Hybrid cloud solutions emerged 10 years ago as a response to the limitations of traditional on-premises data centres, which were the dominant form of IT infrastructure for many organisations.
Initially, local storage infrastructure was designed to support specific workloads, but scaling them up to meet ever-growing data demands was often a slow, cumbersome and expensive process. Then, the advent of cloud storage changed this paradigm by offering highly scalable, on-demand resources that could be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. The cloud has also introduced a whole new class of services, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, that were previously impossible or very difficult to integrate with on-premises workflows. So far, these services require incredibly high computing power, which is either impossible to perform on existing local infrastructure or requires a significant investment in hardware – an issue the cloud easily solves.
Despite the benefits, many organisations remain hesitant to move all their IT infrastructure to the cloud, particularly those with mission-critical data in finance, healthcare, surveillance or the media and entertainment industry. The cloud is a fundamentally different storage infrastructure that requires significant planning and effort, which can increase the risk of workflow disruptions for them. Concerns over security, privacy, regulatory compliance, or the possibility of latency, lack of connectivity and data loss represent further challenges to complete migration to the cloud and drive businesses with a more conservative or cautious approach to stay as they are.
This is where the hybrid cloud model comes in. The objective of hybrid cloud storage products is to facilitate seamless data services across multiple data centres, co-locations, edge locations and public cloud infrastructures. These solutions can be delivered through various means, including hybrid cloud storage platforms, data transfer appliances, hyperconverged solutions, storage arrays, software-defined storage products or data management solutions. At Tiger Technology, we have pioneered the development of hybrid cloud data file services, specifically designed for on-prem-first hybrid workflows. It is an infrastructure approach that prioritises continuity of on-premises workflows and treats the cloud as an enhancer that can be removed without disruption, rather than a primary enabler of digital transformation. This empowers businesses to combine the benefits of the cloud with the control, security and familiarity of their on-premises storage.
In particular, our software-only hybrid data management solutions help businesses overcome the greatest barriers to cloud adoption – the inability to preserve the organisation and availability of all files – in an easy, admin-friendly way. This approach minimises disruptions in operations and eliminates the risk of data loss, all without requiring additional investments in hardware or virtual appliances.
Looking ahead, we believe that organisations with mission-critical workflows will continue to be the biggest beneficiaries of such services. The integration of AI services has emerged as a prominent trend and AI is inherently cloud-born and cloud-dependent. Consequently, the increasing prominence of AI already drives greater interest and adoption of cloud solutions.
This means that the evolution of hybrid cloud will go beyond addressing traditional on-premises challenges like capacity expansion and data archiving in industries where more conservative attitudes to storage and data management are prevalent. Hybrid cloud will be the means to extract further value from organisational data that is set to grow exponentially. The manufacturing industry is a prime example where businesses need to keep their on-premises infrastructure as well as adopt cloud-based AI technology to improve efficiency, enhance product quality and heighten employee safety.
The adoption of cloud-based AI and business intelligence solutions is empowering the energy and utilities sector as well, as it drives the transition towards a greener and more environmentally conscious world by making data-driven decisions to enhance energy efficiency and reduce waste.
Even the healthcare sector has already begun to embrace cloud services to not only optimise the allocation of patient data, such as medical records, but also to benefit from the ability of AI tools to analyse large volumes of patient data, detect patterns, predict outcomes and enhance medication management and drug discovery.
Despite the increasing appeal of cloud-based AI services, sectors where mission-critical deployments are commonplace are unlikely to abandon their on-prem-first approach in the near future. Therefore, we anticipate significant growth in the hybrid cloud market as it serves as a bridge between on-premises infrastructure and the cloud, enabling the seamless integration of AI. As a leading hybrid cloud file data services company, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of this market, facilitating the transition and providing innovative solutions for organisations seeking to leverage both on-premises and cloud resources.
Alexander Lefterov is co-founder and CEO of Tiger Technology
This article was originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription