Hybrid Cloud
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 Cloud

Amazon 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.  
Public Cloud
A service provider operates the public cloud, you do not host the cloud itself, but you will rent for a service, accessible via the Internet. Different use cases are offered in a public cloud environment, like deploying an application, hosting files, backups, mails. A good example of SaaS offer hosted in a public cloud is MicrosoftTM Office 365®. For application deployment, the leaders are AWS (Amazon), Azure (Microsoft), and GCP (Google). Alibaba Cloud has a significant market share, but with a strong focus in Asia. By 2022, public cloud services will be essential for 90% of business innovation.

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

Private Cloud Services are the counter model of the Public Cloud. Enterprises often favor this model for reasons of sovereignty and continue to operate their IT resources themselves.
A private cloud can be managed by a third party if the organization does not want to do it itself, or does not have the right skills, and at the same time does not want to host an application on a public cloud. Private cloud is less flexible than public cloud, since you cannot virtually infinitely scale and will be limited by the total resources of this private cloud, which is obviously less significant than AWS, Azure or GCP.
At the same time, private cloud could be cheaper than a virtual machine that runs in a public cloud all day long.  With a public cloud, you pay the price of its flexibility. Sometimes, depending on the private cloud vendor, you need to host a large number of applications to have a cheaper virtual machine in a private cloud. This is a popular strategy used by enterprises.

Private cloud does not mean: no security issues

Moreover, deploying a private cloud does not mean you will not have any security concerns. You still need to manage the hypervisor security for it has a huge attack surface. Hackers on gaining access to this layer, can further access the multiple virtual machines installed on its host server. It could gradually compromise the entire virtualized environment. People with a public cloud setup have a much better control over this situation. Since Amazon, Microsoft or Google offer quicker response and are better equipped for your hypervisors’ security.

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?

Having a well-defined hybrid cloud strategy is crucial for the efficiency of every business. Moving to a hybrid cloud model could be expensive and challenging. To help the organization save time and money during the transition, you need to decide how to scale and move your workloads between different cloud environments.

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). 

Cloud Hybride
(figure 1.1)
Déploiement d'une architecture Cloud hybride
(figure 1.2)

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 Cloud

There 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.
However, there are more advantages than disadvantages to working in a hybrid cloud. If you are unsure how to go about this process, the best way would be to contact experts in hybrid cloud architecture, who can help you leverage the long-term benefits of a hybrid cloud-computing environment, while keeping its risks at bay.  You can achieve this in a few steps but make sure that you are not tied to a specific cloud platform.

Are you looking for a place to host your applications on cloud?

Contact the experts at Rohde and Schwarz Cybersecurity to take into account your resources, scalability needs, ease of migration, and integration. After helping you set up a hybrid cloud environment successfully, the team will enable superior protection for your hybrid cloud architecture with R&S®Cloud Protector, a true SaaS platform.