Hybrid cloud infrastructure is the combination of cloud-based resources with on-premises IT infrastructure, where both cloud and on-premises systems are working together to achieve an organization’s IT goals to support business processes. Since on-premises infrastructure is increasingly referred to as a private cloud, hybrid cloud infrastructure typically refers to the combination of public cloud resources with private cloud/on-premises gear. All the elements in hybrid cloud infrastructure have a common orchestration to enable them to work together smoothly.
Hybrid cloud architecture often consists of cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms from hyperscalers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or VMware Cloud. These cloud providers connect to on-premises infrastructure through a broadband wide area network (WAN) connection to facilitate data transfer and migration of workloads to and from cloud provider as is necessary.
In its most basic definition, a hybrid cloud is a collection of cloud-based and on-premises IT resources that work together in concert, offering businesses enhanced agility, and flexibility for workload and data deployment.
Hybrid cloud solutions offer several benefits to the enterprise.
Many organizations today are said to be ‘born in the cloud’, meaning from inception they rely totally on cloud-based infrastructure to support their business goals. There are several terms that are applied to cloud-based systems, including ‘cloud-native’, ‘pure cloud’, and ‘cloud-first’. Here are some attributes of true cloud-based systems.
Cloud-based systems are typically designed solely with cloud deployment in mind. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are obviously cloud-based, however applications that are hosted on IaaS cloud infrastructure can also fall into that category if it meets certain criteria, such as anywhere, anytime, any device access, agile development approach providing frequent updates, high uptime guarantees, and performance SLAs ensuring user satisfaction with mission-critical applications.
Many organizations utilize on-premises infrastructure in a cloud-like fashion; for example standardizing on virtualization, containerization, and development tools that can be managed from a ‘single pane of glass’, whether the cloud infrastructure is in the public cloud or in on-premises infrastructure utilizing a cloud model.
Cloud-based systems provide flexibility, scalability, and agility enabling usage to scale up and down based on demand, and do so rapidly to ensure businesses have the resources needed to maintain a competitive stance in the marketplace, rather than having to order, configure, install, and maintain additional on-premises hardware and software as needs change.
The financial benefits of a true cloud-based system include elimination of maintenance and upgrade costs, as these are borne by the cloud vendor, which also eliminates the need for valuable IT resources to focus on those maintenance processes. By utilizing cloud resources, the business gains efficiency, since there is a single platform for all applications, unlike traditional on-premises based systems which often grow in complexity. A cloud-only focus thus simplifies overall business processes, enabling resources to be focused on activities that add to the bottom line.
One of the greatest benefits of a true cloud solution is its self-service simplicity, which enables DevSecOps teams and users alike tools to instantly provision, configure, and deploy instances of applications and development tools without IT intervention or the need to procure infrastructure for every task.
These are just a few reasons why 94 percent of enterprises currently utilize cloud computing.
Although many organizations first adopted a hybrid cloud infrastructure to overcome shortcomings in their own data centers, there are many areas where hybrid clouds demonstrate their importance, as shown by a recent Everest Group survey stating that 72 percent of organizations describe their cloud strategy as hybrid-first or private-first.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure provides flexibility, scalability, and cost savings in many areas. Any organization that requires off-site backup of enterprise data can simply utilize a public cloud service and eliminate the need for multiple sites or shipping media to a third party like Iron Mountain.
Where the cloud excels in some applications, others thrive on-premises, especially older legacy infrastructure that is not readily re-platformed onto public cloud provider platforms. However, enterprises can begin refactoring those legacy applications with modern coding and deployment models while they continue to operate from private cloud/on-premises servers.
One major benefit of hybrid cloud infrastructure is leveraging public cloud provider service level agreements (SLAs) to offer those same high uptime levels to enterprise users and clients. Again, since private-cloud infrastructure needed to guarantee public-cloud class SLAs is expensive, many organizations will rely on the public cloud to offer the reliability they need.
Finally, by utilizing cloud-based disaster recovery (DR services), businesses can configure frequent snapshots of either virtual or physical servers being protected. Should disaster strike the on-premises infrastructure (or primary cloud IaaS provider), VM snapshots can be spun up creating a backup environment in minutes – and businesses do not start paying for that IaaS infrastructure until it is needed – saving the expense and headache of procuring, maintaining, upgrading, and servicing backup IT infrastructure that is rarely if ever needed.
Hybrid Cloud Architecture
Hybrid Cloud Management
Hybrid Cloud Storage
Private Cloud Solutions