When you hear people talking about hybrid cloud solutions, do you completely understand what they are talking about? If not, it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is likely that many of the people around you act like they understand what hybrid cloud is but really don’t.

The term hybrid cloud is applied to so many IT solutions that it is mind-boggling. What is clear about this term is that it wasn’t a term that customers came up with. Instead, is a term created by vendors who work in an environment that loves its own jargon and loves throwing prefixes like ultra, multi, super, or hyper onto the beginning of tech terms to make them sound new and exciting. Let’s take a few minutes and get rid of the hype and try to get to the heart of what hybrid cloud means.

What Is Hybrid Cloud Computing?

If you ask 10 IT professionals that question, you are going to get 10 answers. There is no agreed-upon standard definition of this term. The National Institute for Standards and Technology defines hybrid cloud infrastructure as the composite of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures. These cloud infrastructures remain unique entities. However, they are bound together using standard or proprietary technology. This standard or proprietary technology allows data and application portability.

In normal people speak, hybrid cloud computing means being able to work with a public and a private cloud as one, or at least being able to use management tools seamlessly in each environment. There are a number of examples of hybrid cloud computing.

To make it even more simple, hybrid cloud solutions are where one or more public clouds are connected to something in a business’s data center. We could be talking about a private cloud or a traditional data center.

Examples of Hybrid Cloud Computing

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an application development platform that has been used by developers to create or write customized applications without needing to provision the base infrastructure that these applications need to run. PaaS software usually has the ability to run on a private host environment, on the customer’s premises, natively in an IaaS public cloud. Infrastructure resources are automatically configured across the aforementioned environments. This makes them a platform for hybrid cloud.

A second example is the hybrid cloud management software. Big-name infrastructure management vendors and startups have created software that lets vendors centrally manage public cloud as well as on-premise infrastructure and applications. From just one console, storage database, virtual machines, and other resources can be spun up or down. It doesn’t matter if they are housed in the company’s data center or if they are in the public cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Benefits

The purpose of a hybrid cloud is to present the best of private and public clouds. There are two outstanding benefits to the intermixing of private and public clouds.

The first benefit is scalability or flexibility. Managing an in-house IT infrastructure is expensive. If you want to add capacity, you need to plan in advance and be willing to shell out some big bucks. However, “cloud bursting” means that you are able to temporarily use the resources of the public cloud when your business demands outpace the resources that you have on the private cloud. For example, your business may have a short term event that leads to a spike in storage needs. The public cloud will absorb that increased demand. Using a hybrid cloud solution gives your business the flexibility to react to planned and unplanned changes in IT loads. The other option would be to heavily invest in on-premise resources.

The second outstanding benefit is cost savings. Your business has access to IT resources without creating capital expense or increasing labor costs. The IT professionals at your enterprise can work in determining the best service provider, the best configuration, and the best location for each service. Once determined, public cloud resources can be easily scaled, reduced, or redeployed as the need for change arises. The entire process is more efficient and minimizes the need for unnecessary expenses.

When Hybrid Is Not the Best Fit

There are circumstances where the hybrid cloud is not the best solution. Small organizations that have a restricted IT budget may work better if they have a public cloud solution. Setting up and maintaining private servers is expensive.

Some applications that require the highest possible speed may not work well with hybrid cloud, depending on the cloud implementation. It is best for you to have a good understanding of your enterprise’s workloads and other characteristics when determining if cloud hybrid is right for you.

Is the cloud something that you are currently embracing? Do you have doubts about it or prefer to stick with something that you already know? Let us know in the comments section below.