According to RightScale’s most recent State of the Cloud survey, 96 percent of organizations now use the cloud in some form or fashion. However, most also remain fully committed to keeping some mission-critical workloads on-premises. That’s why hybrid cloud is widely viewed as the logical end game for most organizations.
As the name implies, a hybrid cloud orchestrates a mix of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises services. In a 2018 Microsoft survey of 1,700 IT pros and managers, 67 percent said they are now using or planning to deploy a hybrid cloud. More than half said they had made the move within the previous two years.
With different workloads running in different environments, organizations have to make sure that everything is properly aligned with storage. That’s why a hybrid cloud strategy also requires a hybrid cloud storage strategy. In the Microsoft survey, 71 percent said the top use case for hybrid cloud is to control where important data is stored.
Hybrid storage solutions support block, file and object storage. A policy engine decides whether data should be stored on-premises or in a public or private cloud. Hybrid cloud storage is often used to enable “cloud bursting” for specific workloads that run in-house most of the time but may periodically require the added capacity of a public cloud.
A hybrid storage platform allows organizations to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the cloud while maintaining the control of on-premises data storage. Resources are integrated so data can move between platforms as needed to optimize cost, performance and data protection. For example, data that is frequently accessed may be stored on-premises until it becomes inactive. At that point, it is automatically moved to a cloud storage tier for archival.
The availability of a widely accepted interface makes hybrid cloud storage feasible. The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) API has become the de facto standard in cloud storage, as well as a number of object storage platforms. Storage managers can use a common set of tools and view on-premises and cloud resources as a single pool of storage.
The integration of on-premises storage with one or more cloud platforms creates unprecedented scalability and efficiency in the face of rapid data growth. The hybrid model reduces data silos and simplifies management with a single namespace and a single view — no matter where the data originated or where it resides. Further, the ability to mix and match capacity across platforms opens up a range of deployment options. Here are four valuable use cases:
Disaster recovery. Syncing, tiering and backing up data to the public cloud can enable immediate data availability in the event of a disaster. It can also limit your exposure by shrinking your on-premises storage footprint.
File sharing. By enabling logically consistent access to shared file resources, hybrid storage makes it easier to share large files among dispersed locations.
Primary storage. Hybrid combines the security and performance of an on-premises solution with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud while encrypting data flows from one site to the other.
Analytics. With hybrid storage, you can run transactional workloads onsite or in a private cloud, but then extract that data and load it into a public cloud for analysis.
Storage has always been one of the more logical use cases for the cloud. By some accounts, more than half of all data now being created is flowing into the cloud. According to Enterprise Storage Forum’s 2018 Data Storage Trends survey, cloud storage has now surpassed the hard drive as the top budget line item in IT storage spending.
Is hybrid cloud storage right for your organization? Our solution architects can work with you to assess your current environment and determine if a hybrid approach meets your business requirements.