Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Can Hybrid Computing Enhance your Operations?

Though the reliability and efficiency of cloud based applications have seen significant improvements in recent years, they are not necessarily the cumulative solution for every business. The cloud has its drawbacks. A hybrid computing model will still need to be strategically crafted for the individual needs of your business to ensure IT efficiently supports business growth and productivity.

[Wayne Jones] Aaah the evasive 'cloud computing' model. Everyone has their own version of what they think 'cloud computing' really is and does.

Some people we speak to, think that the cloud is simply a question of computing at someone else’s data centre, while others agree that cloud computing is a sophisticated infrastructure platform -  powered by software that can automatically scale a growing number of workloads on-demand.

Neither of these are entirely incorrect and have been the reason why cloud computing is so often

attractive to businesses. Whether for solely the economic appeal of a minimal commitment, or the unlimited scalability of a solution that incurs cost based on usage alone, businesses of all sizes stand to benefit from the attributes of cloud computing.

Our question is this however: Is cloud computing really suited to your business needs and is it something that requires planning before we jump on the bandwagon and get in on the cloud computing act? Or will the hybrid computing model which combines both cloud and on premise based applications and storage solutions be more suitable?

The Problems with Cloud Computing

While we cannot extol the benefits of cloud computing enough - there are drawbacks that businesses need to be aware of. It needs to be noted here that the considerations below are constantly changing as technology evolves.

Security - applications with advanced security needs are currently best served over local or on premise platforms.

Compliance - until the cloud has evolved locally and internationally, enough to allow for set standards to be applied to applications, most data that is governed by industry compliance standards is best secured on premise.

Cost - access to internet services remains costly in South Africa although data pricing is reducing virtually by the month. Until data pricing is more affordable, small to medium size businesses may find the cost of working and storing data in the cloud untenable.

Reliability - while we have seen massive improvements in recent years, South Africa remains troubled by periodically unstable internet access. For companies who rely on consistent access to data, serving critical applications in the cloud may require careful consideration for still some time.

Strategy first.

Any company with an internal data centre that wishes to leverage a cloud platform as a hybrid compliment, can establish a hybrid computing approach.

However trying to determine when to use public cloud vs. private cloud vs. traditional hosting can be confusing and complicated. It's a conversation we’re used to having with our customers.

But IT is no longer a separate silo within the business. Rather in today's technologically driven world, IT both drives the success of a business. So to help our customers steer their operations in the most productive, yet cost effective direction, we ask them to look at a few considerations, some of which include the importance of flexibility within the business, how the cost of doing business fits within their pricing models and where computing fits into their workflow.

By identifying the core needs of the business, as well as the projected future goals of the business, it is possible to develop a solid IT strategy that maximises the cost efficiency of the technologies used, as well as enables work to be done quicker and easier.

The question is not whether to move to the cloud or not, but rather how to develop a practical hybrid computing model that will most efficiently serve the needs to the business.

Where is the Hybrid Computing Model headed?

A unified solution

Utilizing the hybrid model of both cloud and on premise computing, two separate sets of applications are currently needed that integrate these two otherwise disparate computing platforms.
In the near future however, a single application will be able to leverage both infrastructure platforms as dictated by user traffic. We will keep you up-to-date on that.

Enhanced disaster recovery

With the ever increasing requirement for solid disaster recovery solutions, Hybrid Computing is being evolved in such a way that it forms not only part of the daily production environment, but is also an integral part of the disaster recovery mechanism. This is truly revolutionary as it enables systems to fail over into either the cloud or to on-premise based on where the failure occurred.

While cloud computing platforms will without doubt, one day accomplish all application needs, until they do, we recommend a regularly evaluated hybrid application hosting, or hybrid computing approach and a solid IT strategy that has been designed to achieve quantifiable results. 

Over to you

What have your experiences been with cloud based applications? Do you have a hybrid computing model in place and is it working for you? We would love to hear your views.

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