Hybrid Cloud File Sharing: The Best So Far of Public & Private Worlds

How easy is it to choose between public and private cloud file sharing? Public cloud is good because it’s scalable and needs no big upfront investment, but there are concerns about data security. Private clouds give their owners control over access and security, but require in-house servers and IT engineers to run them. Hybrid clouds are a combination designed to give organizations the best of both, in the proportions they need. The current wave of enthusiasm has led hybrid clouds to feature in several industry analyst predictions about how the online computing world will look in the near future.

What is Driving Hybrid Cloud Adoption?

Enterprise file sharing is increasing. A recent survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group found that 42% of companies were already using a solution for this. With the ready-to-use promise of public cloud services and mobile computing device support, companies can in many cases be up and running the same day with file sharing available across the organization. However the same survey also found that 90% of existing and prospective online file sharing users limited the types of data to be held in the public cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions can answer both types of user.

Talk to Me

Nonetheless, the public and private cloud components of a hybrid solution still need to talk to each other for real overall effectiveness. However, standards have yet to evolve to a point at which all clouds can easily interconnect. For the moment, organizations that want to mix and match public and private components are advised to investigate data and application integration beforehand. The dream of the unified cloud model in which cloud modules can be combined, swapped and upgraded at will has yet to come true. Still, it looks like customers are optimistic about the outcome. The 2014 State of the Cloud Survey showed the 74% of business respondents were planning to use multiple cloud resources, and that 48% had a hybrid cloud strategy.

Getting to Work on a Hybrid Cloud Solution

In a practical sense, organizations that want to pursue the deployment of a hybrid cloud will need to pay attention to the following, besides the data and application integration already mentioned.

  • Security. If information leaves a private cloud environment and moves into a public cloud (uncontrolled), then access rights, compliance and the geographical whereabouts of the data can all change. A hybrid cloud is often seen as a solution to handle overflow computing and storage needs. Data may therefore move from private to public clouds dynamically and without warning, but must still stay safe.
  • Performance. Data may move into a public cloud, but the applications using it may still be firmly rooted in the private cloud. If data transfer back and forth is too restricted (bandwidth) or too delayed (latency), business processes relying on those applications and data may suffer as well.

Hybrid is Here to Stay

However, despite the challenges of a mixed public/private cloud environment, it seems like the advantages outweigh the difficulties for many enterprises. Hybrid is the wave of the future. That will push technology vendors to figure out better ways of interworking if they want to surf that wave. Customers stand to benefit, assuming they can see beyond the immediate teething problems of making hybrid clouds into a robust, reliable, high performance solution from one end to the other.