Hybrid cloud is gaining popularity among enterprises, as it leverages agile and cost-effective public cloud services and a combination of other dedicated resources to address security, latency and data sovereignty concerns. This best-of-both-worlds approach is seen as a practical cloud model for enterprise computing. In a survey conducted by Rightscale for its State of the Cloud Report 2016, hybrid cloud adoption grew from 58% in 2015 and reached 71% in 2016. Gartner predicted that, by 2019, the majority of virtual machines will be delivered by IaaS providers.
“Unless very small, most enterprises will continue to have an on-premises (or hosted) data center capability. But with most compute power moving to IaaS providers, enterprises and vendors need to focus on managing and leveraging the hybrid combination of on-premises, off-premises, cloud and non-cloud architectures,” noted Thomas Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Public clouds offer the promises and advantages of cost-effectiveness and scalability. The pay-as-you-go model also provided the flexibility without upfront capital investment and eliminated the uncertainty faced by today’s enterprises in meeting ad hoc demands.
Besides offering on-demand computing infrastructure in the form of a subscribed service, as public clouds mature, they now offer a number of handy tools and services (e.g. big data analytics, server-less micro services) that are becoming the future platform of choice for the more advanced application developers.
Despite all these benefits, the IaaS environments still lack private components and control, thus enterprises remain concern and hesitate to move their production workloads to the public clouds.
Another reason for such hesitation is the security and connectivity issue. So how does a secure hybrid cloud work?
Achieving secure and connected clouds
In order to provide a secure, low-latency connection to meet the application requirements, all the major cloud service providers offer a set of access points or gateways to which clients can connect directly without passing through the public Internet. Examples include Direct Connect from Amazon Web Services, ExpressRoute from Microsoft Azure, Cloud Interconnect from Google Cloud Platform, and Direct Link form Softlayer.
Connecting directly to these gateways allows enterprises to enjoy a direct connection with consistent performance between their private components and the public cloud providers, eliminating the security and latency challenges arising from the adoption of public cloud services.
Such direct connection is made possible by the local data centers from different cities hosting a co-located for the public cloud providers. These local data centers become the place where enterprises can securely and expediently access the cloud infrastructure, which may or may not reside in the same physical location. One of the examples in Hong Kong is the AWS Direct Connect Gateway.