app without having to maintain backend software. And if demand for the app grows, their PaaS platform is flexible and scalable.
- Disadvantages include loss of control, since you can control what you develop on the platform, but not the platform supporting it. If the PaaS provider experiences an outage or a leak, you do too. The PaaS provider stores your data, which you may or may not consider a security risk. And their SLA may limit the customizations you can make.
The most common cloud service is SaaS, the delivery of cloud-based software via the Internet by subscription. The customer company subscribes to the cloud-based tools and applications for everyday use.
- Advantages include ease of use. SaaS products are easy to find, purchase, and set up. They’re easy to use by simply logging in. They require no maintenance or upgrades, since that is included in the subscription. And SaaS products do not encroach on physical space or servers, since it doesn’t depend on local resources.
- Disadvantages include lack of control. You can’t choose the infrastructure underlying your SaaS products. You may not be able to perform integrations or patches at will, and instead must wait for the provider to do so. And if your provider has a problem, you have that same problem until your provider fixes it. Also, some SaaS products may be incompatible with other elements in your existing environment.
Where to go from here – VMware Horizon
If you’re interested in hybrid clouds, VMware Horizon is the place to go. Horizon can be deployed in a variety of hybrid cloud environments, including Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and more. Horizon is a virtualization software product for delivering desktops and apps on Windows, Linux, and MacOS systems. Horizon provides secure and easy access to the apps and desktops that employees and end users require to get their jobs done.
Find out more about how you can deploy Horizon in a variety of hybrid cloud environments: