Businesses are increasingly moving to cloud technology for a variety of reasons, but it isn’t just any cloud technology. Businesses are taking a look at hybrid clouds. Hybrid clouds offer the advantage of the flexibility of the cloud without the risk of the cloud. So what is a hybrid cloud? A hybrid cloud is a combination of a public cloud and a private cloud. Some applications are put on the private cloud while others are stored in the public arena.
Companies that use hybrid clouds carefully look at their applications and decide whether to leave them in-house or place them in the public arena. They make this assessment using a variety of criteria and then decide which direction to move. There are many advantages to hybrid clouds that have caused companies to take another look at this technology and decide to move towards it. Here are a few of those reasons.
Simply put, cloud technology can save company money. The costs of storage, bandwidth and infrastructure can be overwhelming for a budget as the company grows. And for applications that support business processes that must be up always, the cost of failover systems and off-site locations can be so cost prohibitive that for some, the risk of downtime outweighs the cost of replication and business continuity. At least they think it does until that unforeseen disaster strikes. Sadly, many businesses don’t rethink their position until that disaster strikes, and by then it may be too late.
Companies that are forward thinking and have a good IT staff, soon realize that it doesn’t pay to be penny wise and pound foolish. In other words, a sound investment in IT up front, though expensive, can save far more than money in the future. Case in point, a power outage, you can recover in less than a day, but that takes your competitors a week, helps not only your business but your brand as well.
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Businesses that are still uneasy about public crowds can take small steps to move their applications over. In the evaluation you do to determine suitable candidates for moving, you will identify the applications and rate their sensitivity as well as their criticality for your business. Proceeding in this fashion allows you to first move the most vital yet least sensitive of your applications. Doing this allows you to test out the cloud provider for availability and ease of maintenance. You will also be able to determine what applications would not be candidates for the public cloud.
One critical application that is not overly sensitive is your phone. Cloud phones are increasingly popular these days because they offer more features than a traditional phone system yet also costs 40 percent less than a traditional PBX system. If you are a growing business, as you expand you may need to move your office. With a traditional phone service you will have to go through the trouble of setting up the telephone system infrastructure all over again. With a cloud based phone system, you take the system with you. In a disaster situation this is even more critical. Your building may be uninhabitable, but the cloud remains, and so does your business’s lifeline to its vendors, creditors, partners and customers.
Proper planning is crucial when moving to a cloud based hybrid system. Once you determine which applications will stay on a private cloud and which can safely move to a public cloud, you must then evaluate the cloud service you choose to go with. Proper evaluation can make or break your decision. You must determine that the cloud provider you choose is compatible with the technology and applications that you support. Once you find a technology that is compatible, moving from the cloud and back to your infrastructure will become a seamless process.
As your business grows, you accumulate more and more data. Much of this data is used for analysis and administration of your business and some of this data is historical and must be kept easily accessible due to the regulatory requirements of your industry. Most importantly, you must be able to analyze the large amounts of data that you have generated and this is where the cloud is particularly beneficial. You will have nearly unlimited capacity on the cloud and this will enable you to roll out new business solutions without the space constraints on a traditional network.
For businesses that are worldwide or who employ programmers both in-house and off-site, the cloud makes application development progress much more quickly than traditional network systems. Your programming teams can collaborate from wherever they happen to be and you will have the ability to deploy both test and development environments without the cost associated with the more traditional model. Upgrades can take place easily and can be used by any group, anywhere with simply one pass.