What Separates Hybrid Cloud and ‘True’ Hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid cloud plays a central role in many of today’s emerging innovations—most notably artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies that create new business value and improve operational efficiencies. But getting there requires data, and a lot of it. More than that, though, harnessing the potential of these technologies requires quality data—without it, the output from an AI implementation can end up inefficient or wholly inaccurate. Something that Cloudera and Foundry research found 36% of IT leaders said ranked as a top challenge.

To attain that level of data quality, a majority of business and IT leaders have opted to take a hybrid approach to data management, moving data between cloud, on-premises -or a combination of the two – to where they can best use it for analytics or feeding AI models. The challenge is not solved, though, by simply adopting a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Meaningful results, and a scalable, flexible data architecture demand a ‘true’ hybrid cloud approach to data management. 

What do we mean by ‘true’ hybrid? Let’s dive deeper. 

Reshaping Data Management in the Cloud

There are a handful of factors that elevate hybrid cloud strategy to the level of ‘true’ hybrid, but for our purposes, we’ll zero in on some of the most important facets of this approach. One of the main pieces that separates ‘true’ hybrid is the ability to operate as a single platform across both data center and cloud, as well as at the edge. Although a step in the right direction, supporting multiple clouds alone does not provide a complete solution for organizations with an existing data center investment or those needing some data and analytics to remain on-premises. In a true approach, data and workloads can move freely and multi-directionally between environments. This form of hybrid also goes a level deeper than one may find in a standard hybrid cloud, accounting for the entirety of the data lifecycle, whether that’s the point of ingestion, warehousing, or machine learning—even when that end-to-end data lifecycle is split between entirely different environments. 

Data comes in many forms. Understanding and handling structured, semi-structured, or unstructured data is a core part of what makes a hybrid approach valuable. ‘True’ hybrid incorporates data stores that are capable of maintaining and harnessing data, no matter the format. One element that is essential to achieving ‘true’ hybrid is open data lakehouses, capable of managing those vast swaths of unstructured or semi-structured data and making it available in the right environments for analysis or AI models. These lakehouses greatly reduce complexity that can stack up in traditional environments over time, resulting in a much simpler experience and workflow for employees. 

Adopting the right hybrid cloud approach opens up visibility and boosts data access which will, in turn, generate business value. Take, for example, our work supporting LGIM, empowering the company to develop the flexibility to respond to market shifts, tap into new opportunities, and bolster ESG efforts. Working together, Cloudera helped the company build a strong foundation to generate even more value from its data for the future. 

Building a Unified Approach to Data Governance

But all that data can only be leveraged properly if the people in charge can see it, understand it, and know quickly where and how it’s being deployed. The right approach includes implementing a solution that delivers a single, common control plane no matter where data is, what state it’s in, or how it’s being deployed in analytics. That also means ‘true’ hybrid allows organizations to avoid sprawling sets of tools that only work in specific environments. With a single, consistent view of all data, this hybrid approach provides a clearer picture of performance, resource allocation, and expenses end-to-end for data and analytics. That cross-functionality inherent in ‘true’ hybrid cloud also brings a crucial boost to data governance. With data constantly in motion in a hybrid environment, this approach helps increase visibility, making it easier to apply rules to data and maintain compliance as it moves from where it is born to where it is needed. 

Embracing a ‘true’ hybrid cloud approach isn’t just about solving immediate challenges or even solely about improving data governance. Change is a constant when it comes to the state of data architecture, and the pace of innovation is only getting faster as time goes on. With that, we’re seeing the importance of ‘true’ hybrid cloud as organizations begin to shift, favoring data architecture that’s highly flexible, scalable, and adaptable.  

Learn more about how Cloudera can support your hybrid data management needs.

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