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Hybrid cloud is the future finds study

Hybrid cloud is the future finds study
Friday August 16 2013

A mix of public and private cloud services is likely to emerge according to transatlantic enterprise survey and retail users

Almost two thirds (60%) of UK and US enterprises have moved or are considering moving certain applications or workloads off the public cloud because of its limitations or the potential benefits of other platforms, such as the hybrid cloud.

That’s according to a new survey released by Rackspace Hosting, which found that those making this move were also doing so either partially (41%) or completely (19%). And nearly three out of four (73%) US respondents and almost half (47%) of UK respondents have made, or are thinking about making, such a move.

The cloud hosting provider commissioned independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne to interview 400 IT decision-makers in both private and public sectors organisations with more than 1,000 employees in the UK and US.
 
The study suggests that, while the public cloud remains important to IT decision-makers at UK and US enterprises involved in the research, the limitations of using this type of platform as a one-size-fits-all service are becoming more apparent. These limitations are leading many respondents to turn to a hybrid cloud infrastructure (i.e. public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers working together in any combination) for certain applications or workloads.
 
The future is hybrid
 
The research also found that the majority (60%) of IT decision-makers see hybrid cloud as the culmination of their cloud journey, rather than a stepping stone to using the public cloud alone for all their cloud needs. This was higher among 72% of US respondents who agreed that hybrid was the final destination, where 49% of UK respondents said the same.

For example, Action for Children, one of the UK’s largest and most prominent charities, uses Rackspace’s Hybrid Cloud to get the privacy, security and control of dedicated servers, but the ability to burst into a public cloud when necessary. Dedicated hardware – in the charity’s data centre but managed by Rackspace – is used to host sensitive data relating to children and families. 

Darren Robertson, digital communications data scientist for Action for Children, said: “In the past we used public cloud for many of our applications and workloads. But, as we grew, it became clear that some of these applications were becoming too complex for a public cloud-only deployment. We chose a hybrid cloud solution from Rackspace, which includes public cloud, to ensure adequate control over our infrastructure, and have also enjoyed performance, reliability, security and cost benefits.”

The charity uses the same cloud for big data analytics, placing on it a Hadoop cluster of anonymised customer, donor and fundraiser data, so that it can provide its diverse user groups with bespoke online experiences to improve engagement and support.

Assessing the benefits

The study also found that hybrid cloud services are now used by nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents for at least a portion of their application portfolio, with US organisations (80%) more likely to use them than UK organisations (64%). The top reasons respondents gave for why their organisation is using hybrid cloud instead of a public-only approach for certain applications or workloads were better security (52%), more control (42%), and better performance or reliability (37%).
 
Reinforcing these findings, hybrid cloud users report the top benefits they’ve experienced from it are more control (59%), better security (54%), better reliability (48%), reduced costs (46%) and better performance (44%). The average reduction in overall cloud costs from using hybrid cloud – for those who saw a reduction – was 17%.
 
Barry Parkin, IT manager at online florist Bunches.co.uk, commented: “In the past we used dedicated servers for almost all of our applications and workloads, but as we grew it became clear that some of these applications were better suited to a public cloud deployment. We chose a hybrid cloud solution from Rackspace, using the public cloud to handle seasonal peaks in online demand, and dedicated servers to ensure adequate control over other parts of our IT infrastructure.” 

Supporting new strategies

Parkin also indicated that the move had facilitated strategic improvements from initiatives that enables its employees to ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD). “Having these two platforms working together in combination, backed by Rackspace’s 24/7 Fanatical Support, means we enjoy performance, reliability, security and cost benefits. The flexibility of the hybrid infrastructure has also improved our testing and development capability and allows us to support BYOD,” he said.

John Engates, Rackspace chief technology officer, added: “The findings of our study indicate that the hybrid cloud is the next cloud for many organisations.” He said hybrid cloud can combine the best of public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers, delivering a common architecture that can be tailored to create the best fit for specific needs. 

“For example, instead of trying to run a big database in the public cloud on its own, which can be very problematic, businesses can leverage the hybrid cloud to run that database much more efficiently on a dedicated server that can burst into the public cloud when needed,” he concluded.

Tagged as: Action For Children | charity | Bunches.co.uk | florist | cloud | hosting | public | private | hybrid | Hadoop | survey | Rackspace