Virtualization came on to the IT scene with a bang; suddenly companies could store and access their data in a non-physical location and get better performance than when they were using locally managed machines. Companies rushed to put as much as they could onto virtual platforms until it became apparent they had reached a maximum; the costs outweighed the benefits. The same has been true of the cloud – cloud computing offered companies a way to even further refine their data use but at a certain point, pros and cons must be compared, and this has led to the creation of the hybrid cloud, a semi-private local cloud that companies find themselves using for their data and management and one that they want to see having the ability to export to a larger public or private cloud version.
Now, services have sprung up that are tailored to do just that – move information from one structure to the other and with little to no downtime. Bandwidth constraints, latency and outages must all be taken into consideration as each of these things can cost a company a great deal of money, and as a result power players like Amazon and Microsoft are getting into the game of creating what are known as cloud APIs to manage migration. Amazon’s EC2 API and Microsoft’s Azure AppFabric offer the ability to get the transfer process started, and the theory is that eventually locally hosted apps will be able to migrate out to the cloud automatically, streamlining the process.
The hybrid cloud is an interesting, if not unexpected development and businesses should take the time to be prepared to deal with its nuances in order to get the best for their data and their dollar.