Hybrid cloud is best

Read time 2min 10sec

Hybrid cloud offers the best of both the private and public cloud worlds.

This was the word from Richard Vester, director of cloud services at EOH, who spoke at ITWeb's Cloud Computing Summit in Johannesburg yesterday.

It's a matter of balancing risk, control and flexibility in cloud deployments, said Vester. "For low risk and high control, go with the private cloud. The 'public' cloud - although I prefer the terms 'managed' or 'hosted' because the data isn't public, sitting where anyone can access it - is high risk and low control. In the middle is the hybrid cloud."

The hybrid cloud combines the strengths and weaknesses of both options, explained Vester. "With a hybrid cloud, you can keep mission-critical information in the organisation, to be consumed by the users inside the organisation itself. Then you can take something like mail, or other, less-mission-critical applications, into the public cloud. You can scale up and down, but you're not locking yourself into one particular environment."

The hybrid cloud allows for reduced expenditure and scalability - often touted as the principal benefits of cloud - while ensuring that mission-critical data is available anywhere, but secured, said Vester.

Ensuring governance and compliance is an essential step towards the hybrid cloud, he noted. "If you don't have this, you'll never be able to adopt cloud computing in the correct manner. The question is, how do you actually get visibility over governance and compliance in the organisation, so that when a user does something, the right people are notified about what is happening? The POPI Act and others will be forcing organisations to look at how they manage this."

Regulatory issues such as privacy and data residency are one of the principal factors keeping businesses away from the cloud at the moment, according to Vester, alongside cost uncertainty and worries about staff control.

CIOs and IT managers require new capabilities, said Vester, including ensuring compliance, as well as deploying portable apps, controlling a single point of management and measuring performance. Ultimately, this management is at the root of a successful cloud, he noted. "You don't have to build on any particular platform - you can build on anything. It's about how you orchestrate and manage those environments to best fit your organisation."

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