Robert Jenkins is the chief executive officer of CloudSigma.
Since the dawn of cloud computing, its appeal to businesses could be summed up in three words: scalability, availability and accessibility. But, cloud computing has been around for a while now, and like any other technology, we inevitably reach the point where people start asking what’s next. We live in an age where paradigm-shifting innovations are rolled out more often than at any other point in history. Consequently, businesses never stop looking for the next breakthrough that will launch the next generation of their product or service.
Scalability, availability and accessibility will always be the pillars upon which the cloud was built, but where is that next cost-efficiency upgrade coming from? The answer is not something altogether new, but rather an innovative way of bringing two existing cloud technologies (i.e. public and private) together to form the next great innovation: a hybrid cloud as one environment with private patching technology.
The hybrid cloud enables companies to develop public and private infrastructure strategies in concert, rather than in isolation. Private patching connects these separate cloud environments without the need for expensive public IP lines, offering a host of benefits, not the least of which are better data security and improved cost efficiencies. A hybrid cloud can combine the benefits of private and public clouds.
When companies consider purchasing public cloud resources today, they often don’t simultaneously reconsider their existing and future private infrastructure purchasing plans. But, those that do come to find out that by aligning private infrastructure purchasing and location plans with public cloud procurement they can unlock hidden value in terms of both business agility and cost savings in the neighborhood of 20 to 40 percent of their total previous costs.
Making the Connection
By eliminating the need for public IP lines, companies are able to connect their own private infrastructure directly to their private networking within their public cloud deployment and offer a totally private, IP-only solution at full-line speed with low latency.
If both environments are hosted in the same data center, the latency will be so low that a company can run computing agnostically between its private and public infrastructures. That’s a fancy way of saying that virtual machines can run and access computing seamlessly between the two environments; a very efficient way of cloud bursting.
If, on the other hand, the private and public infrastructures of a hybrid solution are in separate data centers, there will still be a significant improvement in latency over the public internet. Any and all data will be seamlessly and securely transferred between both environments, even in the case of backups if the company experiences unexpected downtime. It is this level of security that has been sorely lacking from traditional public cloud options, and has held at bay the countless businesses that would otherwise jump at the chance to enjoy the numerous benefits of public cloud environments.
Both of these options offer a better alternative to maintaining completely separate public and private clouds and then investing in costly and less-secure public IP lines. Companies stand to gain the most from housing their public and private clouds in the same data center, or at least in the same immediate area, as this will drastically reduce, or even eliminate in some instances, costly latency. This direct proximity is what makes private patching possible, so they can connect these separate cloud environments without needing public IP lines to do so.
In either scenario, the economics of hybrid cloud connections are pretty compelling. Companies pay a flat rate for the external private IP line or as low as $300 for a cross-connect within the same data center instead of burning up thousands of dollars in data transfer fees.
Networking-as-a-Service through Hybrid Cloud
Most private cloud deployments require external connectivity to serve any public-facing services and, usually, in a redundant fashion. Recent technology innovations around software-defined networking have made it possible for companies adopting a harmonized private-public colocated strategy to also transform their public connectivity costs. Instead of buying expensive and under-utilized public IP lines from carriers, companies can run a patch for their public IP connectivity to the public cloud and pay a simple per GB used cost while enjoying the benefits of redundant 10Gbps speeds offered by most public cloud providers, not to mention services like DDOS protection.
All of this typically costs about $300 for the cross-connect, plus $0.05 per GB transferred, compared to the several thousands of dollars a dedicated public IP line would cost. It is an order of magnitude improvement in efficiency compared with typical standalone private cloud deployments. The cost savings are even more significant when you account for the fact that utilization of such public IP lines is typically very low, while hybrid connections allow for much more diversified connectivity options than a standard public cloud provider can offer.
Beyond Just Connectivity
Harmonizing connectivity is clearly critical to creating a successful hybrid strategy, but harmonizing the running environment is just as important. As companies add public cloud procurement to their strategy going forward, adding another environment to test and manage can destroy many of the very benefits that the company is hoping to leverage. The solution is to use one of the next generation cloud providers that have the ability to mold to user requirements. The result is the ability for the customer to recreate their private environment within the public cloud and run one seamless deployment.
In this way, harmonizing private and public cloud deployments allows companies to reap the full benefits of adding a public cloud whilst avoiding the negative impact of multiple environments and additional connectivity costs.
Solving the Cloud Capacity Conundrum
Hybrid cloud solutions, particularly ones with high flexibility and private patching technology, uncover hidden value beyond the elimination of public IP lines. Historically, businesses have invested in far more private infrastructure capacity than they actually need on a day-to-day basis because they have to service peak capacity requirements, not average capacity requirements.
For example, an e-commerce business is likely to experience significant workload spikes around the holidays. So, in the past, they would over-invest in private infrastructure in order to be prepared for those spikes leaving that capacity unused for the rest of the year. However, with a hybrid cloud, they can keep those core capacity needs in-house and burst workloads directly to the public cloud as needed during those peak moments. The result is a higher utilization rate for the private infrastructure and another example of the cost efficiencies of the hybrid cloud.
Finally, public clouds are realizing the value of having customers colocated with them and are beginning to offer cross-subsidies on the hosting cost of private environments colocated with the public cloud. The fact that data center providers are also chipping in by offering low-cost access to ecosystems of customers and providers within their buildings is further strengthening this trend. The data centers themselves are doing what they can to help companies uncover long-hidden value through hybrid cloud solutions.
The New Cloud Economy
Next generation hybrid solutions and private patching technology are taking the best of what cloud has to offer and making it better. They’ve made it more convenient and effective for users, not to mention more affordable. Companies will be able to better rationalize the planning of their public and private infrastructures, thus reducing their total cost of ownership holistically across their total infrastructure budget and unleashing the ability benefits and elasticity that public cloud usage can bring.
In the new cloud economy, companies will find themselves developing better purchasing strategies, eliminating waste and uncovering major value they didn’t even know existed.
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