You might have heard the buzz about Hybrid Clouds. In this article, we will delve into what they are and some implementation scenarios that suit specific company needs.

Hybrid CloudBefore we get into implementation scenarios, what is a hybrid cloud? Well, the idea is pretty simple. A hybrid cloud is one that mixes servers in the public cloud with other types of hosting like collocated servers, leased dedicated servers, and/or private cloud servers. The public cloud has a number of advantages but it doesn’t solve every hosting need. So, a company will use the public cloud to solve some needs and then use other types of hosting for more specific needs. We will discuss 3 ways to build a hybrid cloud environment.

The key problem when building a hybrid cloud is how to securely interconnect the different environments. For example, suppose you want a web facing application to run in the public cloud but the database needs to run on a physical server in a leased server environment. How do you begin? How does that application server reach the database server since these are two separate networks? The connection could be over the Internet but do you want your database traffic seen over the Internet and is that level of network transfer performance workable? Probably not. The hybrid cloud provides ways to achieve a high performing and secure interconnection.

We will discuss three basic approaches to building a hybrid cloud;

  1. Interface the public cloud to traditional infrastructure, like colo and dedicated environments,
  2. Interface the public cloud to a private cloud, and
  3. Add a dedicated cloud server to the public cloud.

The first and simplest approach is to just connect the public cloud network to the company colo or dedicated server network. A company might already have an existing hosting environment but see the advantages of having part of the infrastructure run on a public cloud. There are two ways to connect the two separate networks,

  1. use a VPN connection between the two environments and
  2. use a Cloud Direct Connection.

Most cloud providers should allow for a VPN connection. In the NetSource public cloud this is easy to setup. The advantages are a secure connection and it adds little or no cost to your public cloud. The main disadvantage is performance since the network traffic traverses the Internet.

Most cloud providers also offer a Direct Connection feature where the service provider supplies a direct connection between the public cloud and other hosting infrastructure. These connections between different providers are expensive but within the NetSource data center, it is very affordable. The main advantage is performance since the data does NOT traverse the Internet – this is a direct and private cable connection. With NetSource, all you need to do is order the NetSource Cloud Direct Connect(tm) service and we will drop a cable that interfaces directly to your NetSource public cloud network.

The next common way to setup a hybrid cloud is to connect your public cloud network to a private cloud infrastructure either you have built or NetSource has provided. The private cloud gives you control and some of the other advantages of the public cloud. Then, you get all the advantages of the public cloud for servers that run there. The interconnection options are the same as for connecting the public cloud to a colo or dedicated server environment, VPN or NetSource Cloud Direct Connect.

Finally, a newer way to build a hybrid environment takes full advantage of all the features of the public cloud while still having nearly full control of parts of the dedicated environment. NetSource can add a dedicated server to the public cloud infrastructure. This dedicated server is assigned to your account and only your company virtual servers can run on this dedicated server. It’s like having a private cloud but with the identical features and support of the public cloud. Since the dedicated server joins the public cloud infrastructure, you get a portal for self management and scalability, just like with the public cloud. You have one cloud account for the public cloud and another for the dedicated cloud, but they look and work identically with all the same features. You have access to all the networks in the public part and the dedicated part in both accounts so it is easy to add virtual servers to either the public cloud network, the more private dedicated cloud network, or both. This solution provides a lot of flexibility, scalability, and control. There is no need for a cable drop since the two environments are already connected.

There are numerous possibilities for implementing various solutions that take advantage of hybrid cloud environments. This article introduced some ideas about building a hybrid cloud.