What is a Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid cloud is the combination of on-premises and cloud deployment. Whether an organization’s resources include on-premises, private, public, or multi-cloud, a hybrid cloud ecosystem can deliver the best of all worlds: on-prem when needed and cloud when needed. Such flexibility allows users to quickly and seamlessly adjust workloads between environments to match ever-shifting business needs, maximizing access to data wherever it may be so users can apply analytics and take action on new insights.
What are the benefits of hybrid cloud?
Hybrid cloud architectures have the the benefits of agility, resiliency, and availability. In addition to supporting existing repositories and new data sources and types, hybrid cloud deployment also provides the agility to quickly adjust as needed. Moving users and use cases is simple when the same software, features, and services available everywhere and where access, security, and oversight are uniform. Geographic diversity can also increase resiliency and system availability during disaster, maintenance, or mishaps.
Factors to consider when researching hybrid cloud solutions:
- Cost Reduction: Could moving some data, users, and workloads to the cloud help save money?
- Data Access: Would a hybrid solution perform faster so that internal users have easier access to analytics?
- Consistency: Might cloud capacity help augment existing resources to help mitigate seasonal performance issues?
- Risk Mitigation: Would a hybrid cloud architecture help when planning for resiliency or a disaster?
- Compliance and Usability: Could a hybrid cloud environment help fulfill a cloud mandate or lead to higher user satisfaction?
Getting Started with Hybrid Cloud
The numerous architectures made possible by hybrid cloud shift the question from “Cloud yes or no?” to “How much?” and “How do I get started with cloud?” The Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is no longer a solitary, singular entity, but can actually serve as an asset, coexisting and spanning both on-premises and in the cloud—whether public, managed, or private cloud. Some organizations use the cloud for disaster recovery and test/development. Others consider load balancing by moving integration or analytic workloads off on-premises EDWs to an EDW in the cloud. With a hybrid architecture, a company has many choices and doesn’t have to abandon one in favor of the other.
Maximizing the Cloud: Cloud Use Cases
Once the motivations, considerations, myths, and choices are clear, it’s time to consider how an organization can put cloud to use. Companies today are already doing all the same types of analytic workloads in the cloud as are done on-premises: production analytics, test and development, departmental data marts, proofs of concept, exploratory sandboxes, and so on. Furthermore, the combination of on-premises deployment with cloud resources opens the door to hybrid-specific use cases such as cloud data lab and cloud disaster recovery.
Cloud Data Lab
A cloud data lab is a sandbox environment that is quickly spun up to allow end user self-service and exploration. Users can pursue new ideas by combining new data with existing data so it is easy to identify trends and insight or react to immediate business issues. With a cloud data lab, users can quickly and easily spin up a cloud instance with little impact to the production warehouse and yet, depending on access levels, also interact with core data without having to get IT resources involved to replicate data between the systems. When their exploratory work is complete, users can easily terminate the cloud instance and avoid additional cost.
Cloud Disaster Recovery
Cloud disaster recovery offers a lower-cost, off-premises alternative over purchasing and maintaining a second physical system in an additional data center. The data can be easily managed across the two systems, and when disaster strikes or users need to open a maintenance window on the primary system, workloads can be quickly routed to the cloud environment.