The best of the private and public worlds
What is Hybrid Cloud?Enterprises use many applications to support their business on a daily basis, and they need different cloud deployment models to host their diverse applications. Hybrid cloud has become a common trend but its definition is still a matter to brood over. In simplified terms, hybrid cloud services combine both public and private cloud services, with their on premise infrastructure.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud
- The main use case is to run most of the virtual machines in a private cloud, because it is cheaper and allows greater control. When organizations do not need flexibility, they employ virtual machines that would be highly available, 24 hours a day.
- Nevertheless, companies use the public cloud for its flexibility by processing less-sensitive transactions in it and keeping the more sensitive data in-house (on private servers).
- Hybrid cloud also allows enterprises to scale quickly, especially when there are peaks in traffic.
- This model is highly flexible and it provides a good balance between security, compliance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
Examples of hybrid CloudAmazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) etc are some common examples of providers who offer public cloud hosting. You can combine their solutions with an internal private cloud to have a hybrid cloud architecture. For instance, the scalability offered by hybrid cloud has totally transformed the way in which e-commerce websites operate today. Let us say you own an ecommerce website that experiences increased traffic on certain days of the week. With a hybrid cloud model, you can increase your resources only during the busy periods and pay only for those services. This makes a hybrid cloud based system much more cost efficient than the traditional on premise scenario by helping the business cater to the changing demands of their peak season In fact, several industries could greatly benefit from a hybrid cloud solution like healthcare, financial institutions, government agencies, education, retail, etc. Let us dive deeper into the two cloud types that make up hybrid cloud approach.
Benefits of Public Cloud
- Pay as you go pricing model is mainly used. This pricing model offers high flexibility and warrants scalability of your applications, so that, they are able to handle peaks in traffic.
- Since the most widely used public cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have huge infrastructures, they permit applications to virtually scale infinitely in the long-term. Volumetric protection like anti-DDoS are also much more powerful in a big public cloud environment.
Private cloud does not mean: no security issues
Benefits of Private Cloud
- Enterprises can control and tailor their infrastructure according to their needs.
- The private cloud model is more secure and reliable for enterprises that want to protect their critical business operations and sensitive data in the private servers of an on-site data center. With private cloud, if you are an EU citizen, you can know exactly where your data is hosted, the way it is processed and protected, thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
What would be a good hybrid cloud strategy?
There could be two ways to accomplish this.
- First, you could balance the same application in both the internal and external cloud environments, thus reducing costs, increasing their resilience.
- Alternatively, you could assess your initial workload, and then prioritize the appropriate applications to migrate to public cloud, based on the criticality of the applications, and costs involved. This way you can do what suits your applications the best.
- Yet another option would be to deploy less the critical part of an application on the public cloud, while the more critical part resides in a database within the private cloud.
Hybrid cloud Architecture
It is important to create a consistent architecture to synchronize data across both the cloud environments’ internal structures. You need to standardize on a common operating environment. Your hybrid cloud deployment could be achieved in two ways. You could combine your on premise infrastructure with a public cloud (Figure 1.1). After setting up, you can use a cloud load balancer to spread the load over both the regions. If you have several application instances, things could get complicated and it is always safer to deploy the WAF close to the application. You can facilitate the protection of your application in the public cloud using R&S®Web Application Firewall, deployed in public marketplaces (like AWS, Azure, and GCP).
The other way would be to combine a private cloud with a public cloud (Figure 1.2). In cases where the same application resides in the public and private cloud, a SaaS WAF like R&S®Cloud Protector would be ideal to manage the security effortlessly.
Cons of Hybrid CloudThere are several challenges to working in a hybrid cloud.
- The overall architecture can be a complicated project to implement and manage. It might involve many in-house expenses as well.
- If the same application is running on multiple environments, you cannot completely capitalize on the benefits that a particular cloud environment has to offer. This phenomenon leverages only platform agnostic functionalities.
- Having security in place is no simple task. If part of the public cloud were compromised then it would gradually put at risk, the sensitive applications in the private cloud as well.