Digital Realty’s Rick Moore, Senior Director of Global Cloud Services, explores how a hybrid cloud approach can help data centers operate efficiently without sacrificing security and management control.
The public cloud is often portrayed by its proponents as the panacea for many of the capital expenditures that typically occur inside the data center. With 96 percent of respondents in RightScale’s “2018 State of the Cloud Report” indicating they now use some form of the cloud, including 92 percent saying they use at least one public cloud solution and 75 percent using at least one private cloud solution, the question is no longer whether businesses will embrace some form of cloud computing. They have done so in a resounding fashion.
Adopting cloud infrastructure
Despite this remarkable trend toward increased cloud service consumption, there is no distinct adoption path of choice—and few organizations outside of small businesses are running their entire business in the public cloud. Over 80 percent of workloads are predicted to be in the cloud by next year, leading to some discussion around the demise of the data center being just around the corner; however, that thinking doesn’t account for the entirety of the data. Rather, it’s critical to account for public versus private versus hybrid cloud environments, and the certainty that it is not “either” nor “or” but “all of the above.” The cloud itself lives in data centers. That’s a fundamental truth. While the notion of a traditional enterprise data center might fast be losing favor, flexible, proximate and sustainably focused data centers are the foundation of today’s digital economy.
Throughout their journey toward digitization, these businesses are realizing that a ‘one size fits all’ approach within an antiquated data center, which requires frequent retooling and modernization, no longer suits their needs.
The private cloud, of course, is simply an evolution of the data center to accommodate requirements such as increased speed, scale, and agility that are driven by digital transformation (DX) initiatives. Hybrid cloud environments combine the on-premises data center infrastructure of private clouds with the remarkable scale and service breadth of the public clouds, enabling organizations to efficiently reap the advantages of both. In these instances, data moves seamlessly between private and public cloud environments while applications communicate in tightly integrated ways. Hybrid clouds help organizations win with greater flexibility and broader deployment options than private- or public-only scenarios.
Not everything belongs in public cloud
One of the reasons for the evolution from public- or private-only models is the growing realization that not everything fits neatly into a single, traditional deployment environment. Colocation data centers, which are built to scale and engineered specifically to offer access to core underlying cloud resources, can be used to build powerful elastic hybrid cloud services platforms. These environments are turning out to be a natural alternative for many organizations. Throughout their journey toward digitization, these businesses are realizing that a “one size fits all” approach within an antiquated data center, which requires frequent retooling and modernization, no longer suits their needs.
In contrast, hybrid cloud environments give organizations the ability to avoid the proverbial “lock-in” whereby companies find themselves attached to specific public cloud provider platforms. They also enable organizations to adapt and change direction quickly by combining public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises data center resources. By leveraging the unique benefits of each, organizations can take advantage of on-demand services such as high-performance computing and sophisticated Machine Learning (ML) tools while placing their environments in highly secure, carefully engineered and densely interconnected facilities to help reduce costs and “future proof” their IT strategy. Further, researchers have shown that users of service-provider colocation environments generally suffer fewer cyber-attacks than do on-premises environments.
I predict 2019 will be a year when many organizations realize that a well-tuned mix of on-premises and cloud-native infrastructure offers a better model for achieving workplace performance and operational efficiency than one that emphasizes an exclusive public- and/or private-cloud approach. It should be no surprise that workloads in hybrid clouds are forecast to represent 22 percent of all enterprise traffic next year. It’s clear that it’s possible for organizations to achieve optimal workplace performance and operating efficiency without sacrificing on things such as security and management control with a true hybrid cloud strategy.