Friday, 24 September 2021
Today, industrial companies like mining, manufacturing, and oil and gas are facing unprecedented data challenges amidst industrial modernization. Hybrid cloud emerges as a viable solution for such companies to deal with increasing data processing needs without compromising operationality, security and compliance.
In this article, you will learn what hybrid cloud is and how your company stands to benefit from adopting the solution.
Hybrid cloud is a data infrastructure that spans two or more cloud environments. It features a seamless interconnection between one or more public clouds with a private cloud. The setup may also involve other on-premise digital assets and edge computing devices.
With the hybrid cloud, data can be orchestrated between on-premise, public cloud and edge from a single managed environment. Such an integration promotes workload portability and interoperability as the hybrid cloud model eliminates the traditional boundaries of localised data infrastructures.
There is a distinction between private, public and hybrid cloud.
Private cloud refers to data infrastructure accessible within the local network, while public cloud indicates non-exclusive connectivity from the internet. By itself, both private and public clouds are marked with advantages and disadvantages.
Meanwhile, hybrid cloud being the convergence of both private and public clouds, inherits the best traits of both infrastructures such as security, scalability, reliability, and lower cost.
Spurred by trends like Industrial 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), many industrial companies are looking for novel ways to develop data-driven strategies as they try to cope with the demands of a digital economy. Manufacturing and other industrial firms are automating more hence are inundated with an immense volume of data that pushes legacy systems to the limit.
Companies in upstream industries like mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing operate machines and sensors that produce possibly trillions of data points per year. Without a meaningful way to consolidate, safeguard and analyze the data, industrial companies utilizing on-premise solutions find themselves lagging behind cloud-ready businesses in terms of data intelligence.
To remain competitive in the digital economy, industrial companies need a cohesive plan in adopting cloud solutions instead of a fragmented upgrade-as-needed approach. Companies can only benefit from cloud-drive approaches like predictive analytics, business intelligence and machine learning when they manage to bridge the gap between on-premise resources and cloud.
Going full-on cloud may not be the answer for all companies. For some, there is a need to balance regulatory compliance, cost, and operational performance with the scalability, intelligence and flexibility offered by cloud technologies.
Therefore, taking the middle path with the hybrid cloud is often the best choice.
Most industrial companies would have invested a sizable amount of capital into machinery, equipment and facilities with on-premise connectivity. Despite not being cloud-ready, these assets remain functional and it’s not financially viable to replace them with cloud-ready systems.
By adopting a hybrid cloud model, companies can scale and extend data capacity on the public cloud storage. Only transactional data is pushed to the cloud while control and machine protocols are propagated through the local network and edge. This setup becomes pertinent when companies face an influx of seasonal data that could overwhelm their local system.
Instead of committing a huge sum to replace legacy systems or to purchase additional servers, companies can invest in innovative data monetization strategies with the hybrid cloud model.
Shifting to the hybrid cloud unlocks business intelligence and AI/ML capability in heavy industries. Companies can leverage on the cloud processing power for big data analytics to predict trends or patterns that affect day-to-day operations at a shorter turnaround time.
Visualizations and analytics from the harnessed data are useful for making operational decisions. For example, by installing an intelligent system that is constantly learning, data reading from equipment sensors can be used to identify errors on the go and implement best corrective measures.
In the oil and gas industry, a shift to hybrid cloud enables sophisticated and heavy-duty data analysis to be performed on cloud which can potentially reduce drilling time and increase the efficiency of production pumps. Meanwhile, mining companies can make use of consolidated data to determine potential mining locations and enhance safety measures.
Predictive maintenance also becomes possible with cloud-enabled AI/ML capability and coupled with edge computing. With the gathered data, intelligent systems can detect breakdown patterns before it happens and switch to preventive maintenance in real-time. This eliminates risks of sudden machine outages, which can be a costly disruption.
Some smart industrial systems rely on low-latency networks for operational safety and responsiveness yet needing the storage resiliency. This rules out a full cloud implementation as intelligent processing needs to happen closer to client. Public networks can sometimes be congested or suffer from distance to data core resulting in increased latency. Instead, the hybrid cloud environment ensures that the critical part of the system can continue to operate on the local network, thus ensuring responsiveness and safety.
There are also industries which are subjected to regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions which require them to exert due care and attention in any cloud implementation. Hybrid cloud offers the solution of digital transformation without breaching data residency and protection laws. For example, the healthcare and finance sectors are regulated by strict data protection laws. By storing confidential data on-premise, these institutions can reduce the risk of privacy breaches while still benefit from the flexibility of cloud for non-critical data storage.
One of the appeals of the hybrid cloud is its ability to increase the resiliency of local systems. In this case, the cloud acts as backup storage or runs a concurrent workload along with on-premise infrastructure.
With all things at stake, shifting towards hybrid cloud requires thorough assessment to balance existing infrastructure and cloud efficiency. Nevertheless, a systematic approach can be considered to make the process more manageable.
Celcom have been standing with Malaysian businesses for more than 30 years to deliver the widest mobile network nationwide. As a one-stop digital solutions provider, we bring a comprehensive and end-to-end service ranging from connectivity to innovative business solutions that is tailored to simplify the digitalisation of your business and enhance productivity.