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This year's best advice on building, managing the hybrid cloud model

While debate rages about privacy, cost and security issues of cloud computing, many IT pros agree the hybrid cloud model offers the best balance of cloud benefits and risks.

The most recent TechTarget Cloud Pulse Survey found that 39% of companies using cloud computing deploy a hybrid cloud -- compared to 22% with private cloud and on par with 40% that use public cloud. But we're still at the beginning of understanding how to best build and manage hybrid clouds. Cloud experts this year doled out advice for those looking into the hybrid cloud model.

5. Managing the hybrid cloud model

Building an effective hybrid cloud means matching the best fit of public cloud services to your private cloud or vice versa. However, no matter how much your company plans, there will never be a perfect match, and the greater the differences among your cloud choices, the harder it is to manage a hybrid cloud. The good news, according to cloud expert Mark Szynaka, is that increasing interest in the hybrid cloud model means that management technologies will mature.

"The days of the 'DevOps cloud cowboys' will fade into the sunset as the enterprise IT departments lock down data according to enterprise-grade management best practices," Szynaka said, and he let companies into facets of these best practices.

4. What cloud bursting and disaster recovery mean for hybrid cloud

Enterprise IT often will shell out big money for cloud bursting and disaster recovery. And a hybrid cloud model provides a perfect opportunity to deploy both strategies in combination. Cloud bursting allows a company to spin up additional resources -- or burst -- into a public cloud from a private cloud or data center when compute capacity is needed. Disaster recovery, or failover, involves storing copies of a company's data in a separate place for security and outage protection. A hybrid cloud allows for both -- and it may be the ideal model to use them both to their potential, according to cloud expert Tom Nolle.

3. Hybrid cloud architecture is end goal for IT in public-private debate

IT pros are prone to debating the merits of public cloud versus private cloud. Public cloud offers scalability and flexibility and frees IT admins from repetitive or manual tasks. Private cloud gives enterprises security and control. They're both right, according to BMC Software's Chief Technology Officer Kia Behnia, as told to Beth Pariseau. Hybrid cloud, he said, is an enterprise destination -- not just a stop along the way.

2. Making a hybrid cloud model a reality in enterprise IT

If, as Behina said, hybrid cloud is the destination of enterprise IT, how can we make that a reality? David Linthicum, senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners, outlines how enterprises can marry public clouds and private clouds in production environments. However, as Linthicum argues, it's hard to find true hybrid clouds in companies today.

"The ability to automatically migrate between private and public clouds is the promise, but that technology is emerging and comes with some trade-offs, " said Linthicum. "Perhaps this is why we don't see much hybrid cloud computing -- but we do see the promise."

1. Fundamentals of the hybrid cloud computing model

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the basics. Cloud experts can discuss how to manage a hybrid cloud, use it to its fullest potential or use other strategies, but many enterprises are still at the starting line. What those enterprises are looking for are the fundamentals. Szynaka starts at the beginning -- delving into the security, connectivity and portability features of the hybrid cloud model.


This was first published in December 2013

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