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What is a hybrid data center and do you need one?

- 5 minute read

As organizations continue to grow and compete in a fast-moving landscape, data centres have a greater expectation to evolve and move at the same, steady pace. Enter hybrid data centers — a new type of data center that can support on-site infrastructure and cloud storage solutions. 

Call it what you like; a more agile IT infrastructure, the ‘flexible future’, advanced IT architecture or even an evolution strategy. A hybrid data center is a new and improved way to manage and store all of our important stuff. 

But does this development work for everyone? 

What is a hybrid data center? 

A hybrid data center presents an interesting opportunity to store data across various types of infrastructure. So, instead of picking between on-premise data centers and multi-cloud environments, organizations can now cherry-pick which information they’d like to store in the cloud and which they’d prefer to keep closer to home, all while accessing the same IT infrastructure. 

Hybrid data centers support the following infrastructure: 

  • Private cloud: When an organization rents data storage but the organization is the sole user and point of access
  • Public cloud: When an organization rents data storage, is managed by a third-party provider and is shared across multiple users
  • On-premise: When IT assets are housed on-site with no other parties involved in managing and storing data.  

Hybrid data centers assist with the storage of data, applications and information but they also empower organizations to effectively manage these assets by separating them into two piles: those that belong on-site and those that can be managed elsewhere. 

In this sense, a hybrid data center is a dynamic infrastructure solution that's better suited than other data center options to fast-growing companies that favor flexibility above all else. Ultimately, a hybrid data center's best selling point is its agility. 

Unlike traditional ways of working, hybrid data centers allow information and applications to be stored depending on their workflow and security needs, with the option to switch how information and assets are stored as and when needed. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid data center? 

It’s immediately apparent that hybrid data centers have something to bring to the technology sector’s table — but does this unique offering have any drawbacks? And if so, what are they?  

Hybrid data center disadvantages

  • Larger opportunities for an attack: Having a larger area for attack is part and parcel of expanding data center opportunities. By embracing both physical data centers and cloud variants, organizations should be prepared for greater infrastructure to take care of and everything that comes with it. 

  • More complex system: As with anything innovative, the more intelligent the system becomes, the harder it is to manage, often requiring IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) experts on hand to help. Generally speaking, when a more complex system is managed properly, it yields a better organizational outcome. Yet, if an intelligent system is neglected, so are its additional functionalities and nuances that make it a superior system, rendering its adoption useless. 

  • Requires buy-in and best practices: For all of its benefits, an organization will have to work hard to enjoy them as they'll need to lay the groundwork for success. Organizations need to establish best practices and protocols between on-premise, private and public cloud sharing, making sure the entire team is on board with and understanding of the switch. 

Hybrid data centers prove there's no such thing as a free lunch. To reap the rewards of agile workflows and advanced IT architecture, you’ll need to be prepared for a period of hard work where every member of the team rolls their sleeves up and takes part to create solid defenses for attack and the right ways of working. 

Hybrid data center advantages 

  • Agility: A hybrid data center's blinding benefit is its agility, allowing organizations to move workflows at ease and adjust the accessibility of information and applications in an instant. With greater flexibility comes greater scalability, helping your IT infrastructure to feel future-proof. 

  • Lower cost: Amalgamating cloud and on-premise services will undoubtedly save you money. Although very few organizations put price above protection, it doesn’t hurt to have a smaller budget set aside for storage solutions, leaving more capital to spend elsewhere. 

  • Creep into the cloud: If you’re a stranger to cloud computing, hybrid data centers allow you to test the waters of public and private cloud computing, without losing the long-respected benefits of legacy data centers. For those already using cloud-based solutions, you can continue using public cloud management tools meaning there will be less education needed to troubleshoot and keep an eye on all things IT. 

  • Keep IT protection moving at the same pace: From a psychological standpoint, hybrid data centers feel, for many, like a natural progression from outdated data orchestration and storage of the past. Everything else in our organizations has changed, so why isn’t the way we organize data? Forward-thinking organizations have welcomed hybrid data centers for this reason, recognizing they’re a perfect way to facilitate flexible workflows and ambitious IT projects. 

Is a hybrid data center right for you? 

As with any big question, there’s no definitive answer. Rather, there are compelling reasons for both switching to a hybrid storage model and staying with your traditional IT infrastructure. 

Those excited by a hybrid data center’s advantages are right to be tempted. Hybrid data centers, in many ways, are the ideal solution for both security and scalability. However, before anyone jumps the gun, they should consider the need to develop data center best practices, get buy-in from the team and maintain visibility across IT infrastructure to meet regulatory requirements.  

Those less taken by the prospect of a hybrid solution might be right to stick with their existing storage model. Yet, if efficiencies, lower costs and agility sit high on their priority list, they could be missing a trick. 

The view that a hybrid data center gives an organization the best of both worlds is one held by many industry experts. Yet, while it's true that many forward-thinking organizations end up choosing hybrid data centers, it doesn’t mean it’s always the right choice. 

To find out which storage solution is the right fit for your organization, book a consultation with an ITAD expert. 



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