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Web hosting has seen some serious innovation in recent years. Since the advent of cloud computing and cloud based web applications such as Dropbox and Quickbooks taking hold, cloud hosting solutions have seen a surge in popularity as large scale enterprises have noticed the advantages of cloud hosting can bring to their industries.

hybrid cloud advantagesImage Source – Kaushik Panchal (CC License)

So what is Hybrid Cloud?

Simply put, hybrid cloud is a combination of private cloud servers and public-based servers, the accessibility of which is integrated into one computing platform (or in this case, hosting platform).

By having parallel cloud networks accessible through the same architecture, businesses have the ability to utilise the benefits of both, including faster data transfer and increased privacy. This means that hybrid users have the ability to develop applications and process information securely over the private cloud network, whilst concurrently utilising the cloud network for more benign tasks such as sharing large amounts of resources and hosting publicly available data.

However, one cannot simply plug any old server into a public cloud network and call it a hybrid. There must be a cloud management platform in place in order to configure the network appropriately and protect the private cloud network from internet marauders.

What is it used for?

Hybrid networks are generally used by larger scale businesses, as they generally offer more flexibility, scalability and security over other types of hosting, whilst also being able to perform in ways that cloud and traditional hosting can’t.

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Image Credit – Matt Jones (CC License)

 Some major hybrid cloud advantages include:
  • Increased data speeds – hybrid networks can be configured to push essential data through private servers instead of public ones, greatly improving load times and data transfer speeds.
  • Improved security – Sensitive data can be secured on private servers with many layers of encryption that can only be accessed in house, whilst non-sensitive and publicly-accessible data and applications can be accessed through a public server.
  • Decreased spending – Utilising the public cloud for applications that don’t require security is likely to be more economical in the long run.

Hybrid hosting also allows you the added advantage of being able to shift resource heavy processes through a separate private or public cloud network, greatly improving local network operations.

How does it differ from standard cloud hosting?

Recently, the lines between public and private clouds have been blurring as public cloud providers are beginning to offer private services and vice versa. However, hybrid cloud is essentially a private cloud network with the added convenience of being able to connect in some way (either simultaneously or consecutively) with a public cloud network. The private cloud network featured in the hybrid cloud is often located and managed by the hosting company in question, (although the business can manage their own virtual cloud network,) whereas the public cloud is accessed via the internet, whose servers can be located anywhere in the world.

Hybrid cloud networks still suffer with the same accessibility and security problems that affect it’s peers. However, the fact that administrators have greater control over the public and private aspects of the hybrid cloud platform, do make it a preferred option when access to both public and private cloud networks are required.

Hybrid cloud advantages for businesses

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So you’re thinking of migrating your business over to hybrid cloud hosting and wondering whether you really need it? The good news is that you don’t need to own a large scale enterprise with thousands of employees in order to receive the benefits that hybrid hosting has to offer. Hybrid cloud hosting can benefit your business if:

1. You develop web based applications

If you regularly develop web based applications, the chances are you could greatly benefit from hybrid cloud hosting with the ability to develop your programs in a secure environment, with all the speed and data storage required to scale up your operations.

2. You have a large client base

If your company handles a large client base, a hybrid cloud network would be ideal for storing your client data on a private server, whilst having a public cloud network available to your clients to access project plans & collaborative data.

3. You’re expanding and need a scalable hosting solution

Naturally, a fast growing business requires web hosting that is both flexible and scalable and in the case of a rapidly expanding business, can adequately meet their needs. Hybrid cloud hosting caters to these needs by being able to scale up or down to meet demands in traffic and data storage. Essentially this saves you money as you only pay for what you use whilst at the same time offering reliability to your customers.

Are there any drawbacks or limitations?

Naturally, hybrid cloud networks are subject to many of the same issues that affect private cloud, public cloud and dedicated hosting, as well as having a more complicated platform to get to grips with.

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Some of the most common disadvantages of hybrid cloud networks include:

  • Dependency
    being dependent on just one network of servers is risky in case of downtime (especially so for larger businesses with high demand for their services). In this case, it is advised to create redundancy procedures across multiple cloud services in order to reduce this risk. Obviously, this is a costly venture, though potentially more costly if paying customers can’t access your services, so redundancy is usually an option for larger businesses with a greater budget.
  • Compliance
    Both parties must ensure that all services in use are in line with the company’s security policy, in order to protect the business’s data and assets against any misdemeanours.
  • Network complexities
    Hybrid cloud platforms are credited with fluent data transfer between public and private networks and ultimately, this is greeted with a complex system architecture, which requires a mature approach to management & maintenance. Depending on the size and scale of the system, a calculated knowledge of the security and technical aspects of the system is required in order to avoid technical errors and security mishaps.

Adopting a hybrid cloud service for your business can indeed be an effective strategy for a fast growing company with both security and scalability in mind, though it is important to thoroughly research the advantages and disadvantages a hybrid platform may offer before committing to the change.

It is important to ascertain exactly how exactly a hybrid hosting solution will affect each aspect of your business currently, as well as any potential services or applications you plan to develop in the future.

If you want find out more about hybrid cloud advantages for businesses and if they are right for you, get in contact with one of our friendly team today.

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