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What Is Hybrid Cloud?

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The term hybrid cloud is a computing environment that utilises a mix of cloud solutions to deliver enterprise IT infrastructure.  In a hybrid cloud deployment a company could use a mix of private cloud services (virtual machines) utilising hypervisor platforms such as VMware that are hosted within a private datacenter, cloud storage services, SAAS (Software As A Service) and public cloud providers from the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud to deliver an organisations overall IT strategy and computing resources.

The Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

With more IT services moving from on premises infrastructure to the cloud the main benefits of a Hybrid Cloud is to support a company’s digital transformation strategy in order that they can benefit from the wide range of private and public cloud services on offer.  A hybrid cloud strategy can also benefit companies with cost savings as they can optimize and choose the right solutions for business needs and workloads maximising return on IT investment.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture also delivers scalability through the use of public cloud infrastructure.  It is easy to increase compute resources for seasonal changes in workloads or the deployment of new apps and at the same time decrease your usage if business needs change.

What is a Private cloud?

A private cloud typically refers to the use of underlying compute infrastructure coupled with a Virtualization platform (VMWare, Hyper-V or an open source virtualization platform such as KVM or OpenStack) that is dedicated to a single customer and hosted within a Data Center. No other customer will have access to this platform or share the infrastructure.

What is a Public Cloud?

A public cloud is a cloud infrastructure that again uses compute infrastructure with a hypervisor however, in a public cloud the underlying infrastructure is shared with other customers with each customer securely segmented across the infrastructure and virtualization platform from one another.  Public clouds offer additional features built in to each cloud computing platform such as cloud security services, API’s (Application Programming Interfaces), disaster recovery, management tools and orchestration technology.

What is SaaS?

SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a cloud based software platform that is typically charged on a per user per month basis.  Examples of SaaS platforms are Salesforce, O365 and Xero Accounts. 

What is the difference between Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud?

Multicloud refers to the use of multiple public cloud environments where Hybrid Cloud refers to the use of public clouds, private clouds, and SaaS.

How do you connect to a Hybrid Cloud Securely?

Because a Hybrid Cloud is a mix of Public Cloud and Private Cloud infrastructure, secure connectivity is usually delivered via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection or can also be delivered by a private layer2 connection to the public or private service providers network. In the case of Amazon a private connection is obtained by the AWS Private Link service and with Microsoft Azure via the Microsoft Express route service.  Both public cloud providers also support IPSEC Site to Site VPN connectivity directly from their Cloud Orchestration platforms to tunnel securely over the public Internet.

We are however now seeing a rise in SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Networking) to connect a Hybrid Cloud in to a secure wide area network.  SD-WAN allows for automation and orchestration of the Wide Area Network delivering zero trust security and application performance to your cloud resources and sensitive data from your on premises infrastructure.  For further information on the benefits of SD-WAN visit our SD-WAN page.

How do you secure a Hybrid Cloud?

With a Hybrid Cloud environment it is important to understand the security threat landscape against your entire network.  With a private cloud environment you will need to deploy hardware firewalls to protect your overall cloud platform with the potential to segment and virtualize a cloud firewall to protect your individual resources and virtual machines.

With a public cloud infrastructure straight out of the box you will have security built in to the public cloud providers network which is configurable via the providers cloud gui however, this may not give you the interoperability you require as it ends up with different firewall technology stack for each cloud environment. Again this is why deploying an SD-WAN firewall will allow you to have end to end interoperability as your entire firewall estate can be deployed using the same vendor.  Most SD-WAN and firewall vendors (Juniper, Cisco, FortiGate, Palo Alto, SonicWALL) now allow for the underlying Firewall operating system to be virtualized, this allows you to spin up the same Firewall technology on your private cloud and your public cloud.

How is Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Managed?

Hybrid Cloud management requires the use of a mix of Orchestration platforms, Hypervisors and API’s depending on the cloud technologies deployed.  On premises data center private cloud environments will typically use the Hypervisor to manage the infrastructure such as VMWare Vcenter where public clouds such as Microsoft Azure and  AWS have their own web based gui.

There are Hybrid Cloud management systems available that will interface and API in to all of your hybrid cloud environments such as ONAPP and Stream Networks deploy hybrid cloud computing environments to support our cloud customers.

Is Hybrid Cloud right for your business?

Using a hybrid cloud model is now par for the course for most business. The benefits of building new applications quickly and efficiently that support a business’s digital transformation is essential to today’s modern enterprise. Making Hybrid Cloud work can though be challenging, being able to secure, and deploy digital solutions than encompass your server premises environment, private cloud, public cloud and SaaS applications does require time and support to ensure you get the best environment for your needs.

If you would like to find out how Stream Networks can support your Hybrid Cloud deployment please use the contact form below or contact us by telephone on 01635 884170 or by email to sales@stream-networks.co.uk

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