Hybrid cloud uses a combination of two or more clouds using on-premises, private cloud, and third-party, public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure, with orchestration between the public cloud and private cloud platforms. 

Hybrid clouds enable workloads to transition between private clouds and public clouds as the organizations’ computing needs and costs change. 

Consequently, hybrid clouds offer companies more flexibility and more data deployment options.

Every hybrid cloud should:

  • Consolidate IT resources
  • Scale and provision of new resources quickly
  • Connect multiple computers through a network
  • Have the ability to transition workloads between environments
  • Incorporate one, unified management tool
  • Orchestrate processes with the help of automation.

Building a hybrid cloud environment is different for every company as there’s no one-size-fits-all hybrid cloud approach. The way a company organizes its cloud resources and builds a hybrid cloud will be unique because the way an organization uses private cloud services and public cloud services depends on its needs and priorities. 

To determine an appropriate balance between public clouds and private clouds, an organization should take into consideration a number of factors, including its IT budget, the strength of its internet infrastructure in the areas where it operates, and whether it is required to comply with any regulations. 

In addition, the company should allow for applications that can’t be easily migrated to the cloud, as well as cloud-based applications that can’t run on-premises.

Deploying a hybrid cloud environment is a good option for a company that wants to ensure the privacy and security of its data while being able to quickly respond to market changes. 

A well-designed integrated and managed hybrid cloud can be as secure as traditional on-premises IT infrastructure. Although there are some unique hybrid cloud security challenges, including data migration, increased complexity, and a larger attack surface, having multiple environments can better protect against security risks. 

That’s because the interconnected environments allow organizations to decide where to place sensitive data based on their requirements and enable security teams to standardize redundant cloud storage to supplement their disaster recovery efforts.

Many vendors provide hybrid cloud solutions. Public cloud operators, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Rackspace offer software (some through third-parties) to make it easier for organizations to deploy hybrid clouds.

AWS Outposts offers companies the same AWS hardware infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to build and run their applications on-premises and in the cloud for a consistent hybrid experience. 

For Microsoft Azure deployments, Azure Stack lets companies run Azure applications from the public Azure cloud while using data that are hosted on-premise. 

In 2018, IBM’s $34 billion purchase of Red Hat was widely viewed as a bet on the future of hybrid cloud, as companies integrating cloud resources to replace or supplement on-premises tools were threatening the future of IBM.

Other cloud service providers offer more tailored tools, such as Fujitsu Hybrid Cloud Services, which combines Fujitsu’s private cloud services with Microsoft Azure. 

And the Japanese telecom company NTT offers hybrid cloud solutions that aim to help companies comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regulations.