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What is Hybrid Cloud? Everything You Need to Know

Debarpita Banerjee Published on : 07 March 2024
What is Hybrid Cloud Everything You Need to Know

The popularity of Hybrid cloud is soaring day by day, thanks to its unique ability to blend the agility and scalability of public clouds with the security and control of on-premises infrastructure. The global hybrid cloud market is expected to reach $332.3 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3% till 2025. 

This rapid growth in market size is due to the fast adoption of Hybrid cloud by businesses worldwide. The 2023 Flexera State of the Cloud report found that 72% of organizations and 82% of enterprise-level organizations have a hybrid cloud strategy in place. The increasing demand for flexibility, scalability, and cost optimization, along with concerns over data security and regulatory compliance, are driving this immense growth of hybrid cloud worldwide.

So, if your organization is interested in hybrid cloud too, this blog is for you! We will help you understand what a hybrid cloud is, how it works, why and where it is used, its pros, cons, and more. Let’s get started!

What is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud is essentially a mix-and-match approach to computing, storage, and services, where you blend your existing on-premises infrastructure (like your own data center) with the resources and services offered by private cloud and public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. 

In a nutshell, using a Hybrid Cloud means combining multiple computing and storage environments to create a powerful IT infrastructure that is way more cost-effective and efficient than just one public cloud infrastructure. 

A hybrid cloud often combines the following:

  • Private cloud: This is a cloud environment dedicated solely to your organization, often built within your data center. 
  • Public cloud: This is the “shared kitchen” of the cloud world, offered by giants like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. You rent resources like computing power, storage, and software on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • On-premises infrastructure: These are your own servers, storage, and networking equipment located in your physical data center

 

How Does Hybrid Cloud Work?

The operations of a Hybrid Cloud depend on the coordination between private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise resources. That is why, integration, orchestration, and coordination play the most important role in any Hybrid Cloud architecture.

Let’s break down the Hybrid Cloud architecture into four key layers, to understand it’s working.

1. Infrastructure and Resource Layer

This layer forms the foundation of the Hybrid cloud, housing your on-premises infrastructure, private cloud environment, and connections to public cloud providers. Hence, this is where you will find all your servers, storage arrays, networking equipment, virtualized resources, etc. 

2. Connectivity and Integration Layer

This layer bridges the gap between environments, enabling communication and resource sharing between them. It comprises three different components:

  • Networking: Secure connections like LANs, WANs, and VPNs provide the physical pathways for data flow.
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): APIs allow applications and services to exchange data and commands across different cloud environments.
  • Management Tools: Orchestration platforms provide centralized control and visibility into hybrid cloud resources and workloads.

 

3. Data Management and Security Layer

This layer ensures data integrity and security across diverse environments. It involves the following processes:

  • Data Encryption: Data in transit and at rest is encrypted to protect against unauthorized access.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Controls who can access resources and what actions they can perform.
  • Security Policies: Standardized security protocols across all environments to maintain consistent protection.

 

4. Application and Workload Orchestration Layer

This layer dictates how applications and workloads interact with resources across different environments. It involves the following:

  • Containerization: Applications are packaged in portable containers that can run on any suitable computing platform (public, private, on-premises).
  • Workload Management: Tools automate the migration and scaling of workloads between environments based on performance, demand, and cost considerations.
  • Cloud-native Applications: Applications designed to leverage the agility and elasticity of cloud environments.

 

The orchestration process plays a crucial role in the working of the Hybrid Cloud. It involves the following:

  • Workload placement: Hybrid cloud platforms analyze requirements and determine the optimal environment (public, private, or on-premises) for each workload based on factors like cost, performance, and security.
  • Dynamic scaling: Resources can be automatically scaled up or down to meet demand, optimizing costs and performance.
  • Application migration: Workloads can be seamlessly migrated between environments for maintenance, disaster recovery, or other purposes.

Pro tip: You can implement cloud migration optimization to simplify application shifts between environments.

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Why Is Hybrid Cloud Used?

Hybrid cloud offers a seamless blend of agility, scalability, and control, which cannot be offered by any other IT infrastructure. Its uniqueness makes it attractive for organizations looking for advanced scalability without compromising on security.

There are multiple reasons why Hybrid Cloud is predominantly used by many organizations. Some of them are:

  • Cost Optimization: The Hybrid Cloud uses the most suitable environment for each task. For example, it used the public cloud for bursts of demand, on-premises for sensitive data, and the private cloud for a tailored experience. Hence, it optimizes expenditure without affecting the functionality.
  • Boost agility: Hybrid cloud helps organizations scale resources up or down quickly in response to changing needs without being stuck with one fixed infrastructure.
  • Maintain control: Hybrid cloud keeps critical data and applications on-premises if you need extra security or regulatory compliance.
  • Benefit from innovation: Hybrid cloud lets you access the latest cloud technologies and services from public cloud providers while leveraging your existing infrastructure.

 

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud can provide a powerful and flexible solution for optimizing costs, scaling resources, and enhancing security in today’s dynamic IT landscape. Some of the most prominent benefits of using Hybrid Cloud are as follows:

  • Public cloud resources can be used for peak workloads or temporary projects, avoiding expensive over-provisioning on-premises.
  • By offloading less critical workloads to the cloud, organizations can optimize their on-premises hardware utilization and potentially downsize infrastructure, reducing associated costs. It also reduces upfront investment in on-premise infrastructure. 
  • Sensitive data can be kept on-premises while leveraging the cloud for non-critical workloads. Hence, it helps meet data privacy regulations and compliance requirements.
  • Many cloud providers offer robust security solutions for hybrid environments, including encryption, identity and access management, and threat detection tools.
  • Organizations retain full control over applications and data hosted on-premises, providing an additional layer of security and peace of mind.
  • Data can be replicated across multiple cloud and on-premises locations, ensuring continuity and availability in case of natural disasters or outages.

 

Where is Hybrid Cloud Used?

Hybrid cloud deployment finds applications across diverse industries and use cases. Let’s take you through some prominent examples.

1. Streaming Industry

Hybrid cloud is widely used by the streaming industry for several reasons:

  • Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness: Public cloud services offer on-demand scalability. This allows streaming platforms to handle surges in viewership without significant upfront investment.
  • Content Delivery and Management: Public cloud storage and CDN (Content Delivery Network) services can efficiently deliver content to users globally with minimal latency.
  • Personalization and Analytics: Private clouds can securely store sensitive user data and facilitate data processing for personalization and user behavior analytics.
  • Security and Compliance: The hybrid cloud allows streaming services to maintain stricter control over sensitive data like payment information in private clouds while leveraging the public cloud for content delivery.

Examples of streaming services using hybrid cloud include Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

2. Healthcare
  • Hospitals can leverage the cloud for non-critical data while keeping sensitive patient information on-premises for regulatory compliance.
  • Public cloud resources can be used to analyze large datasets and run simulations, scaling dynamically based on research needs.
  • Hybrid cloud can support flexible and secure delivery of telehealth services and real-time data collection from remote monitoring devices.

 

3.  Finance
  • Hybrid cloud facilitates advanced analytics and AI-powered solutions for fraud detection while keeping sensitive financial data securely on-premises.
  • Public cloud resources can be used for high-frequency trading and real-time market analysis, requiring low latency and scalability.
  • Finance organizations can securely store and manage customer data on-premises while leveraging cloud-based CRM applications for efficient customer interactions.

 

4. Manufacturing
  • Hybrid cloud can manage and analyze data from connected devices on factory floors while ensuring secure storage and control of critical operational data.
  • Public cloud resources can be used for real-time tracking and optimization of supply chains, promoting agility and efficiency.

 

5. Retail
  • Public cloud resources can dynamically scale to handle traffic spikes during peak sales periods, ensuring a smooth customer experience.
  • Utilize cloud-based analytics to gain insights from customer data and deliver targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Real-time inventory tracking and analysis across distributed locations can be achieved through a hybrid cloud approach.

 

6. Other Industries

Hybrid cloud deployments are also making strides in education, government, media & entertainment, and many other sectors, driving innovation and optimizing operations across diverse needs.

Downsides of Hybrid Cloud That You Need to Be Aware of

Every technology has both pros and cons and so is the case with Hybrid Cloud. We discussed the benefits of Hybrid Cloud a few minutes ago, but there are some downsides of it too, that you must be aware of:

  • Hybrid cloud necessitates managing on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud infrastructures together, which requires specialized skills and expertise. 
  • Depending on the chosen public cloud provider and specific services used, there’s a risk of vendor lock-in, making it difficult or expensive to switch providers in the future.
  • Maintaining high-bandwidth and secure connections between different cloud environments can incur additional network expenses.

Read our blog on Hybrid Cloud Strategy to know more about how you can derive the best results from your Hybrid Cloud setup. 

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FAQs

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that blends public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises infrastructure into a single, unified system. This allows organizations to leverage the strengths of each environment to meet their specific needs.

Here are some of the most significant advantages of the hybrid cloud:

  1. Agility and Scalability: Hybrid clouds provide organizations with the ability to scale their resources up or down as needed. This is particularly beneficial for businesses experiencing fluctuating demands.
  2. Control and Flexibility: Hybrid clouds offer organizations greater control over their data and applications. This flexibility allows organizations to tailor their cloud environment to meet their unique requirements and security considerations.
  3. Cost Optimization: By strategically placing workloads in the most suitable environment, hybrid clouds can help organizations optimize their IT spending.
  4. Improved Security and Risk Management: Hybrid clouds offer the potential for enhanced security by enabling organizations to segregate sensitive data and workloads in the private cloud.

You should consider the following points when adopting a hybrid cloud approach:

  • Define business goals: Align cloud strategy with overall objectives.
  • Assess workloads: Determine suitability for public or private cloud.
  • Ensure interoperability: Facilitate seamless data transfer and application management.
  • Prioritize security and compliance: Implement robust security and access controls and adhere to regulations.
  • Manage cloud costs: Monitor expenses and optimize resource allocation.
  • Develop cloud expertise: Address skill gaps through training or hiring.
  • Establish governance: Define roles, access protocols, and disaster recovery plans.
  • Select the right cloud provider: Choose a partner with aligned features and support.

Written by: Debarpita Banerjee

Debarpita is a Content Writer with Muvi. With around 2 years of experience in content creation, she has worked across industries like SaaS, EdTech, eLearning, AR-VR, and Metaverse. She believes in delivering content that can be of some value to the readers. In her free time, she likes to try her hand at website and app development.

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