In the past three years, private cloud computing has moved from an aspiration to a tentative reality for nearly half of the world's large organizations, said researchers at Gartner Inc., “Hybrid cloud computing, however, is where private cloud was three years ago — aspirations are high but deployments low," the researchers said.
Gartner defines a hybrid cloud computing service as a cloud service that spans both private and public cloud implementations, or both on-premises private and off-premises private or public cloud implementations. A hybrid cloud service can, among other things, synchronize and/or replicate data between public and private clouds, and migrate services on a continuous basis between public and private clouds.
In a blog post, Milind Govekar, managing vice president at Gartner, shared the benefits and challenges of hybrid cloud computing and examined its critical success factors. Overall, he said, hybrid cloud computing extends the benefits that can be gained from cloud computing:
- Internal private cloud computing can help maximize asset utilization. Hybrid cloud computing can maximize this value by balancing the use of internal assets and external services (for example, by enabling services to be deployed internally when internal capacity is available, but to be moved to public cloud services when it is unavailable), while enabling better scalability.
- Cloud computing can help with cost-efficiency. Hybrid cloud computing can maximize cost-efficiency, particularly capital expenditure, through competition and automated arbitrage (perhaps not as fluidly as in a financial market, but more so than when manually choosing one provider over another).
- Private cloud computing ensures isolation. Hybrid cloud computing enables an enterprise to balance isolation, cost and scaling requirements.
- Cloud computing can enable high availability and resiliency. Hybrid cloud computing can improve resiliency and disaster recovery by using multiple providers.
- Cloud computing can introduce new functionality quickly. Hybrid cloud computing makes it easier to introduce new functionality quickly and more flexibly.
- Cloud computing ensures a low barrier to entry. Hybrid cloud computing can help an enterprise build an exit strategy.
Organizations cannot, however, adopt hybrid cloud services without first implementing a private cloud. “We continue to see organizations struggle to implement private clouds and to demonstrate their value because this requires a shift in how IT is delivered, one that involves changes to people, processes and business management," Grovekar wrote.
Many lines of business buy external cloud services without the initial involvement of, or oversight from, IT leaders. To implement hybrid cloud services successfully, Grovekar argued IT leaders need to introduce an internal cloud services brokerage (CSB) role responsible for the governance, demand management and delivery of cloud services. “Those who do not think and act like an external service provider or evolve into a CSB role will gradually lose the trust of business managers, who will circumvent the IT organization in order to access the IT services they need. This will result in more disaggregation of IT services and reduced value from the remaining shared IT services," Grovekar wrote.
He also said IT leaders need cloud management platforms (CMPs) to manage and govern the delivery of private cloud services alongside public cloud services. CMPs improve the speed at which services are delivered by enabling self-service requests and automated delivery; they also reduce the overall cost of service delivery, Groverkar explained.