The ideas behind hybridization and hyper-scaling in the cloud are simple. Hybridization is mixing public and private cloud computing. Hyper-scaling is the ability to grow or shrink resources to meet your needs. So far, so good, although things can get more complicated when it comes to putting these notions into practice. The trick, as with any information technology, is to ensure that the benefits outweigh the expenses.
Hybridization for the Best of Both Cloud Worlds
A public cloud, as seen by its users, often seems to have limitless resources that are constantly available. Indeed, scalability and availability are often big selling points, together with usage-based pricing and little or no upfront investment. For peak or overflow use, public cloud services can be a cost-effective solution to extend on-premises resources.
Private clouds on the other hand are internal and typically smaller. They use automation for efficiency and management, like public clouds do. They may focus on security and control at levels that are not offered by their public cloud counterparts.
Hybridization aims to combine public and private cloud in one optimal solution. That means meeting the challenges of:
- Efficient data transfer between the two clouds, including cases where data resides in one cloud and the application using the data resides in the other cloud.
- End-to-end security to ensure that data is properly protected when stored, when in transit between the two or when being used by applications.
Hyper-scaling or Computing Elasticity
While on-premise physical servers and database installations may offer advantages in terms of control and security, they may not be optimized in terms of resource usage and efficiency. One application or one database per physical server can be wasteful, a problem compounded by requirements to allow for large margins of capacity to handle peak workloads. Server virtualization is a solution, allowing several virtual servers to occupy one physical server. Cloud computing takes another step toward improved cost-efficiency, by also automating the increase or decrease of resources at any time and as needed.
This elasticity is part of many public cloud offerings today. Virtual servers and containers (portable all-in-one environments for running applications) can be started, stopped or moved around within minutes to handle extra workloads, application test requirements, recovery after an IT incident and so on. Instead of being constrained by purely physical servers that cannot expand beyond hardware limits, but that also represent a fixed cost at the outset and for ongoing use, organizations can take what they like, when they like, and stop paying for it at any time.
Benefits Need Proper IT Management
This new computing freedom must still be properly managed. For instance, without due care and attention, virtual machine “sprawl” can develop. VMs may be started and then left running if nobody remembers to stop them, racking up usage costs. IT service quality may suffer if service components are carelessly spread out between different locations and performance problems and breakdowns become harder to diagnose and fix. Proper IT management is, therefore, still a priority.
Are Hybridization and Hyper-Scaling for You?
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers a definition of a cloud that can help you decide if cloud hyper-scaling is right for your organization. If you can check the boxes for predictable pricing, unrestricted access (for authorized users), secure multi-tenancy, self-service an elasticity of supply, then cloud hyper-scaling may have a place on your shortlist. For hybridization, remember to assess possibilities for efficient data transfer and end-to-end security (see above). In both cases, proper needs analysis and design, careful vendor selection, and the implementation of suitable control mechanisms can help your organization make the most of these cloud computing possibilities.