Let’s start with the basics.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure refers to a data center computing environment that uses a combination of on-premises IT infrastructure with public and private cloud services.
Within a hybrid cloud infrastructure, cloud-based resources work with a data center’s on-premises infrastructure to support business processes and achieve an organization’s IT goals.
The mixed computing environment of a hybrid infrastructure includes computing, storage, and service applications and data.
Edge locations can also be considered on-premises for hybrid cloud infrastructures.
Hybrid cloud models offer businesses greater flexibility and more data deployment options as workloads can be moved between public and private IT environments depending on computing needs and changing costs.
Hybrid cloud computing use is currently widespread and growing, as organizations increasingly choose to rely on more than a single public cloud for vital processes and applications.
One important thing to note is that on-premises infrastructure is being increasingly referred to as “private cloud.”
However, traditionally, “private cloud” has referred to a cloud-based infrastructure dedicated to a single user organization. These private clouds can be hosted within an organization’s on-premises data center, at third-party colocation facilities, or via private cloud providers offering private cloud hosting services.
For our purposes, we will define private cloud as computing services offered on a private internal network or over the internet to select users rather than the general public.
Another important distinction to make is that hybrid cloud and multicloud strategies are significantly different.
In a multicloud environment, different clouds are treated as totally separate platforms with their own sets of applications and management.
In a hybrid cloud environment, all elements function under a common orchestration that allows a single computing platform to span and communicate across multiple clouds. A hybrid cloud creates a single operating environment for all resources.
As mentioned, many hybrid cloud systems utilized cloud-based IaaS platforms to connect on-premises infrastructure through a broadband wide area network (WAN) connection to facilitate data transfer and management of workloads across platforms as necessary.
Different IaaS providers offer unique benefits and functionalities that can be utilized based on an organization’s specific needs.
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure is coalescing traditional data center architectures (compute, storage, and network) with intelligent software to create a flexible foundation that allows you to simplify your IT operations.
At its core, a hybrid cloud approach offers organizations the flexibility to operate the best environment for their data and application needs.
Hybrid cloud infrastructures blend traditional systems with the latest cloud technology, allowing organizations to migrate workloads between traditional and vendor infrastructures when necessary.
One of the greatest benefits of hybrid architectures is the opportunity to build on existing on and off-premises infrastructures. Beyond allowing organizations to avoid the costs of building their own data centers, hybrid cloud systems do not require the replacement of previously made investments.
Many legacy applications are unsuitable for the public cloud due to regulatory prohibitions, cost, technology, and other factors. A hybrid cloud approach allows organizations to leverage on–premises servers and legacy applications while taking advantage of public cloud offerings.
Adopting a hybrid cloud approach allows organizations access to new and developing resources and technologies without having to replace existing infrastructure. Adding a public cloud provider to existing on-premises infrastructure means expanding computing capacity without increasing data center expenses, actually increasing ROI.
And a core feature of hybrid cloud systems is their ability to run workloads in whichever environment is most cost-effective. Because public cloud resources can be spun up or down virtually on demand, cloud resources can be paid for on an as-needed basis.
Arguably the number one benefit of a hybrid cloud system is agility. These systems can adapt and change continuously based on the needs of a business. Virtualization allows hybrid clouds to assign tasks to the optimized system to perform them.
Cloudbursting optimizes cloud resources to automatically manage fluctuations in demand.
And at its most basic, a hybrid cloud simply offers more resource options via public cloud providers vs. what an organization can cost-effectively build into its own physical data center.
When demand exceeds capacity, hybrid cloud data centers can burst applications to the public cloud to access extra scale and capacity.
Workloads or components of workloads can be run redundantly in both public and private environments.
Hybrid infrastructures give users the ability to control whether sensitive data and applications are hosted within private or public systems, clarifying and ensuring compliance for regulated applications.
In many highly regulated industries, organizations are subject to restrictions on where data can reside. This limits the amount of workload that can be assigned to a public cloud.
With a hybrid cloud infrastructure, data can be stored in a private environment while operations and applications are executed in the public cloud. Allowing organizations to meet the stricter regulatory requirements of public clouds while achieving some of the added flexibility of private data hosting and storage.
Hybrid cloud infrastructures have become nearly ubiquitous in the world of big data, and it’s no surprise why.
Adopting hybrid cloud solutions can consolidate IT resources, services, and functionality, automate scale-out and provisioning, optimize processes and unify management, and more effectively manage the deployment of applications in both public and private clouds.