Written by James Spiteri
Senior Solutions Architect 

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The two most well-known types of cloud computing are the public cloud and the private cloud.

A public cloud is one that is entirely operated by a third party. Your data is stowed away in a remote server, and all software and hardware necessary for the operation are handled and owned by the provider.

While the architecture of a private cloud may not be worlds apart from its public counterpart, the main difference is that the server is reserved exclusively for your business. The data centre may be on location at your business or kept by the provider.

Both iterations have their own advantages and limitations – however, providers have recognised there is demand for a combination of these traits. This is where the hybrid cloud comes into play. A hybrid cloud gives you the best of both the public and the private cloud worlds due to interlinking technology that allows transfer of data and applications between both types of servers, maximizing flexibility, scalable elasticity and methods of deployment.

Working with two interconnected servers – one public and one private – provides more than the simple ability to parse data out into different servers. It gives you the scalable elasticity and management efficiency of the public one combined with the speed, customisation, and on top of all, the security of the private one. Then, it’s just a matter of choosing which server is better suited for a particular task.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a fixed choice. Cloud bursting allows for data to be moved around across servers, especially when a spike in demand requires you to move it to a public one.

At a time when modern business ethics and expectations don’t allow for internet connection failure as a justifiable excuse, unhindered access to data allowing for business continuity is a crucial factor. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have a contingency plan in case of server failures; it simply means the ability to continue doing work even during an unprecedented disaster with no down time. By replicating data from primary servers onto a secondary remote one, such business-crippling issues can be nipped without missing a beat.

Cost is another factor many businesses take into consideration. Owning a private data centre implies capital expenditure for hardware, staffing, power, research, installation, upkeep, and maintenance, and all of this for equipment that will eventually become obsolete and need replacement.

The issue of costs extends itself to concept testing, as a hybrid cloud environment allows for prototyping and testing before actual deployment. Scaling resources is also an area for which hybrid cloud services can cut down on costs, while also increasing efficiency and the need to make predictions amidst fluctuating variables. When workloads require customised formatting and scalability of resources, hybrid clouding ratchets these settings up or down depending on the business demands, optimising the workload environment accordingly.

With hybrid cloud technology rising in popularity, both the businesses adopting this technology and the providers are turning more towards an OpEx (operating expense) funding model instead of a CapEx (capital expense) one. By opting for a SaaS (Solution as a Service) vendor such as BMIT, businesses have the option to scale the level of functionality in accordance with company growth rate, without having to invest more time and money in restructuring data management methods.

Speed of connectivity is one more key player, and business continuity mentioned earlier is but one reason. Time taken to connect with subject markets is also reduced, making it easier for your business to release tailor-made products or campaigns into the right channels in double time. Taking things one step back, even prototyping and testing we’ve touched upon earlier get an extra gear. Spinning up the right environment for application or product-testing becomes a reality thanks to hybrid cloud technology. All of this can otherwise be bogged down by unreliable public internet connections that act temperamental without forewarning.

Let’s suppose that despite the attractive features hybrid cloud technology offers, you still lean towards the public cloud option. So, which public cloud is best? How do you handle network security and resilience, and what’s the best way to configure your setup? In addition to offering a locally-hosted public cloud set-up, BMIT also offers an alternative platform designed to cater for specialised needs called multicloud connect.

Multicloud connect serves as a liaison between your business and a cluster of major public clouds, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and many more, connecting you to all of them simultaneously. It does this by running your data through BMIT’s own secure private network. It also takes care of all setup, configuration, and after-services you may require down the road. This implies improved performance, enhanced security, and lower latency thanks to the direct private connection.

We’ve only skimmed the surface of what hybrid cloud as well as multicloud connect technologies are bringing to the field of data storage and management. There is very little doubt that bespoke technologies are rising in popularity amongst businesses, and this along with individual business needs is undoubtedly nudging service providers such as BMIT to optimise and stay on top of things.

And now that you are more aware of what’s out there, it’s worth reiterating our earlier question: which cloud technology is best for you and your business?

This article was also featured on the Sunday Times of Malta