Hybrid cloud refers to a model or approach in information technology (IT) infrastructure architecture. Although definitions for hybrid cloud vary, it usually refers to the combined usage of at least one public cloud and one private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. For this reason, the modern hybrid cloud is not a product, but rather an architectural model that foregrounds portability and readiness of workloads across different environments. This emphasizes the ongoing trend of organizations worldwide adopting hybrid cloud technologies and services to combine the public cloud computing power with the security associated with private clouds or infrastructure.
How does hybrid cloud work?
Because hybrid cloud models are not a specific product, their architectures are individual and can benefit a variety of use-cases. However, regardless of the specific setup, all hybrid cloud architectures share some key features. Among these are that private and public cloud components remain distinct entities while working together to allow workloads to be interconnected and deployed across these environments. This interconnectivity is made possible through data virtualization, application programming interfaces (APIs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or wide area networks (WANs).
Hybrid cloud advantages
Because hybrid cloud uses elements of different environments, several advantages are utilized to benefit individual use cases. For example, using both private and public infrastructures efficiently make the hybrid cloud model interoperable and allows organizations to migrate to the cloud in phases. This feature also adds security to the model, as certain resources can be firewalled by remaining on-premises, such as user registries, for example. For this reason, the hybrid cloud model is especially interesting for end-users in insurance, finance, or healthcare industries, as well as governments.
Further, the possibility of using open-source and third-party services that are available renders the architecture style portable and reduces vendor lock-in. Overall, efficiently leveraging a hybrid cloud model can lead to reduced cost, more system reliability, and flexibility, as well as an improved ability to manage and share data while creating a better end-customer experience. These features underscore that cloud computing can be regarded as a strategic imperative for businesses.
Hybrid cloud key players
Among the key players making hybrid cloud adoptions possible are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. However, there are also many other companies like IBM and Oracle in the market offering hybrid cloud platforms and solutions, often tailored to specific use-cases. Importantly, these vendors develop different tools and technologies needed to deploy, secure, and manage modern hybrid cloud infrastructure and applications.
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Lionel Sujay Vailshery
Research expert covering the consumer electronics industry