Despite recent advocacy for wholesale adoption of cloud-based and cloud-native environments, hybrid cloud represents some of the most versatile and desirable IT infrastructure available. As Forrester describes, leading hybrid cloud service providers enable “depth of automation, particularly a strong orchestration layer [with] automated provisioning, service orchestration, configuration management, lifecycle management, and template libraries,” among other distinct advantages.
Broadly speaking, hybrid cloud allows companies to retain some benefits of on-premise solutions while optimizing capabilities with the adoption of cloud. Companies can integrate these two environments without overhauling their existing IT infrastructure, saving on additional costs and training as well.
In this article, we investigate some of the key advantages of hybrid cloud infrastructure. We’ll identify some best practices in transitioning to hybrid cloud environments as well.
The 5 Key Advantages of Hybrid Cloud
The downside to embracing either a pure cloud or pure on-premise infrastructure model are the “tradeoffs” inherent in either choice. For example, companies who choose on-premise alone lose the scalability and flexibility cloud vendors provide. Companies who choose cloud alone lose the familiarity and control inherent in on-premise solutions.
Hybrid environments provide both types of benefits in a cost-effective way. Here is a closer look at how those benefits unfold for companies ready to transition to hybrid cloud infrastructure.
The 5 Key Advantages of Hybrid Cloud
A company’s ability to respond quickly to market changes is a now a key differentiator, no matter the company’s industry. This can be challenging with on-premise infrastructure alone. That’s because adding new capabilities to on-premise environments requires additional software, costs, and most critically, time.
The availability of cloud changes that. As McKinsey describes about hybrid cloud, “we see tremendous opportunities to accelerate progress on business agility—if organizations are ready to take the right steps across all these elements to transform the way they work.” Cloud vendors often have access to software and capabilities within their ecosystems, enabling companies to adopt new capabilities more easily; as we will find, they can scale up capacity more easily as well.
2. Cost-Effective Scalability
Working with on-premise infrastructure alone limits scalability. Specifically, companies that use on-premise alone need to purchase additional hardware to scale up their IT infrastructure capacity. This process is costly and time consuming, leading to lost opportunities. In many cases, scaling up physical infrastructure makes financial sense one moment, but leads to costly, unused infrastructure the next.
Supplementing on-premise solutions with the cloud solves this problem. A company’s use of cloud infrastructure is easy to scale—they need only purchase additional resources from the cloud provider when they need it. What’s more, they can scale these resources back down once their goals are met—this saves them on costs associated with unused on-premise infrastructure.
3. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
One of on-premise infrastructure’s greatest weaknesses is its inflexibility in the face of disaster. Unlike cloud infrastructure, which frequently and automatically “backs up” your essential resources, on-premise solutions are limited in their ability to protect data and other software assets from such incidents: if your hardware has a problem, those assets have “nowhere to go.”
Hybrid cloud environments ensure companies can support business continuity in the face of disaster. That’s because cloud environments can become another “place to go” for your data and resources, should something happen to your on-premise solutions. In many cases, companies use cloud for this purpose alone. But it’s just one of many ways cloud complements on-premise infrastructure.
4. On-Premise Advantages
Companies who are satisfied with some or all of the capabilities their existing on-premise infrastructure provides can save on costs and the difficulties associated with IT infrastructure changes. They can do this by retaining some capabilities within those environments. This way, companies can continue to managing data and resources centrally if they choose.
This can be critical in highly regulated industries such as finance or defense, where cloud solutions may not abide by specific data standards. Even so, those same companies can benefit from cloud capabilities for automation of non-sensitive aspects of the business at the same time.
5. Ongoing Support
There are business advantages inherent in the relationships companies form with cloud vendors. These providers often align their financial models with your own KPIs, so that they succeed when your company succeeds. For example, as you scale up cloud resources to respond to market changes, your provider scales costs you; as you scale down resources, they scale costs back down, saving you from paying for unused IT infrastructure.
This model incentivizes the vendor to offer ongoing support, and that support is often a key selling point for cloud vendors. This differs greatly from on-premise models alone, where purchased infrastructure often remains your IT team’s responsibility—cloud vendors share a stake in your success instead.
Start your Transition to Hybrid Cloud
The comparative ease with which companies transition from on-premise to hybrid cloud models versus others is perhaps one of its greatest benefits. That’s because companies can optimize their cloud investments without sacrificing what they like about their existing investments in on-premise solutions.
Specifically, your IT and business leaders can identify the capabilities for which cloud infrastructure is optimal. These can include options for business continuity and disaster recovery; but also, customer experience or marketing capabilities you may need to scale or configure rapidly in response to market changes.
But a transition to hybrid cloud models must include a focus on the potential for adoption among your employees as well. As McKinsey describes, “A renewed focus on people, processes, and policies can unlock the cloud’s full potential” where companies must have “the right talent to support the technology transformation and needed operating-model shifts.”
Contact Uvation for Your Digital Transformation Initiatives
The consultants at Uvation are here to help as you prepare your workforce for these or any other new technology investments. Book an online session with a strategy expert now and take your first step towards a more complete and enduring hybrid cloud strategy.