Dispelling the myths of hybrid hosting

Hybrid hosting lets you run your database on dedicated servers, put your front-end in the cloud, and tie everything together with a single click

lochness monster myth
Tony Hisgett (CC BY 2.0)

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

When the Amazon Web Services platform failed recently some of the internet’s biggest sites -- including Netflix and Tinder – suffered extended outages. The culprit? AWS's NoSQL database DynamoDB, where increased error rates led to increased errors and latency in more than 20 AWS services.

These and other sites wouldn’t have had a problem if they used hybrid hosting, the best way to architect modern apps. Hybrid hosting lets businesses set up their databases on dedicated servers, put their front-end Web apps in the cloud, then tie everything together with a single click.

While many companies recognize that hybrid hosting and the hybrid cloud are “the next big thing” in hosting, some are intimidated by what they don’t know. Because hybrid cloud adoption is still nascent, there remains a lot of confusion about the technology. It’s time to debunk some myths.

Myth: Hybrid cloud is only used for cloud bursting.

When an application running in a private cloud gets a sudden demand for computing capacity, it can “burst” to a public cloud to handle that spike. This cannot be a reactive measure, though, and it is difficult to run applications on traditional, dedicated servers and then swap that same workload to the cloud at will. For cloud bursting to work properly, applications must be designed from the ground up with that in mind; the vast majority of applications are not built this way. It takes special skill and intent to build applications that know how to burst to the cloud.

Hosting on a hybrid infrastructure does not magically make an application cloud burst; the application must be designed for that. Furthermore, the hybrid cloud must allow for the cloud burst at the networking level, which requires integration of hybrid at the networking level. It is unreasonable to expect legacy applications running on traditional dedicated servers to just swap their workloads to the cloud on demand.

Hybrid cloud cannot, in fact, be used for cloud bursting unless the application was designed for that. Combining an adequately designed application with a hybrid cloud infrastructure, however, would enable an organization to build up an auto-scaling and burst-capable application on hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Myth: Hybrid cloud is complicated to implement.

This is only true if hybrid cloud is done in a non-automated, non-productized manner. If an organization attempts to build its own configuration, things can get complicated quickly and it can take weeks to implement. However, when hybrid cloud technology is implemented through an automated platform, it can be done in less than a few hours, if not minutes.

Ideally, a hosted hybrid cloud solution should be designed with drag-and-drop functionality in mind for every component. This method allows you to configure your infrastructure the way you want, while keeping the network automation in the background. A drag-and-drop interface makes implementing the hybrid cloud a breeze.

Myth: Hybrid cloud is more expensive.

Hybrid cloud can be less expensive than a purely dedicated or purely cloud configuration with the proper setup – namely, if cloud servers are leveraged for variable workloads and dedicated servers are leveraged for fixed workloads. There is a possibility for hybrid cloud to run up the costs, but that’s only if bridging devices are used. Done correctly (and without these devices), a business can cut its costs with a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Take a florist business. Florists are dramatically busier on days like Valentine’s Day than the rest of the year. If a florist pays for dedicated hosting based on those sporadic days they’re paying too much. Cloud, too, can be expensive. Most days of the year the florist sees pretty static load and demand. With hybrid hosting, the florist can run day-to-day business on dedicated servers, add cloud instances for the Valentine’s Day peak, then return to dedicated servers on February 15. This is the most cost-effective way to go.

Costs can run up when businesses pay premiums for resources that should be fixed commodities like bandwidth or storage. A proper strategy utilizes each element of a hybrid cloud set-up to gain operational and cost advantages.

Myth: Hybrid cloud is only for enterprises.

Organizations of all sizes can reap the benefits of hybrid cloud – start-ups and SMBs are even more primed that enterprises to benefit from the hybrid cloud.

Enterprises have the most legacy apps that require a dedicated infrastructure and can gain a lot from the hybrid cloud by integrating existing environments with new ones. However, changing applications, migrations, and IT approvals can take a long time. Start-ups with fixed workloads (like databases) and variable workloads benefit from the hybrid cloud, too. In fact, we’re seeing more adoption of hybrid among startups and SMBs than enterprises due to the agility of decision making in smaller organizations.

Because on-demand hybrid hosting is easy to set up and requires minimal configuration, it is ideal for businesses that have small IT teams (especially for IT “teams” that are just a single person). Hybrid hosting also offers reliability, giving these start-ups and SMBs an edge over their larger, more slower moving competitors.

Myth: Hybrid is good for data redundancy.

“Traditional” hybrid cloud is NOT good for data redundancy. Consider an organization that stores critical data on its local dedicated server environment. This company runs a redundant system on a public cloud for live failover or immediate data recovery. In the traditional hybrid cloud model, this organization is reliant upon a single physical network device to bridge the cloud and dedicated infrastructures. The purpose of redundancy is to eliminate points of failure, not add potential network failure scenarios. A traditional hybrid architecture with a “connect” device is a single point of failure.

On-demand hybrid hosting, which is architected at the layer 2 network level to send data through an automated deep layer of networking, is redundant and ensures the FASTEST data transport path from point to point.

In conclusion, it is clear that the hybrid cloud is the future and will dominate IT for the next decade. The beauty of enabling the on-demand hybrid cloud infrastructure is it’s customizable to the unique needs and usages, while optimizing costs. Hybrid is the antithesis to the “one size fits all” approach that companies have had to deal with for years. Figure out what your ideal infrastructural environment is, then make it happen with the hybrid cloud.

Sayegh is a pioneer of cloud computing and is credited with launching the cloud computing and hosting businesses for HP and Rackspace. He is also known as one of the “fathers of OpenStack,” having created the open source software. He has been CEO of Codero Hosting since 2012. Codero Hosting delivers world-class on-demand dedicated, managed, cloud and hybrid hosting infrastructure and solutions.

This story, "Dispelling the myths of hybrid hosting" was originally published by Network World.

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