Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. By allowing workloads to move between private and public clouds as computing needs and costs change, hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility and more data deployment options. Many adopters of cloud computing rely on the public cloud, in which businesses or individuals outsource application and/or infrastructure hosting to a third party, like Amazon, Microsoft, or Google. While this model is strong and growing, it doesn’t address every use case. Organizations are also bringing cloud computing in-house with a private cloud model, often to address security and governance concerns.
Hybrid cloud architecture
Establishing a hybrid cloud requires the availability of:
- Public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform;
- The construction of a private cloud, either on-premises or through a hosted private cloud provider;
- And adequate wide area network (WAN) connectivity between those two environments.
Typically, an enterprise will choose a public cloud to access compute instances, storage resources or other services, such as big data analytics clusters or serverless compute capabilities. However, an enterprise has no direct control over the architecture of a public cloud, so, for hybrid cloud deployment, it must architect its private cloud to achieve compatibility with the desired public cloud or clouds. This involves the implementation of suitable hardware within the data center, including servers, storage, a local area network (LAN) and load balancers.
The key to creating a successful hybrid cloud is to select hypervisor and cloud software layers that are compatible with the desired public cloud, ensuring proper interoperability with that public cloud’s application programming interfaces (APIs) and services. The implementation of compatible software and services also enables instances to migrate seamlessly between private and public clouds. A developer can also create advanced applications using a mix of services and resources across the public and private platforms.
Hybrid cloud benefits
Hybrid cloud computing enables an enterprise to deploy an on-premises private cloud to host sensitive or critical workloads and use a third-party public cloud provider to host less-critical resources, such as test and development workloads.
A hybrid cloud is also particularly valuable for dynamic or highly changeable workloads. For example, a transactional order entry system that experiences significant demand spikes around the holiday season is a good hybrid cloud candidate. The application could run in a private cloud, but use cloud bursting to access additional computing resources from a public cloud when computing demands spike.