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Is hybrid cloud in danger of becoming lost in translation?

In the last year hybrid cloud adoption has ramped up as both cloud users and cloud vendors have matured. Yet there is still confusion in the market about what it means to go truly hybrid with many CIOs unable to agree when it comes to the true definition of hybrid cloud.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Commerce, “[Hybrid] cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community or public) that remain unique entities, but that are bound together by standardised or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g. cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).” This original definition seems to have been lost in vendor marketing jargon. Why? Because the ability to manage and move data and applications across cloud and non-cloud infrastructure environments is complicated.

If data is batch, static or archival it is relatively easy to move that data between on-premises and the cloud. A much harder problem is how to move active data, data which is continually changing, across different storage environments. In a hybrid cloud model the remote application’s transactions must stay in sync with on-premises one while avoiding any inconsistencies in the transaction processing. As a result, many companies find they have some workloads running against data in the cloud and others that run against data on-premises as they can’t guarantee complete consistency between the two.

Yet in today’s market there is an answer to this problem. Active Data Replication™ gives continuous consistent connectivity to data as it changes wherever that data is located. It ensures access to data anytime and anywhere with no downtime and no disruption. This matters because those with active data simply cannot afford the downtime traditionally associated with moving their changing data to the cloud.

Yet they still need to be able to take advantage of the economies, elasticity and efficiencies a hybrid cloud infrastructure can offer: the ability to retain sensitive data behind the firewall while exploiting the lower cost and flexibility of cloud; improved scalability and provisioning at a decreased cost; the ability to allocate short-term projects at a much lower cost than upgrading on-premises infrastructure and the important advantage of being able to undertake burst-out processing on demand for real-time analytics by using the a wide range of applications available in the cloud that would be impossible to deploy and maintain on-premises without additional hardware and staff.

The benefits of running a hybrid cloud infrastructure using Active Data Replication™ are tangible. For instance, with continuous access to the latest information across multiple geographies, a bank is able to effectively detect credit card fraud and undertake timely business and consumer loan risk analysis. Similarly, a utility company can improve its engineering operations and sell data related products to its partners with continuous access to smart meter data. In the field of healthcare, where real-time access to data can be a matter of life and death, Active Data Replication™ can enable patients to be monitored remotely whether they are at home, in hospital or on the move. IDC estimates that by 2020 organisations able to analyse all relevant data and deliver actionable information will achieve an extra $430 billion in productivity benefits over their less analytically oriented peers.

Vendors need to stop hiding the fact they can’t guarantee complete consistency between on-premises and the cloud. Their distortion of the hybrid cloud definition results in many companies having to buy more cloud hardware and software expecting both efficiency and cost savings but in reality ending up with little added value.

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