To put it as simply and concisely as possible, cloud computing is a shared resources space that can function like infrastructure as a service (including the application, data, runtime, middleware, and OS levels). Because these are a shared pool of system resources with low maintenance needs and upkeep cost, they are significantly more cost-effective than the traditional data centers – the primary reason why most businesses and companies have migrated towards cloud computing as their go-to infrastructure and resource management solution.
Broadly Speaking, cloud computing infrastructure can be categorized into public or private clouds. Public clouds function much in the same fashion as a public utility like electricity which is open to all in the form of a subscription-based model. Anybody can leverage the resources for a price, and it has an otherwise unrestricted public access. This is a shared infrastructure paradigm. Public cloud tends to be cheaper, and it has massive scalability – for example, think about the largest player in the race, Amazon AWS. These are usually used for test driving applications and CRM, but also for human resources management and accounting.
On the flip side, private clouds are hosted environments that exclusively cater to the sole subscribing enterprise or body of enterprises. These environments are expensive, but provide more security and more autonomy towards the client, and are great for holding big data analysis and sensitive, critical projects.
Cloud Computing and difficulties Coming from the Integration Side
Many companies these days are using a hybrid cloud environment, i.e. integrating one cloud service with another, to get the best of both worlds. The most common occurrence is that a company develops and then markets the app on the open public cloud with little maintenance hassle, and then based on the performance, they redeploy it to their own private cloud.
There are however certain hybrid integration challenges that become inevitable when running a hybrid cloud environment. The biggest of these are:
- Security threats, in particular, are paramount sources of concern. The point of a private cloud is, in most cases, the tighter safeguard it provides, and data migration from one cloud to another by its nature goes against security, since you are basically exposing secure data to a public cloud. A good integration, to combat this, will make use of IP whitelisting that almost all SaaS applications allow.
- End-user connections can be curated and moderated through a private line in a private cloud, and on-premise environments, therefore, allow adding users as part of the integration, so proper data relation conditions are met. However, when connecting through an integrated public cloud, many SaaS application often exhibit licensing problems regarding adding users. This can be somewhat alleviated by adding core SaaS users first and then mapping out the rest through an external cross-referencing database.
- Every SaaS application has some limitations on its API rates, whether or not declared on the outset via SaaS vendor policies. And all of these exhibit poor performance during high load: the extent of which is often understood only after one exercises the API.
Hybrid Clouds are stepping up their game more and more as time progresses, and are already a sedentary mainstay for many companies and conglomerates as their preferred data management and storage solution over purely public or private clouds. This article is focused on providing an introduction to them, and list thoroughly the challenges one will face when trying to integrate them.