For many hybrid cloud infrastructure adopters, backup is the most obvious use case. And for good reason -- the cloud is a low-cost option that can easily scale to house large backup images. Backup data is typically infrequently accessed, meaning users can save on cloud transaction costs, and scaling up doesn't require the purchase of additional hardware.
"What we're doing is taking the scalability of the public cloud, the elasticity and the almost near-infinite feeling of growth that you can get there, and trying to combine it with what we're doing on-premises and in a private cloud where the infrastructure is fixed," said Mike Matchett, senior analyst at Hopkinton, Mass.-based firm Taneja group.
In this Tech Talk video filmed at TechTarget's Storage Decisions seminar, Matchett explains why backup is such a popular use case for a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Hybrid clouds, he said, make restores easier. They can save enterprises from building another datacenter or an offsite repository by instead sending backup images to a cloud provider. In the event of a failure, users can restore those images to a completely different site. Users also have the option of taking a disaster recovery as a service approach, which allows backup images to be restored to the same or a different cloud.
According to Matchett, backup in a hybrid cloud infrastructure has advantages over a public or private cloud model as well. Public clouds are often difficult to customize and standardized APIs make it difficult to move from one public cloud to another. In a private cloud the enterprise owns the architecture, but the cost savings aren't realized.
"What you want to do with your applications is take advantage of the best of both and try to build a hybrid scenario," Matchett said.
Transcript - Hybrid cloud infrastructure provides low-cost backup
What are some different implementation types for the hybrid cloud?
Mike Matchett: When we think of the different kinds of hybrid clouds that you can build, we look at a very large matrix of opportunities here. If you think of where the apps themselves, the workloads, are going to run, they can be running on-premises. They can be running in a private cloud. They can be running in a public cloud. And likewise with the data -- the data can be in a public cloud. It can be colocated. It can be in a private cloud. It could be on premises. And you can mix-and-match any of those things. In fact, a lot of applications will have multiple components. So it's really a complex question to answer. And we're going to see people really building all sorts of different kinds of hybrid structures.
What are some advantages that are gained from using the hybrid cloud as a backup site rather than using on-premises backup?
Matchett: Using the hybrid cloud as a backup site is really a great thing, because you don't have to build a complete second data center or another off-site repository. If you just have one data center, or primary data center, or even a lot of ROBOs that you want to protect, you take their backup images and put them into a cloud provider. And then, at any point, you can pull those images out. But the great thing is you don't have to pull them out back to the exact same place. Say you lost your primary site and you want to restore those images to a second site or a different site, you can do that.
Even going farther, if you're careful about how you build this and you're completely virtualized, you can even restore your backup images to the cloud, to the same cloud, or even a different cloud. So now if you lose your primary site, you can backup and restore it within a cloud. And that's disaster recovery as a service.
What are some steps that you can take to be sure that your hybrid cloud effectively scales?
Matchett: That's an interesting question because what we're doing is taking the scalability of the public cloud, the elasticity and the almost near-infinite feeling of growth that you can get there, and trying to combine it with what we're doing on premises and in a private cloud where the infrastructure is fixed. We may still have a lot of infrastructure, but eventually, it's a fixed infrastructure and has limits on scalability. So if we carefully construct our applications and look at which pieces really need to have that burst scalability and try to architect it so that those pieces can move into the public cloud side, whether it's the data or the workload, we'll get that scalability that we really want out of the hybrid infrastructure.