What is a Hybrid Cloud Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

Posted by Dustin Keib, Head of Cloud Enablement

Dec 10, 2019


There’s no doubt — you’ve heard (or read) the phrase “hybrid cloud.” But what does it really mean? The cloud computing world is full of lingo and solutions, often making it confusing to find the right strategy for your organization.

But we’re here to help. Below, we’ll take a look at what a hybrid cloud is, the differences between the public and private clouds, and what it takes to build a hybrid cloud strategy:

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud

Before we dive into the details of hybrid cloud architecture and creating a hybrid cloud strategy, it’s important to understand the components of cloud infrastructure services

What Is a Hybrid Cloud Solution? 

First, there’s no single, accepted definition for “hybrid cloud.” It can best be explained as a computing infrastructure that’s made up of two or more environments, which could include on-premise bare metal servers and/or private or public cloud services. 

These components work together to create a hybrid cloud architecture that utilizes each platform’s features and benefits. As the market transforms from primarily on-premise to a cloud-native model, it’s important to understand both the public and private cloud in order to create the most effective strategy for your organization. 

Here’s a quick comparison of each type of cloud and how they operate: 

The Public Cloud

A public cloud is what people typically mean when they are talking about taking their computing capabilities “to the cloud.” This process allows organizations to move their computing infrastructure, data, and services away from the traditional on-premise servers and access these servers via the internet, through cloud service providers like Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Within a public cloud, you will often share the provider’s physical hardware with other customers. Dedicated servers, however, are available through many major cloud providers.

This allows you to harness immense computing power and choose from a variety of services, including compute, big data, storage, networking, and other tools that allow you to build and deliver nearly any application, large or small. You can manage these entirely in-house — or turn to the expertise of a cloud managed services provider to oversee these services, including backup and disaster recovery, so you can maintain your focus on in-house tasks. 

These solutions are typically offered on a subscription basis or on a pay-as-you-go usage-based model. This ongoing (operational) model is favored by many organizations over an upfront (capital) expenditure, which can constrain costs if careful governance is put into place early in the process.

The public cloud delivers a reliable, secure, and accessible cloud platform that has the ability to support dynamic workloads for organizations of all sizes. 

The Private Cloud

For some organizations, sharing infrastructure might not be the right answer — but they still want to enjoy the benefits of the cloud. That’s where the private cloud comes in. 

While the private cloud is similar to the public cloud in many ways, the primary difference is that the organization will be responsible for delivering the underlying infrastructure — storage, networking, power, and any other basic data center services. For this additional effort and cost, the main advantage is that your organization would be the only one using its resources. This helps protect your organization’s sensitive data, ensuring it is only accessible to your organization. It is important to note that when you control your own cloud, you are responsible for your own cloud security.

Private clouds can be hosted on-site or can be located in your colocation provider’s data center. In the latter scenario, the colocation provider would operate the underlying infrastructure such as network or power, while your staff would be responsible for a number of things, including: 

  • The hypervisor (i.e. VMware).
  • Operating systems and applications.  
  • Storage. 
  • Virtual Machines (VM). 

Regardless of where you choose to deploy the private cloud, the infrastructure and storage capacity can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Building a Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure

Creating a well-defined hybrid cloud strategy focuses on combining the best parts of your public cloud infrastructure with those of a private cloud in order to provide your organization with a completely customized cloud computing experience.

In a hybrid cloud environment, the public and private cloud computing infrastructures remain separate entities, but they are connected through technology. This allows you to transfer data in addition to sharing applications and services. 

While the use cases vary at each organization, a hybrid cloud strategy allows you to build a cloud computing environment that is unique to your organization’s digital needs today — and scale it for the future.

Ensuring a Safe Environment for Your Organization

Whether you utilize a hybrid cloud strategy or another environment, it’s crucial to ensure that your organization’s data is safe. 

If you need to be made aware of your risks or need solutions to already-existing issues, we’re here to help with our four-phased Rapid Risk Assessment. We use cloud information security best practices and control framework references to analyze your security issues and provide actionable next steps to help mitigate your risk. 

Request a Rapid Risk Assessment today and keep your organization secure.

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Dustin Keib, Head of Cloud Enablement

Dustin is a software engineer, systems architect, and cloud scalability expert at Onix. His deep understanding of the full SaaS and Paas stack comes from 20+ years of enterprise IT experience. Dustin is a Certified Google Cloud Solutions Architect, AWS Solutions Architect - Associate, and Puppet Professional and has a deep knowledge of infrastructure automation, containers, and CI/CD system design and implementation.

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