Hybrid Models Stand to Gain

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Concerns about privacy and security may pose obstacles to the move of IT infrastructure to the cloud, but the promise of cost savings and administrative simplicity offers advantages that can't be ignored. That's why may companies are opting for a hybrid strategy, something that may just offer significant service opportunities to IT solution providers.

"But there's also this tremendous economic benefit that is possible from the cloud computing model, and so it makes a lot of sense to take a look at one's own internal data center and say 'what kind of workloads do we have and what makes sense for us in terms of being able to leverage the benefits of the cloud computing model' and look to re-envision the data center," Kaufman said.

The hybrid model is going to gain in popularity, she said. Choosing between public and private really depends on the type of data and the comfort level of the CIO.

"It's a complex situation. I think the way many companies are making this decision is based on the workload that they're looking at, so that how making decisions based on the type of data and the type of application, and also what kinds of internal resources they already have," she said.

For large organizations, it makes sense to use the public cloud solutions for CRM systems, email and other non-core systems. CIOs feel much more comfortable keeping private company data in the private cloud. In other words, the more sensitive the data is, the more likely it'll be kept in the private cloud, but Kaufman noted that it's not a "one size fits all" solution.

"There are lots of really large enterprises out there with very expansive data centers, so they can really create this sort of cloud environment," she said.

Small and emerging businesses really don't have a choice when it comes to the cloud, she said. They don't have the data centers or resources for private clouds, so any data that goes into the cloud has to be put in the public cloud. Even though there are surely security concerns about doing so (what happens if there's a breach?), the cloud enables smaller companies to get access to the kinds of computing power previously only available to enterprises.

"If you don't have a data center, it doesn't make sense, so you have to be large enough to have a data center. And the motivation to improve the efficiency of your data center is really a top priority for companies," Kaufman said.

The future is in hybrid clouds, particularly for large enterprises, she said. What data to put in the public cloud and what to put in the private cloud is a decision that has to be made by each individual company. When channel partners are working with customers to build out a cloud strategy, the general rule of thumb is that core competencies stay in the private cloud for the additional control and security, and other systems can be moved into the public cloud.

"I think in the future, the companies will really need to find a way to manage across these private and public environments," Kaufman said. "You can't really turn the clock back. There are lots of companies where there's highly regulated and secure data, but just the same there are people within those companies who are using their mobile devices and accessing the cloud without really thinking of it as cloud."

Usage policies regarding the cloud will become increasingly necessary, and there is still much work to be done regarding cloud management and corporate governance, she said.