Companies have become dependent on the cloud to handle their data storage. Public storage has offered companies much agility for storing their data, while private cloud architectures have provided a better option for companies needing to gain an advantage in protecting their data sovereignty.
As the terms suggest, public clouds rely on shared infrastructure, while private clouds rely on the infrastructure provided by their respective enterprises. A relatively new approach for storing data, however, has been to use hybrid storage (or a combination of public and private clouds) as an alternative way to gain a competitive advantage.
Does the hybrid cloud truly represent the best of both worlds? To answer this question, we’ll discuss the primary advantages to both the public and private cloud systems. Then we’ll dive into the specifics of what the hybrid cloud is and how it can ensure companies in tightly regulated industries can enjoy both security and flexibility when it comes to data storage
Public Cloud Storage
Public clouds, by far, are the most common cloud storage deployment method. In a public cloud architecture, the servers and storage space are built and operated by a third-party service provider who offers the ability to store data as a service online. This means that individuals and organizations alike all access and share the storage space online via their accounts.
The public cloud has offered numerous advantages, which it’s why it’s proven to, thus far, be the longest lasting and most successful cloud storage system there is. Perhaps the single biggest advantage the public cloud offers is the fact that, because there is not a need to purchase software or hardware, it is much more cost efficient for users. You only have to pay for the service, usually in the form of a monthly or annual fee.
Additionally, all maintenance, security, and upgrades are performed by the service provider. This means that individual users or smaller businesses who possess less resources can minimize the time (and cash) spent on data storage and IT operations.
While it’s easy to see why the public cloud has found favor with many companies all over the world, some have reservations about the security of their data when stored in a public server, and especially in an era where security breaches have risen. Companies with these reservations usually turn to private cloud storage as an alternative solution.
Private Cloud Storage
While the concept behind private cloud storage is not very much different from its public cloud alternative, the actual method of implementation is much different: with a private cloud system, all data is stored at an in-house storage server. No resources are shared by different users or companies from around the world. A good way to think about private cloud storage is as an extension of a traditional data center, only where all data is stored and processed on a remote online server.
Private clouds give companies more control over their resources to meet unique IT requirements and ensure that resources can never be shared with others for a greater degree of privacy. But they also are much more expensive to set up and maintain, not to mention they lack the inherent scalability of a public cloud storage system as well.
Enterprise and governmental requirements for data storage are constantly changing, which means that for some enterprises, it’s simply become impractical to rely on either public or private cloud storage.
For many of these enterprises, hybrid cloud storage has offered a solution.
Hybrid Cloud Storage: The Best of Both Worlds?
Hybrid cloud storage combines public cloud servers with an on-premise private cloud infrastructure. This is accomplished by allowing data to be transferred seamlessly between the two architectures.
The hybrid cloud has also evolved to involve edge computing as well, by bringing the cloud to IoT devices where the data is actually being held. This means that less time with the devices is spent communicating with the cloud, which reduces latency and helps streamline operation.
Many companies are in a situation where they need to protect highly sensitive data and also stay in compliance with major privacy regulations such as the GDPR. At the same time, many of those companies are also not ready to transition away from the flexibility and convenience afforded by the public cloud.
With a hybrid cloud deployment, organizations can more easily scale up their on-premise infrastructure by allowing public cloud servers to handle data overflow while also ensuring that the more sensitive data is not shared with third-party data centers.
It’s also worth noting that many companies who migrate to a public cloud system often do so through a hybrid cloud approach, by first migrating their data and front end applications that are the least sensitive while processing more sensitive information via on-premise servers.
The hybrid cloud architecture may represent the best approach for companies working with highly sensitive data, such as organizations in the finance, banking, and healthcare industries. This is because these industries are more tightly regulated, with the more sensitive data actually being required to be stored on an on-premise solution.
Meanwhile, the less sensitive data not subject to the same regulations can be stored in the public cloud, which can give those same organizations much flexibility.