Cloud computing is evolving to offer new ways businesses run. One of them is a hybrid cloud. Flexera’s 2022 report states that 80% of enterprises embrace a hybrid cloud strategy. The acceptance rate continues to rise – with 98% of companies planning to use this environment. Thus, the hybrid cloud market is predicted to reach $128 billion by 2025.
Why is the hybrid cloud model so popular? Because it offers the advantages of both concepts – the power and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud coupled with the security and predictability of the private infrastructure. This way, you become a cloud-enabled company without giving up on-premise data centers.
As interest and investment in hybrid cloud solutions grow, your hybrid cloud awareness should keep up. Review this overview guide to understand the hybrid cloud approach and determine if hybrid cloud services are right for your company and your customers.
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A hybrid cloud definition partly clarifies things: “hybrid” usually means something that consists of different elements or components from different sources. Accordingly, a hybrid cloud is a computing model that converges one or more environments through a network connection.
A hybrid cloud can combine on-premises and cloud service provider resources or cloud platforms and services without a local component. Extended, it can span multiple heterogeneous on-premises infrastructures such as private cloud, servers, containers, and virtualized infrastructure, like public clouds from various cloud providers.
These diverse cloud components are not in silos but well-connected and integrated to deliver seamless processing power. Proper hybrid cloud integration makes managing and monitoring the entire cloud infrastructure easier and ensures seamless data and application portability.
Each hybrid cloud environment contains the following components:
a. Centralized IAM across environments
b. Integrated network with segmentation
c. Resource management
d. Monitoring solutions
e. Data governance tools
These components are the most common way to build a hybrid cloud infrastructure. It implies multiple iterations of middleware to connect various clouds in the system. Vendors like Google or AWS offer preconfigured VPNs for easy integration with other clouds. Creating a hybrid network is best suited when organizations have legacy systems and opt for the cloud for newer apps.
An alternative way to build a hybrid cloud is developing and deploying small, portable, loosely coupled apps that run in any environment. That means that underlying hardware and operating systems are made uniform instead of focusing on connecting various environments. It eliminates the need for complex APIs to connect. The app’s fluidity makes it easier to move across the components.
This hybrid cloud method relies largely on microservices and enables seamless integration between the development and DevOps teams. That is a more advanced approach to the hybrid cloud concept and is the best method to build an infrastructure from scratch.
A physical view of an optimal hybrid cloud network
The benefits of hybrid cloud solutions seem clear, given that hybrid cloud combines the better elements of private and public clouds. We list the most significant of them:
A hybrid cloud offers a cost-effective way to scale your operations to cope with surges in demand and accommodate long-term growth. When demand spikes, a hybrid cloud can avoid the huge capital costs of expanding your infrastructure and pay only for the cloud resources you use. Leveraging the cloud’s pay-for-what-you-use cost models shift expenditures from costly CapEx to OpEx.
The hybrid cloud model provides business continuity and mitigates potential downtime and resulting costs. It helps you back up (by replicating business-critical data to the cloud) and assures scalability in the event of a massive spike in demand. As computing demands fluctuate, the company is safe from overburdening its private servers (which could cause slow services or downtime). The cloud will scale to absorb the need. The above factors also apply to latency; through the hybrid cloud model, you reduce the time it takes for data to move.
Centralized hybrid cloud management makes it easier to implement strong technical security measures such as encryption, access control, automation, orchestration, and endpoint security to manage risks effectively. The hybrid environment lets security teams standardize redundant cloud storage, an important aspect of disaster recovery and data insurance.
Moreover, the hybrid cloud helps you store locally gathered customer data in public cloud regions that comply with data localization requirements and protect customers’ privacy as required by law.
A hybrid cloud is great for making quick changes as needed, without any shutdowns or even slowdowns. With the right cloud provider, data migration between environments, VMs, or containers is done with a single button, meaning IT teams are more efficient, and users have the best, most consistent experience.
A hybrid cloud delivers options for when and where to deploy workloads and data, which speeds up IT response to changing needs. Using familiar tools and processes, you can leverage public cloud providers’ instant flexibility and near-real-time scaling.
A hybrid cloud model helps you increase your speed to market by optimizing IT performance and providing the agility needed to meet changing business demands. Because you aren’t limited to your private on-premise infrastructure, you can easily expand your workload on the cloud and quickly test, prototype, and launch new products.
With hybrid cloud capabilities, you gain maximum flexibility in finding and implementing best-in-class technologies to support each application workload. The ability to deploy any application in a computing environment that promises the best performance, lowest cost, and most reliable service can create significant competitive advantages. You can expand your access to technology and avoid being locked into a cloud service provider by integrating more than one public cloud into your hybrid cloud solution.
Terms such as hybrid cloud and multi-cloud often use interchangeably. That can get confusing because they can coexist, and such combinations are becoming more and more common. Yet, there are defined differences between the two.
A hybrid cloud can include public and private elements to enable consistent infrastructure and operations across them. A multi-cloud, in turn, comprises more than one public cloud vendor, regardless of whether it is hybrid. Thus cloud structure can be hybrid but not multi-cloud, multi-cloud but not a hybrid, or both hybrid and multi-cloud.
In a multi-cloud environment, you can use the services of multiple public cloud providers, such as Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure. Commonly, they mix to meet different workload needs and realize cost advantages and availability.
Multi-cloud combines multiple cloud computing and storage resources into a single network architecture. For example, you can use Azure for development environments, Google Cloud for analytics, and AWS for DR workloads mixing multiple public clouds.
A hybrid cloud solution is a mixture of private and public cloud infrastructure. The most usual hybrid cloud example is combining an on-premises data center for sensitive data and a public cloud computing environment, such as Google Cloud, for offloading other workloads.
|Concept||Based on private, public cloud, and on-premises infrastructure||Based on multiple public clouds|
|Purpose||Helps create a single, flexible, cost-optimal IT infrastructure||Helps leverage the best cloud technologies available|
|Integrations||On-premises private cloud is almost always integrated to be an extension of the public cloud||No integration between individual clouds|
|Philosophy||All the components of a hybrid cloud typically work together||Different clouds manage separate tasks|
|Data sharing||Cloud data can be shared between them||Cloud-to-cloud data transfer is possible|
|Data security||Data are safe on the cloud, whether it is public or private||Data are kept secure by the public cloud provider|
|Analytics||Concentrate on native performance statistics||Third-party performance analytics should be prioritized|
|Availability||Solely dependent on the in-house team||High availability is one of the driving factors|
|Scalability||Cloud bursting as needed||Highly scalable|
|Cost model||A mix of CapEx and OpEx||OpEx|
|Cost optimization||Build out on-premise cloud hybrid for normal needs, burst to the cloud for seasonal or temporary increases||Different CSPs’ cost points and spot instances matched the workload requirements|
Undoubtedly, the hybrid cloud is a smart solution. Below we show you types of business scenarios when hybrid cloud computing can be most effectively utilized.
Digital transformation often starts with embracing a hybrid cloud environment to transition through migration before jumping into full-scale cloud deployments. Legacy applications and compliance factors can prevent you from completely shutting down private data centers and modernizing your IT infrastructure. A hybrid cloud will allow you to move some of your IT infrastructures to the cloud and keep some applications on-premises.
The hybrid cloud services help you replicate your on-premises workloads and back up data to the cloud. In the event of a data center outage, workloads failover to the cloud environment and function normally using on-demand cloud resources. This use case requires careful implementation to avoid issues like bandwidth consumption and management complexity.
Developing and testing applications in the public cloud is cheaper and faster because there is no need to purchase and set up on-premises physical hardware. It also enables setting up environments on-demand in a self-service model, improving developer productivity. A unified hybrid cloud platform helps adopt Agile and DevOps methodologies and allows development teams to develop once and deploy to all clouds.
Related content: Read our guide to DevOps transformation
You can use highly scalable cloud resources for partial big data analytics and a private cloud to store and secure sensitive information and mission-critical functions behind a firewall.
Нybrid clouds are especially useful for dynamic or highly variable workloads. This strategy is well-known as “cloud bursting” because a workload “bursts” from one cloud to another to meet spikes in demand.
You can take a hybrid approach to assess potential public cloud migrations. Your IT teams can experiment with small cloud deployments and learn to work with providers before fully adopting the public cloud.
Related content: Read our guide to Cloud automation
We have handpicked a few industry verticals where hybrid cloud adoption is taking center stage. Let’s look at each of them listed below.
IoT devices that interconnect organizational communications networks help collect critical data that businesses can use to make informed decisions and strategies. With a hybrid cloud infrastructure, IoT-enabled devices can provide higher performance and better scalability in control and security.
Banking and financial institutions are increasingly adopting hybrid cloud infrastructure. They use a flexible public cloud to develop new applications and a secure private cloud to store sensitive information and process trade orders.
In the healthcare sector, strict data confidentiality is critical. The private cloud architecture provides a high level of data security, while the public cloud enables insurance companies, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders to access critical clinical information anytime, anywhere.
Large volumes of e-commerce transactions can require large amounts of data. In addition, unpredictable workloads can also arise from sales spikes during holidays and other seasonal peaks. Hybrid cloud infrastructure offers e-commerce businesses the scalability and security they need.
The hybrid cloud infrastructure’s public portion opens up a new path for government agencies to quickly and cheaply host new online applications and services versus in-house data centers. With the early adoption of hybrid infrastructure, the government can store its sensitive data locally and move everything else to the public cloud.
The hybrid cloud will evolve in the coming years, and technology will play a key role. Automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are already being introduced into cloud platforms, changing how the cloud is managed and supported.
Before choosing a hybrid cloud model, you must understand how this transformation will affect your business. Moving to the cloud is not just a technological advancement; it is a complete mindset change that affects the entire company, from technology and processes to people and skills.
Wherever you are on your journey to hybrid cloud, Relevant is ready to help. We’re a software development company uniquely positioned to ensure your digital resilience making complex hybrid cloud environments simple and accessible. Leveraging our cloud expertise through hybrid cloud consulting services, you will enable to:
Contact us if you want to move to a hybrid cloud quickly, with no disruptions to your business.