For businesses, the race towards accelerating innovation and time-to-market to meet customer needs and fend off competition is (or should be) the highest priority. And, businesses are looking to leverage cloud technology, which provides speed, scale, and a slew of other benefits, to help them do just that. However, most businesses have significant amounts of data stored on their on-premise systems and also have large monetary investments in these systems. So, businesses – especially large enterprises – are finding that a hybrid cloud approach is the best strategy. Here’s why.
Hybrid cloud computing offers a solution to these dilemmas—the Gartner IT Glossary defines “hybrid cloud technology” as “policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services.” IDC reports that cloud adoption has increased 61% from last year, with 73% pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy over the next two years. This is because the ability to integrate the flexibility of a public cloud strategy with on-site investments is indispensable for businesses. Additionally, hybrid cloud technology provides:
- Accelerated innovation: Public cloud technology enables businesses to test out new technologies or resources as needed. When the innovations have been thoroughly tested, the hybrid cloud technology allows enterprises to then transfer these innovations back to secure, on-premise storage.
- Seasonal scaling: Businesses are able to quickly expand to the public cloud if needed. This flexibility is particularly useful for retailers during the holiday season, who may only need to expand for a limited period of time.
- Data sovereignty: Businesses get the flexibility to retain required data in a specific geographical region for the purpose of meeting privacy and regulatory compliance, while having the portability to freely move other data between clouds that exist in other geographies.
The Challenges in Adopting Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud technology clearly supports businesses as they balance investments with the need to expand and accelerate, but many enterprises encounter challenges as they rush to adopt hybrid cloud. Unless businesses address their underlying data infrastructures, many companies end up with disparate private and public cloud services. This discrepancy can result in issues with:
- Data silos: Vital data ends up siloed in various locations and cloud regions, unless companies design a strategy to connect these separate groups.
- Complex application architecture and rigid data integration: Without an underlying, connective data structure, companies must later design a system to connect various data silos, which often results in complex, fragile connections.
- Threats to data security: Sensitive data must be stored in secure, on-premise data centers, while businesses must maintain data autonomy to meet data sovereignty and compliance requirements.
Therefore, without the proper data management strategy devised, businesses must frequently work around data silos, resulting in weaker, more cumbersome hybrid cloud technology.
The Secret to Benefiting from Hybrid Cloud
Across the world, leading brands, from Macy’s to McDonald’s, instead leverage more comprehensive, unified databases to avoid these challenges. These companies specifically turn to distributed database technology, which supports hybrid cloud with these additional benefits:
- Distributed hybrid cloud data processing: This style of data processing can leverage any cloud infrastructure in a single database, so the application seamlessly spans both private and one or more public clouds.
- Always-on architecture: Distributed database technology is typically built on a peer-to-peer design, meaning that the database system rarely falters, even if specific cloud issues arise.
- Scalability: Distributed database technology can instantly scale the size in any of its clouds, regardless of workload requirements.
- Security control: This hybrid cloud technology can quickly discern between various levels of the cloud to maintain designated security measures.
With these additional benefits in place, distributed databases can seamlessly accelerate the move towards hybrid cloud technology. This architecture appears as a single environment, blurring the lines between the underlying cloud technologies, so your application can span seamlessly across private cloud, public cloud, or a combination thereof. By adopting a distributed database strategy designed for hybrid cloud, businesses can enjoy the benefits of a hybrid cloud infrastructure, without the natural challenges that arise from this transition.
For example, online retailer eBay has leveraged the ability to accelerate innovation and time-to-market. eBay strives to provide a speedy, personalized shopping experience for every customer that lands on its homepage. Its online shopping market serves around 171 million buyers, according to the Q1 2018 analysis. Intuitively supporting a customer base this large requires a comprehensive, stable data management system. eBay’s shopping experience is powered by the customer’s ability to instantly search for what they need, which requires the site to comb through massive amounts of data for every search entry. eBay uses a distributed cloud database designed for the hybrid cloud to store customer search data and customize each shopper’s experience. According to a case study of eBay’s cloud database, the company manages over 200 TB of data with its system, using the cloud database’s combination of private and public clouds to easily expand and store customer data across multiple data centers and provide individualized customer experiences. Because eBay can quickly expand to the public cloud, the cloud database provides a cost-efficient way of providing a seamless online shopping experience.
For retailers like Macy’s, which balance brick-and-mortar sales with online shopping demands, distributed cloud databases designed for the hybrid cloud allow the companies to scale their systems during peak shopping times. A cloud database’s agility, thanks to its ability to quickly expand to public cloud storage, can power omnichannel catalog services and support a high volume of searches, preventing any hitches in the online shopping experience. Furthermore, having a cloud database is essential to accommodate elastic resource requirements for the holiday season, in which retailers typically earn about 20 percent of their annual revenue, according to Fundivo. Via hybrid cloud capability of the distributed database, department stores can ensure that the attentive, well-run in-store shopping experience carries over for all shoppers, regardless of the demands of the shopping season. The real magic here? The hybrid cloud capability of the database that makes the shopping experience fast, simple, and enjoyable for every customer.
Financial institutions also benefit from a distributed database and a hybrid cloud approach to deliver better customer experiences and, at the same time, comply with strict regulations. For example, Allianz is a European financial services company, offering a range of insurance and fund products to over 86 million customers. Allianz operates in 70 countries and has more than 140,000 employees. It goes without saying that Allianz needs to operate at massive scale, while also ensuring the highest levels of data privacy. Allianz employees require access to troves of customer data in order to answer questions and gain actionable insights in real-time. However, this data is highly sensitive and must comply with the regulations of dozens of countries around the world. To solve this, Allianz built its real-time business intelligence system on DSE, because of the distributed architecture and scalability. DSE acts as a single gateway to Allianz data, allowing for period reports, quick lookups, ad-hoc queries, and third-party data sources. DSE’s advanced security enables end-to-end encryption, and its peer-to-peer architecture enables global data distribution to multiple data centers so that data can be reported on centrally without leaving the country.
DataStax Helps the World’s Leading Brands Accelerate Innovation with Hybrid Cloud
Leading always-on, distributed cloud database, DataStax Enterprise (DSE) is built on the open-source project Apache Cassandra™ and is designed for hybrid cloud, which has allowed many of the largest enterprises to transform their businesses and exceed customer expectations through real-time applications at massive scale. This reliable foundation coupled with the search, analytics, and graph capabilities of DSE allows companies to both manage data and get contextual insights into that data providing instantly responsive, meaningful engagement, regardless of the demands on the system. DSE also gives enterprises data autonomy, allowing them to retain control and strategic ownership of their data in the transition to hybrid cloud.
DataStax has helped hundreds of the world’s leading brands like Capital One, Cisco, Comcast, eBay, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Safeway, Sony, UBS, and Walmart transform their businesses through real-time applications at massive scale focused on enterprise optimization and customer experience.
Read Enterprise Strategy Group’s take on the importance of data autonomy in a hybrid cloud infrastructure and how DataStax delivers on enterprises’ data autonomy needs here.