What is a hybrid cloud? The term refers to the effective mixture of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud services (such as Oracle Cloud), all working seamlessly together to power an entire organization. This configuration is flexible depending on the requirements and can include private assets and other applications, all with the goal of balancing the possible variables, from resources usage to compatibility with legacy applications. In many cases, hybrid cloud computing offers the perfect solution between the benefits of modern cloud technology and the practical limitations of cloud capabilities, such as when high-performance computing is involved. It also allows organizations to take a phased approach to public cloud adoption for their transition needs based on legacy hardware, proprietary data, and other potential reasons.
With a hybrid cloud, organizations get the best of both worlds in a flexible environment capable of adapting to their specific needs. The benefits of hybrid cloud solutions include:
What is involved in a hybrid cloud solution? The cloud elements and the on-premises elements typically exist independently, and the process of establishing a hybrid cloud is to create a seamless environment that harmoniously joins these two sides. To do so, the following elements must be considered:
On-premises hardware and cloud networking are bound to have different management tools. By unifying infrastructure under a hybrid model, data and resources are managed in a single platform.
At some point, every enterprise will likely have some measure of their network in the cloud—this is where the technology curve is heading. In a hybrid environment, that means that legacy on-premises hardware will have to work seamlessly with cloud elements. By using a consistent architecture to govern, organizations will be able to work across both sides in a portable and flexible way. Symmetric deployments are also ideal to use during migration or disaster recovery configuration.
A hybrid cloud can truly maximize resources across the entire enterprise with automation powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. This eliminates human errors for repetitive tasks while enabling predictive maintenance and policy regulation.
Hybrid cloud computing works extremely well for a number of specific purposes. These usually include situations where the data has specific limitations or requirements regarding storage, processing, security, or other unique needs. For these organizations, hybrid cloud computing delivers on various needs such as:
Some organizations may have to work with special regulatory mandates driven by variables such as response time, security, and geographic accessibility. A hybrid cloud enables flexibility in creating a data strategy that can accommodate this, with general data needs placed in a public cloud and data under regulatory restrictions kept in strategic local configurations.
Some datasets feature sensitive, private, or proprietary information. Data that potentially falls under this include financial data, sensitive customer data, or medical records. However, the bulk of application or organizational data may not necessarily carry these same requirements. A hybrid cloud allows for this separation, sensitive data in a private cloud for security purposes and the rest of the data in a public cloud for efficient processing and storage.
Scalability is a common concern in enterprise data planning, but only some organizations have to deal with scalability on a regular, even daily basis. In these situations, dynamic workloads create shifting resource needs, usually only with a subset of data or operations. Hybrid cloud computing creates a flexible solution that places stable resource needs in one configuration while putting dynamic workloads in a public cloud for cost-efficient scaling as needed.
On-premises comes with limitations such as hardware maintenance and regulatory compliance across individual assets. Cloud networking comes with its own limitations, such as potential latency issues when dealing with high-resource processes. Hybrid cloud solutions offer a balance between these two choices, giving organizations the ability to create a specific hybrid cloud design to maximize their own needs. The benefits include:
With hybrid cloud computing, both on-premises and cloud solutions are utilized. However, applications, databases, and components are governed under a single data management umbrella, allowing for a unified and simplified approach that enabled interoperability.
Cloud networks often include more robust connectivity and capabilities for delivering automation into processes. In a hybrid cloud, the segments using the cloud elements can take advantage of these functions. This also helps with plans for future full-cloud deployment by giving IT managers a sense of what will be possible in terms of automation once everything moves to the cloud.
While cloud networking comes with many benefits, the simple truth is that it commits your organization to a third party. By employing a hybrid cloud solution, it’s possible to segment and partition the various elements of your specific configuration between on-premises and cloud management. For example, anything that needs to scale quickly can be in the cloud while data that requires unique security can stay on-premises.
Both on-premises and cloud components have their advantages when it comes to data security. On-premises allows data to stay behind a local firewall, ensuring sensitive or proprietary data receives maximum protection. Cloud networks allow for benefits such as unified security policies and mass rollout of updates. With hybrid cloud computing, an organization’s unique and specific elements can be assessed under the microscope of risk tolerance, and thus assigned accordingly.
Hybrid cloud solutions offer the ability to build a specific configuration that maximizes the potential of both on-premises and cloud components. Ultimately, this creates a situation where both cost and resources are optimized to the capabilities of either platform. An example of this comes from the way compute power is used. In this case, assume that the bulk of an organization’s processes fall under standard resource usage; thus, they can be assigned to the cloud portion to keep costs down. On the other side of that, high-compute processes can remain with on-premise hardware designed to handle such tasks without taking away from other resources or creating a need to suddenly scale up compute power. This balance optimizes budget while keeping a steady user experience in terms of speed and availability.
A hybrid cloud is the smart solution for a number of situations. The following use cases show some of the ways hybrid cloud computing can be most effectively utilized.
With hybrid cloud solutions, private and public disaster recovery can be fine-tuned to meet an organization’s unique needs. This creates a simplified solution that reduces local storage space and bandwidth requirements while optimizing the backup process. In the case of locally stored proprietary data, ensuring an efficient and quick recovery. This ultimately achieves continuity while maximizing the efficiency that comes only in a hybrid configuration.
A hybrid cloud solution can be a temporary configuration that enables a migration to a permanent cloud. In some cases, an enterprise cloud migration could take months. Using a hybrid cloud as a means of transition enables a phased transition with simple and safe rollback, all with a level of flexibility built into the process that also minimizes or even eliminates downtime.
Resource needs shift during the development lifecycle. During the test phase, certain resources will be needed that won’t necessarily be called upon during beta or even launch. In a hybrid cloud environment, these resources can scale accordingly based on the needs of each phase. This allows for flexibility across the life cycle without the need to overhaul hardware or configurations.
While many tools, applications, and resources can be migrated to the cloud, some simply require the resources of an on-premises environment. Hybrid cloud computing supports these circumstances, with the benefit of allowing an organization to move to the cloud at their own pace.
In North America, 7-Eleven’s enterprise infrastructure group oversees the infrastructure for the region’s core support center applications. The business depends on its extensive technology footprint, which includes Exadata to support its mission critical applications, including E-Business Suite. 7-Eleven’s infrastructure environment had no disaster recovery (DR) in place for these essential business applications. If a true catastrophe were to strike, it would have no disaster recovery instances to which it could failover. The company also wanted to lower the total cost of ownership of the infrastructure that supports its production applications but retain the same performance and high availability. In addition, there was a corporate mandate to modernize IT and undergo a digital transformation. Moving to the cloud would be the foundational framework for this strategic initiative.
We offer a number of solutions to help organizations move from an on-premises configuration to a hybrid cloud. Learn more about how Oracle’s experts can examine your specific needs and hardware to help establish a hybrid cloud designed to get the most out of your data.