Hybrid Cloud Computing is one of the hottest IT topics these days. Hybrid Cloud is when multiple cloud service providers and/or cloud deployment models are used by a single organization. The hybrid cloud model seeks to optimize performance and cost savings. An example of hybrid cloud computing would be an AWS Public Cloud client that also uses Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud for some workloads. Another hybrid cloud example would be when an organization deploys a public cloud solution for some of its applications and a private cloud solution for other workloads.
By adopting a Hybrid Cloud approach, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in and preserve flexibility to select the best performing and lowest cost service solution for a particular application. Hybrid Cloud Computing should make it possible to switch services to achieve the greatest possible savings.
Yet the ability to shift quickly from one cloud service to another to benefit from price variability is not practical for most organizations. Even if an “On Demand” Cloud service contract from Cloud Service Provider A can be replaced with a more competitive contract from Provider B, there are often complications that impose barriers to such frictionless redeployments.
Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others are waging an epic battle to increase their respective IaaS market shares. They each employ legions of marketing experts who seek to get and keep new clients. The cost of transferring software licenses between cloud service providers is a prime example of a competitive mechanism that Microsoft has employed. Egress fees associated with downloading data from a particular cloud service can also make the perceived value of moving to an alternate provider far less compelling. Finally, the technical resources needed to relocate workloads from one cloud service to another can be significant and can provide an impediment to making a change.
The Public Cloud vendors have also, in many cases, made it extremely difficult to compare the costs of various IaaS services. Though they all provide online calculators to help users estimate the cost of a particular configuration, there are many variables which make it difficult to make an apples to apples comparison. AWS and Microsoft have such extensive billing options that it often requires special expertise to determine the best deal. Google Cloud is generally recognized as having the most transparent billing of the major vendors but it still is challenging to compare costs versus the other providers.
Early adopters of Hybrid Cloud Computing have found utilizing colocation services can make it easier to evolve to the Hybrid Cloud model. By moving their servers from a corporate data center to an enterprise class colocation facility they benefit from superior connectivity options. Enterprise class colocation providers offer Carrier Neutral internet connectivity. Clients can take advantage of this networking flexibility to connect to Public Cloud Service Providers. This makes it possible to benchmark various options to determine the best solution for a particular workload before committing to a service. Other colocation benefits include superior power and environmental systems redundancy and better security. The colocation provider’s technical support team often can help guide clients as they seek to optimize operations via Hybrid Cloud Computing.