What is the difference between private and hybrid IaaS?


When you think IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), you’re really thinking about a very specific type of private cloud computing. In your typical IaaS offering for businesses vendors are actually providing their clients with the hardware (and/or software) required to run an entire IT operation. What makes this unique of course is the fact that these types of services (IaaS) usually include the creation of private clouds; either through partition / segregation or physically isolated hardware. In this way, IaaS is generally seen, and often deployed, as one of the most sensible and accessible private cloud solutions out there.

What many might not be aware of however, is the fact that IaaS is now taking advantages of public cloud resources. When you have IaaS (which is largely private) taking advantage of or using public clouds in any way, you’re dealing with “hybrid IaaS”.

One of the big benefits being talked about with regards to Hybrid IaaS is versatility. In other words, Hybrid IaaS is able to take advantage of the good aspects of both private and public clouds. Seriously, what more could one possibly want?

How does hybrid IaaS positively leverage public clouds, you ask? Simply put, public cloud computing is more akin to going to a restaurant and ordering a buffet plate. You pay one price for access to all of the individual items (services), but you can’t exceed the volume of the package you have purchased.

However, public cloud computing isn’t necessarily going to be all-you-can-eat; it is at its heart, a metered service. In other words, you pay for what you actually use (a common cloud theme), often based on hourly rates. Where the public cloud differs however, is in its prices. Quite simply, the public cloud is generally significantly cheaper than other forms of cloud computing; we’re talking cents on the dollar for access to additional servers here (amazing value). Why is this important? For organizations that typically or occasionally perform extensive or tedious research (involving the use of computing), public cloud computing offers a very cost effective way to requisition extensive resources very quickly.

Aside from the size and abilities of the pubic cloud, there’s also the issue of its ability to provide swift access to packaged services. If, for example, a business already has a private IaaS system in place, tapping an extra public cloud component might allow them to take advantage of specific types of apps or new offerings that come onto the market without having to rearrange or even modify their core IT infrastructure. You might see this type of thing occurring when an institution is running what amounts to two separate IT campaigns, perhaps one for internal operations and one that acts as an interface with the public or consumer base at large. The point is, there’s no need for these two types of IT approaches to be dependent on one another, although through the use of hybrid IaaS, one would be able to more easily integrate and analyze data (in a cross-functional capacity). In fact, keeping things separated at the level of internal operations vs. external sales, advertising and customer data processing, allows businesses to create what amounts to an additional security layer (if you really think about it).  If critical / sensitive data and software aren’t even on or accessible via a company’s public interfaces, then malicious attacks or outright theft is impossible.

Hybrid IaaS is also being used to bundle public cloud packages/offerings as individual services which can then be deployed via a private cloud infrastructure. We need more of this type of “outside-the-box” thinking (in the cloud computing world). Being able to utilize the best abilities of multiple cloud computing configurations, while limiting your exposure to their individual weaknesses – it’s enlightening, to say the least. Using a public cloud in this way is also a great way to create security “bottlenecks”, or specific areas which merit more intensive analysis and constant monitoring.

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