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Hybrid cloud infrastructure advantages

Both public and private cloud storage have their advantages, but is the best solution something in between? In his presentation titled "Inside-Outside: Building a Hybrid Cloud Storage Infrastructure" given at TechTarget's annual Storage Decisions conference, analyst Mike Matchett says a potential cloud sweet spot is a combination of in-house and public providers. According to Matchett, a hybrid cloud infrastructure often works best for common cloud use cases including Web-based applications, archive storage and disaster recovery.

The public cloud has the benefits of being secure and elastic. It offers a range of options including infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service. However, public clouds are far from perfect. With the "pay as you go" pricing model, IT professionals often have the misconception that cloud storage is inexpensive.

"One of the things we've found with the public cloud is that while it is cheap by the minute, and cheap by the hour, it is not cheap by the year. Your costs creep up." Matchett said. He points out that this eventual increase in costs often leads businesses away from a public cloud as they grow. "Even some companies that were born in the cloud, started in the cloud, once they get to a certain size actually then turn around and build out a data center and pull it into private infrastructure."

While businesses likely start with either a public or private cloud, according to Matchett many end up mixing the two for a hybrid cloud infrastructure. "The idea of hybrid storage is I want to marry the best attributes of both sides of that equation," Matchett said. "I want to get the benefits of the public cloud where I need it, and I want to get control of the private storage when I want to mitigate the risk."

Implementing a hybrid cloud infrastructure, according to Matchett, is inevitable. It's a complex storage model, and knowing where to begin can seem daunting. To prepare for the oncoming hybrid cloud, he recommends that businesses start by looking at any unmet business needs, and create a "wish list" of services they'd like to include.

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