By Lancelot Guo, President, Ecosystem and Sales Operations, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence
As the world continues to work relentlessly to ensure business continuity amid the disruption of the pandemic, the rapid pace of digitalisation and the contribution of cloud technology in sustaining organisations big and small cannot be underestimated.
Retail brands with only a brick-and-mortar presence prior to the pandemic have been going online and offering omnichannel experiences to keep up with the dynamic demands of today’s digital-first consumers for convenience and speed. Likewise, F&B stalls and hawkers are leveraging online channels and solutions to maintain their razor-thin margins.
The hybrid cloud is flying high. Mordor Intelligence, a global market research and consulting firm, projected that the market value of the hybrid cloud infrastructure in 2025 would be in the realm of US$128.01 billion. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 18.73 percent from its US$45.70 billion market value in 2019.
This growing demand for hybrid cloud solutions is driven by a range of factors. As mentioned earlier, rapid digitalisation has increased market competition to a point where it’s not enough for a company to simply deploy its resources in the cloud. Now, companies need a more effective and efficient cloud-based solution that puts the customer first through providing seamless scalability and adaptability. Cutting-edge tech such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also pushing demand for cloud-edge solutions and data driven intelligence, helping ambitious organisations meet the needs of today’s increasingly dynamic and digitalised marketplace.
In our digital world, it will only become more critical for organisations to keep their momentum going through choosing hybrid cloud solutions to recover and grow. However, a hybrid cloud is a complex entity that requires careful planning, management and optimisation.
What is the Hybrid Cloud?
A hybrid cloud is a solution that combines a private cloud with one or more public cloud services, with proprietary software enabling communication between each distinct service. Usually an on-premise solution, it addresses the challenges and limitations of both the public and private cloud, and integrates the advantages of both traditional models. While every hybrid cloud deployment is different, each one provides the agility, elasticity, and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud, without compromising on the private cloud’s robust data security offer.
As mentioned above, hybrid clouds are by their very nature, diverse entities that combine the best elements of the public and private cloud. While this diversity provides organisations with an unprecedented level of flexibility that allows them to customise their deployment to meet exact business needs, it also introduces a high level of complexity. Through understanding the challenges associated with a hybrid cloud implementation, companies can manage this complexity and make smart choices – allowing them to strategise and decide on the best hybrid solution for their needs. As such, they may want to consider:
- Compatibility: Many organisations use a mix of private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. With multiple infrastructures, the incompatibility of tools and processes may lead to service issues and a poor end user experience.
- Security: With a hybrid cloud solution, an organisation’s corporate data moves between and is accessed across multiple platforms. This high data mobility and platform diversity increases risk, requiring the organisation to put specific policies and procedures in place to address any potential vulnerabilities.
- Compliance: With ever-changing governmental and industrial regulations, compliance is a complex undertaking for online applications and datasets. This complexity is exacerbated for a hybrid cloud deployment, where a company must ensure every element conforms within the regions they operate in.
Some of the benefits of the Hybrid Cloud
The hybrid cloud has many benefits for its users, including simplifying system expansion processes, improving development efforts and increasing profits. Here are some of the other advantages:
- Security: Protecting valuable data is always a challenge in network-enabled applications, but this is especially true of public clouds. With a hybrid cloud model, however, companies can enjoy the best of both worlds – leverage the security of a private cloud as well as the power and services of a public cloud.
- Scalability: Critical data, assets, and operations can continue to reside in the private cloud, but organisations can now utilise the expansive power of cloud computing to increase their operating capacity quickly and efficiently.
- Superior employee experience: Staff can easily share and schedule their large-scale data responsibilities, while seamlessly managing their hybrid cloud deployment.
- Agility to adapt to customer needs: Organisations can adapt their services and scale to seamlessly improve the end user experience through choosing the hybrid cloud.
- Cost-efficiency: Keeping overheads low is always a priority for organisations, especially SMEs. Requiring lower capital expenditure upfront, but giving companies the option of buying IT resources as needed, hybrid cloud keeps companies nimble and responsive.
At the end of the day, organisations large and small, require a hybrid cloud infrastructure as well as a proper hybrid cloud strategy to truly grow – the strategy must be one that can deliver high performance, and secure cloud workloads, while ensuring consistent operations and access to vibrant business ecosystems. In addition, the strategy also needs to support business innovation and growth without concerns about the compatibility with existing infrastructure.
Companies should understand that businesses are on their own personal cloud journeys and no journey is identical. They need to select the right cloud service provider that is able to effectively bridge the operational needs of their business, without sacrificing security.
As organisations advance in an increasingly digital world, they should consider adopting hybrid cloud solutions to protect their business-critical applications. In addition to reducing operational expenses, these solutions ensure a smooth working experience for employees whether they are at home or in the office.