With the popularity of cloud computing, many businesses are looking to reap its comprehensive benefits with a hybrid cloud architecture. From offering better access to remote workers to affordable operating costs, hybrid cloud computing can help make a business safer, more efficient, and collaborative.
The global hybrid cloud market will increase from $44.6 billion in 2018 to $97.6 billion in 2023, according to a MarketsandMarkets report. With companies increasingly making the transition to cloud-based infrastructure, optimizing business operations and work efficiency will improve.
To make switching to the cloud a better decision, here is a guide to help you understand the benefits of hybrid cloud computing and what the top hybrid providers offer to differentiate themselves in this competitive market:
Choosing the right hybrid cloud provider
Top hybrid cloud providers
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a pioneer in the cloud computing realm. According to Gartner, they have been a frontrunner in their “Magic Quadrant” for infrastructure and platform services for 10 years continuously. They offer services to companies of all sizes. They get great reviews from their customers in the assistance and support section, for the most part. Their support team is reportedly strong and offers good suggestions to enhance the cloud environment functionality.
The AWS Outposts is an on-premises device owned and operated by AWS. IT teams use it to host and provision AWS resources, such as EBS volumes and EC2 instances, on-premises as they did in the cloud. So it is possible if a company wants to move workloads in-house or sync cloud and on-premises infrastructure. Outpost supports AWS services, such as EC2, EBS, and other container-based solutions but doesn’t support Lambda, S3, or SageMaker.
- 99.9% uptime SLA assured
- AI and ML
- Automated capacity scaling
- Worldwide infrastructure
- Data backup and extensive long-term storage
AWS offers a pricing calculator to estimate its cloud expenses. Some companies are unaware of the instances they will need until they migrate their data entirely. A business using AWS should go for third-party cost-management tools to streamline its cloud expenses.
2. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is right behind AWS. Though they started late, they rose through the competition by migrating their on-premises software to the cloud. As software like Microsoft Office and Sharepoint already had a market, it was a no-brainer for several companies to follow it to the cloud. While it is relatively simple to manage once things have been set up, you may still need help at some point. But there is an expert support team and documentation available to offer support.
The Azure services are designed on Windows Server, .Net framework, and Visual Studio, allowing migration of on-premises apps to services completely hassle-free. As Microsoft embraces Kubernetes, containers, and Linux with open arms, it offers good support for open-source products.
It also has a product Azure Stack that allows you to replicate the complete Azure environment on-premises. It helps with cost cutting and disaster recovery.
- Serverless computing
- DDoS safety
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO)
- Business continuity and analytics
- Disaster recovery solutions
Several situational discounts make it tough to determine Microsoft Azure pricing without speaking to customer support. The software licensing also adds a layer of complexity to the pricing model.
3. Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform is an ideal suggestion for companies that use containers, as they have the Kubernetes standard that other cloud providers have now started using. It stands at the third position after AWS and Microsoft regarding market share. The company is striving hard to enhance its offerings and number of data centers globally to narrow down the gap. It offers better customer support and documentation for the platform and APIs.
It has many other cloud-based services; notably, its AI efforts are supported by its customized AI processor, TensorFlow. It allows users to run their AI and ML apps on the TensorFlow system on the Google Cloud.
- Monitoring and management amenities
- Virtual private clouds
- Google Kubernetes Engines
- API management
- Migration Tools
Google uses its competitors’ pricing methodology to its benefit, including some contracts with discounts to attract clients in the market. They also offer free credits and free trials.
4. Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud rules China with a significant presence in the Asia Pacific. They offer robust, multilingual customer assistance and website services. If you are not tech-savvy, the UI may not appear friendly to you. Most companies hire technical people to access all the functionality of the platform. Apart from the documentation library and blog, they also render forums to resolve queries of their users.
Alibaba offers computing, web hosting, and database services. It has an international presence of 18 data centers across the globe.
- DDoS and SSL security
- Data visualization and real-time analysis
- Reporting and analytics
- Data storage and recovery
- Audit management
- Resource isolation
Alibaba Cloud offers free trials to its new customers with value. It helps them try the platform and check its services. All their services are priced on a pay-as-you-go approach. They also offer some tools free of cost.
5. Oracle Cloud
Oracle Cloud works well for companies using Oracle products or lacking high coding knowledge. Businesses like the user interface as they get the platform to behave the way they want. However, the platform hasn’t been streamlined and is also not competitive concerning the price. The customer support team is quite responsive, and there are tutorials explaining different functionalities.
Oracle doesn’t let its software run in virtual instances, such as AWS and Good Cloud, but it can run on metal servers offered by Oracle. It allows a simple lift and shifts from running applications on-premises to the cloud with little change.
- Built-in encryption and firewalls
- DDoS security
- Autonomous workloads
- App performance monitoring
- Analytics cloud
- Database management
Oracle Cloud has a transparent pricing structure.
In 2017, IBM amalgamated its cloud services from Watson to SoftLayer to Bluemix into one business, IBM Cloud, offering over 170 services for on-premises and public cloud. It makes the public and private cloud appear the same, enhancing transparency and boosting DevOps support. It provides a simple lift and shift on-premises workloads on IBM platforms to the cloud without any modification.
IBM uses AI to enhance business use cases on its hybrid platform. They automate processes that aren’t done manually, streamline employee workloads and help end users. It is building the IBM Red Hat Platform with Cloud Pak solutions to advance the use of containerized environments and Kubernetes. IBM is the first cloud platform to integrate with OpenShift 4.
- Lightweight applications
- Fully encrypted backup and recovery
- Data mass migration tools
- API management
IBM offers flexible purchase models. Its cost-effective solutions are customized to meet your business needs. It works on the pay-as-you-go model offering platform-wide discounts. Users can get discounted pricing for long-term subscriptions.
Relatively new to the hybrid cloud list, VMware’s knowledge of vendor-agnostic virtualization has resulted in growth. It offers on-premises virtualization and partners with cloud veterans for the hybrid world. vSphere hypervisor helps customers run their own data centers or on public clouds. The public aspect of its hybrid cloud solution is vCloud Air, accessible via the vCloud Air ecosystem of over 4,000 partners with cloud services providers, like Claranet and Centurylink leading it.
- AWS native services integration
- Serverless computing
- AI and ML
- Data backup and flexible storage
- Disaster recovery
- Bare metal cloud infrastructure
There is a fee linked with all VMware products. Companies may have to shift their environment to avoid paying additional licensing expenses.
Similar to VMware, Cisco is a cloud service provider offering hybrid solutions using a partnership network. Cisco Cloud Center safely deploys and manages applications in several data centers, both public and private cloud platforms.
Cisco partners with Accenture, AT&T, CDW, and Google to offer hybrid solutions. Your enterprise application runs continuously and safely in both on-premises and public cloud environments.
- Cloud-neutral automation
- Visibility of actionable insights
- Easy data migration
- Choice of several container platforms
- AI and ML
- Data storage and recovery
While reviewing your technical abilities and considering hybrid cloud, undoubtedly, you’ll review a suite of solutions. IT leaders may be overwhelmed reviewing the number of choices laid out before them. They look for a platform that serves the best possible way and offers agile application development, delivering results that take your company ahead at an enhanced pace.
Acknowledging the importance of hybrid cloud solutions and their role in a company’s development, here are its top features.
There is no waiting period in the market. Everyone needs immediate updates. Further, the competition iterates at a revving speed, leaving your company limited time to respond. Hence, hybrid cloud platforms should be portable, quick, and offer the highest flexibility. It is achievable on platforms like IBM Bluemix that streamlines apps in a virtual environment.
An essential benefit of moving into the cloud is affordability. Previously buying assets meant paying for everything you were using and not using, which ate your money. Hybrid cloud solutions offer the best of everything. They reduce IT expenses while allowing companies to pay for what they are using. For IT companies, selecting a platform that streamlines cost opens doors for better budgeting for innovation. Companies can save up to 30% by switching to hybrid cloud solutions.
Developing a digital experience means merging different technologies, which appears to be a major challenge for DevOps companies who have been using a cache of tools to get a task done. For modern companies, using smart, amalgamated, and centralized management abilities offer teams a chance to get efficient and scalable in their operations. It lowers overall expenses and enhances application development and deployment.
Technology means connectivity. As companies reduce development costs, they also increase their application usage programming interfaces to get increased abilities. So, the more connections you get from a hybrid cloud platform, the more feature rich a technology will be.
The last feature is the size of the app. The development teams need to develop and manage agile apps that load fast, have higher efficiency, and take up less space. Though storage is cheap, the emphasis on space is because of storing and managing customer data.
Regardless of how you plan to meet your present needs, you don’t need to worry if your needs change in the next month or year unless you have the resources. A hybrid cloud approach helps you manage your data management requirements to on-premises, public and private clouds that are best capable of tackling them.
Best of both worlds
Unless you have rigid needs being fulfilled only by public cloud or private cloud services, you don’t need to limit your options. A hybrid approach taps the benefits of both worlds simultaneously.
Hybrid cloud solutions allow a company to deploy its significant workload in an on-premises cloud and host less-important data on a third-party, public cloud provider. This method helps companies get the best of both worlds (private and public cloud models).
Companies work with different data types in different environments and regulate their framework. A hybrid cloud solution uses conventional systems and recent cloud technology without complete commitment to the vendor. Companies can shift their workload from a traditional framework and vice-versa as and when necessary.
Companies own and manage the data center framework with a private cloud that needs sufficient capital cost and fixed expenses. On the other hand, public cloud resources are calculated as operational and variable expenditures. Hybrid cloud solutions can run workloads in any environment that’s more cost-effective.
Companies in regulated sectors should follow rigid guidelines on storing data. It means they cannot move specific workloads to the public cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions help a company keep and operate private data in the private cloud and move them to and from the public cloud as and when needed. It helps companies meet statutory requirements and still enjoy the benefits of the cloud’s flexibility.
Robustness and interoperability
Companies can run workloads excessively in a public and private cloud. Constituents of one workload can run in both the cloud solutions and interoperate.
Agility and scalability
A hybrid cloud provides higher resource options through a public cloud provider compared to a company’s physical data center. It makes it simpler to provide, organize and scale resources to meet the rising demands. If the demand surpasses the capacity of the local data center, a company can switch to the public cloud to access additional capacity and scale.
Before implementing the hybrid cloud technology, review the hybrid cloud use cases to know whether the approach suits your company’s IT requirements.
Companies look forward to enhancing their IT infrastructure via public cloud adoption, but compliance factors may prevent them from closing their private data center fully. A hybrid cloud allows organizations with mixed data resources to migrate portions of their IT infrastructure to the cloud and retain some on-premises.
Developing and testing
It is more cost-effective and quicker to build and test apps in the public cloud, as there’s no need to buy and set up private premises hardware.
A hybrid cloud allows companies to replicate on-premises workloads and backup data. In case of any problem in the data center, workloads fail in the cloud but operate efficiently through on-demand cloud resources.
The hybrid cloud allows companies to use robust public cloud solutions to manage regular analytical queries on locally stored data.
Explore a cloud provider
Often, companies use a hybrid technique to assess a prospective public cloud migration. The IT team can experiment with cloud tools and learn how to work with a specific provider before choosing a complete public cloud adoption.
Financial services sector
Banking and commercial firms are adopting the hybrid cloud solution. They do this to take advantage of the flexible public cloud to develop new apps and use a private cloud to store private data and process their operations.
Health care industry
The health care industry demands strict data privacy. The private cloud infrastructure offers a good amount of data security, while the public cloud allows health care experts and insurance providers to use vital information anywhere, anytime. Both cloud services go hand in hand.
Hybrid transactions in the e-commerce world are data intensive. Also, random workloads may increase during peak seasons or holidays. Hybrid cloud infrastructure offers e-commerce companies the safety and scalability they require, and they can make migrations accordingly.
What to look for in hybrid cloud providers?
Undoubtedly, hybrid cloud is the best choice for companies. Many firms see the cloud as a chance to own and manage their data center. But with more companies shifting to the cloud, the all-or-nothing decision of choosing a fully private cloud or a fully public cloud has been tempered by the elasticity of a hybrid cloud.
Cloud migrations are costly and time-consuming, so if you are looking forward to trying different cloud platforms before selecting the best, do so with small data or non-essential applications. It will give you an idea of how the cloud environment works before you completely invest your money and time and opt for complete migration.
A hybrid cloud trial is suggested before selecting a provider. Discuss it with your IT team to know which hybrid cloud vendor is best for your company and proceed accordingly. Remember, there is no absolute best choice. There are too many variables to consider.