The cloud plays a vital infrastructure role for many organizations, offering capabilities that are difficult to achieve with bare metal hardware. But bare metal hardware has its own unique set of capabilities that are hard to match in the cloud. Colocated hardware provides the control, performance, and privacy that many organizations require. Each modality has capabilities that organizations need, which is why many companies embrace hybridity, creating platforms that combine the best of colocated hardware and public cloud platforms.
As we’ve discussed in several articles on this blog, colocation is the optimal hosting modality for established companies with the expertise to manage their own servers.
Colocation gives organizations the freedom to deploy hardware in an enterprise-class data center at a fraction of the cost of building and managing a data center in-house. Unlike public cloud platforms, colocated hardware is entirely controlled by the organization that owns it — a key motivator when sensitive data and regulatory requirements are involved.
Public cloud platforms allow organizations to deploy and scale servers on shorter timeframes than would be possible with dedicated servers. Cloud servers can be deployed to meet immediate needs and discarded afterwards. The management of the underlying hardware is handled by the cloud vendor.
Although managing servers on the cloud demands equivalent levels of expertise to managing colocated servers, the agility engendered by cloud platforms allows businesses to automate, to experiment, and to innovate at a rapid pace.
Why Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid cloud platforms blend the advantages of public clouds, private clouds and colocated dedicated servers. Hybrid clouds empower organizations to locate workloads on whichever platform is most suitable. Workloads that demand high-performance or impeccable security and privacy are placed on colocated servers. Workloads that are best suited to an elastic on-demand platform go to the public cloud. Some workloads can be moved from colocated servers to a public cloud platform and back again, giving enterprise IT departments the flexibility they need to meet the heterogeneous needs of their organization.
A typical use-case for hybrid platforms is for variable workloads with short periods of peak demand and a longer periods of much lower demand. The bulk of the processing takes place on colocated hardware, but many organizations aren’t willing to invest in hardware that will be idle for most of its life. The solution — often called cloud bursting — is to use public cloud platforms for extra capacity at periods of peak load.
It’s worth mentioning that hybrid infrastructure platforms don’t have to involve the public cloud at all. Many IT leaders would rather not entrust sensitive data to a multi-tenant environment. A private cloud platform that leverages a colocation data center can be used instead of the public cloud. Combined with a more traditional dedicated server deployment, organizations benefit from the flexibility of the cloud and the long-term reliability and performance of dedicated servers.
Effective IT leaders understand that the ideal infrastructure platform is hybrid, leveraging the full spectrum of infrastructure hosting technologies.