The emergence of cloud computing has created a unique challenge for CIOs. On the one hand, there is a pervasive sense of urgency to adopt the newest and most advanced cloud technologies to increase cost savings and operational efficiency. On the other hand, CIOs must efficiently leverage IT assets already in place in order to control costs.
One emerging solution to this challenge for CIOs is the hybrid cloud. The hybrid cloud model merges private cloud technologies with public cloud services. Using the hybrid cloud model, businesses store important data and applications in a private cloud, while using public clouds as repositories for non-proprietary information. Though the hybrid cloud approach requires careful planning, it offers a flexible solution with benefits that are hard to beat.
Breaking Down the Hybrid Cloud Model
Today, most enterprises have three distinct types of IT assets:
- Private servers
- Data and applications stored on private clouds
- Internet-based public cloud resources
Traditionally, these three assets have been deployed in a mutually exclusive manner. The hybrid cloud model turns that approach on its head, merging these assets together to create a new type of optimized system.
For an example of how the hybrid cloud model can be deployed, consider a situation in which a business has been using a proprietary ERP system for decades. That ERP system is essential to the company’s day-to-day operations, but it runs on outdated private server infrastructure.
Before the hybrid cloud model emerged as an alternative, the only choice the company would have was to move the ERP system over to a private cloud, a big risk. By simultaneously deploying multiple IT assets, businesses can save money and maximize existing investments without the risk of system downtime.
Merging the Private and the Public
Prior to the initial appearance of cloud technologies in the late 1990s, the continued growth of the traditional corporate data center meant more and more physical resources were being consumed by data. The emergence of private clouds provided some relief, but there was still a need for technology testing and development infrastructure that didn’t deeply tax company-owned resources.
The public cloud offered a solution, providing businesses with limitless access to storage, testing, and development capabilities. As long as internal personnel knew exactly which data was being stored privately and which publicly, the cost effectiveness of the private-public hybrid model became too alluring to overlook.
Returns on Cloud Investments
In 2013, IBM conducted a comprehensive survey of more than 800 businesses, comparing the revenue and profit growth of those that made heavy investments in cloud infrastructure to those that did not. The research yielded some surprising findings.
The survey found that companies with extensive cloud computing investments had revenue growth rates nearly twice that of companies with lower cloud adoption rates. Similarly, companies that embraced the cloud saw their gross profits grow at about 2.5 times the rate of reluctant competitors.
Clearly, the cloud has a great deal to offer businesses of all sizes, and the emergence of the hybrid cloud means that companies no longer have to be “all in” or “all out.” Companies that have made heavy investments in finite internal IT infrastructure now have a much easier route to the cloud. The hybrid cloud solution, which holds the potential to boost the health of fundamental key performance indicators.