When cloud storage is becoming common and more and more organizations are shifting towards it, they have also realized that public cloud services are not enough to address all data problems. They are now thinking of a balanced tactic towards workload and storage management where both public cloud and on-premises data storage are interlinked. In short, the era of the hybrid cloud model is on the rise. In this blog, we will discuss in-depth what is hybrid cloud storage and the benefits associated with it.
What is Hybrid Cloud Storage?
Hybrid cloud storage is a multi cloud environment that utilizes a mix of public and private clouds with interconnection among them. It mostly comprises a connection from an on-premises data center to a public cloud. A hybrid cloud solution provides greater flexibility to an organization to move the workloads between cloud solutions when costs and needs fluctuate.
A hybrid cloud unifies and combines on-premises data, public cloud, and private cloud to set up a single, cost-effective, and flexible IT infrastructure. It allows organizations to keep sensitive data on-premises, while storing most of the other data on the cloud.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Storage
The unified IT infrastructure with Hybrid cloud storage provides many benefits to organizations that aren’t possible with just having single public or private cloud storage. Following are some of the key benefits of having hybrid cloud storage:
In a public cloud or on-premises storage, an organization owns and runs the infrastructure of the data center. This implies that it demands significant capital allocation. In a public cloud, the infrastructure of the data center is not an issue for the organization, as the public cloud service provider is responsible for it. So, it is a cost-effective approach. With hybrid cloud infrastructures, an organization gets the flexibility to deploy on-premises storage systems and get the subscription of public cloud based on the needs. Thereby, bringing much-enhanced cost management.
With hybrid cloud, an organization can have the flexibility of using both on-premises data centers and public cloud storage services without making any complete commitment to a vendor. Hybrid cloud storage will let organizations move data and workloads to and from on-premises and public cloud storage based on business needs.
Hybrid cloud helps to enhance disaster recovery, as organizations can replicate the on-premises data to the cloud. This way, there will be at minimum two copies of your business crucial data. So, in case the data center gets some severe malfunction or attack, then the cloud backup can be restored. But such implementations should be managed properly to avoid challenges associated with hybrid cloud backup, such as management complexity, bandwidth consumption, etc.
Hybrid cloud environment provides more storage resources to organizations. They not only have an on-premises data center, but the access to public cloud storage also increases the scalability of data storage. So, in case more storage is needed and the capacity is not controllable under the local data center, then it can quickly be compensated by purchasing more storage from the public cloud storage vendor.
Depending on your business location, there can be compliance regulations related to data protection, storage location of sensitive data, etc. Usually, it is not considered a preferred choice to store sensitive data in a third-party cloud platform. Hybrid cloud infrastructure helps to fulfill compliance regulations such that sensitive data and applications can be retained in the local data center while the other workloads can be operated via the public cloud. So, organizations can effectively follow regulations, while also facilitate with the benefits of the cloud.
Challenges of Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud is quite fruitful for organizations, as it let them utilize both traditional and modern ways of data storage. However, there are some challenges associated with hybrid cloud, as follow:
- Skills Gap: Hybrid cloud strategies adoption requires IT staff and users to hold some technical skill sets to effectively manage workload in on-premises and cloud resources. The skills required to handle public cloud are somewhat different from those required for the on-premises data center. Therefore, the skills gap can cause human errors and increase the chances of any data breach by cyber-attackers.
- Data Handling: Hybrid cloud computing can become a security risk or increase the cost associated with it if the data is not properly handled. An organization should have a clear policy for what data will be in the public cloud and what data will remain on-premises. Similarly, secure transfer of data along with encryption is also key aspects of data handling where most of the organization don’t pay attention.
- On-Premises Cost: A hybrid cloud system involves an on-premises data center, which means it will involve plenty of investment, skillset requirements, maintenance cost, and similar other requirements. Similarly, employees’ training, efficient data handling, and security add up to the cost associated with it. If an organization can afford such expenses, then hybrid cloud presents as ideal cloud storage and data backup approach. But if an organization cannot afford such expenses, then using only a reliable public cloud service can still deliver promising performance.
- Access-related Security Issues: Hybrid cloud deployments involve both on-premises and public cloud storage, so the authorization and authentication of data is another challenge associated with it. Limited employees and users should be given access to data and they should have access to only specific data they need. Practicing identity and access management (IAM) and single sign-on tools can further help organizations to have efficient hybrid cloud access management.
Hybrid cloud storage presents as a modern data storage method for organizations. If an organization is concerned with data security in public clouds but still wants to utilize the benefits of public cloud for cost savings, then hybrid cloud storage presents as an ideal choice. The on-premises storage can be used as a storage point for sensitive data, while the public cloud storage can be utilized for other data storage and workload management.