Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud definition

Hybrid cloud is IT architecture that combines at least one private cloud, also known as an on-premises data center, with one or more public cloud services. These hybrid environments can create siloed data or complexity for IT managers, and many companies look to utilize software that enables sharing and management of data and applications between the private and the public clouds.  Organizations benefit from the scale and availability of the public cloud for certain workloads, while keeping other workloads on-premises for faster access or even for regulatory compliance. 

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines both on-premises and cloud infrastructures, with approximately 78% of companies using a Hybrid IT approach today1. The hybrid cloud construct allows applications to operate between private and public cloud instances to optimize IT operations as part of a digital transformation and business modernization effort. Companies have many different paths to adopting hybrid cloud, dictated by both their business and technical objectives. Oftentimes, a smart and efficient hybrid cloud strategy can achieve these objectives more effectively than a traditional cloud, public or private, can alone. This approach allows organizations to transform operations that are focused on producing business value, by combining the best cloud environment for each workload. In addition, hybrid cloud is not an interim state, but a long-term reality for many companies. According to recent research, companies are predicting an even split in workloads between cloud and on-premises / private cloud1

How does a hybrid cloud work?

A hybrid cloud environment that includes private and public clouds represents a significant departure from the traditional on-premises IT environments. At first, hybrid cloud environments focused on transforming parts of the on-premises IT infrastructure into private cloud infrastructure, and then connecting that to a public cloud.  This was often done using a variety of enterprise middleware to integrate cloud computing resources across both environments for a unified management experience from a centralized console.  However, today hybrid cloud architectures are not only about connectivity but also about the portability of workloads across all cloud environments. 

Everyone’s hybrid cloud journey is unique, and hybrid cloud allows enterprises to move workloads between private and public clouds to meet changing business needs. Workloads can be deployed in the best-suited environment, whether on-premises, in cloud-based VMs, or containers running on Kubernetes clusters.  

To build a hybrid cloud architecture, an organization with an on-premises infrastructure acquires a cloud service from a service provider, such as Microsoft Azure. Using services from public cloud providers like Microsoft with solutions like Office 365 for productivity, can enable today’s remote workforce to get more done while outside of the normal office. When companies leverage these SaaS solutions, they give employees flexibility while freeing on-premises resources for other tasks.  

To maximize hybrid cloud efficiencies, companies integrate hybrid cloud resources used for monitoring, allocating and managing resources. With a hybrid cloud, workloads and data can be moved between environments for best outcomes and accessed by authorized users securely and efficiently. For example, if a company maintains a private cloud and then adds a public cloud footprint on Azure, IT could move workloads between the two locations to provide the most optimal service to customers and employees.  

Hybrid cloud environments have specific requirements when it comes to data protection with business data stored in multiple locations.  Solutions to protect this data need breadth of application coverage, flexibility of storage, and a single management interface.  When choosing a cloud-delivered data protection solution, or Backup as a Service (BaaS), selecting a solution that supports hybrid cloud environments is critical.

Why is a hybrid cloud important?

The hybrid cloud is the clear winner when it comes to business adoption of cloud environments. About 78% of enterprises are taking a hybrid cloud approach, with 39% expecting to increase cloud spending in the next twelve months.1 Users rightfully expect to have the data they need accessible and available around the clock. The global hybrid cloud market was valued at $50.1B in 2020 and is projected to grow at an annual CAGR of 17.8% through 2028.2 

Remote workforce. One of the new work trends that will stay with us is remote work. About 36.2 million Americans will be working from home in 2025, a tremendous increase of 87% from pre-pandemic levels.3 Remote and mobile workers require reliable, secure and responsive apps that are always available from anywhere. A hybrid cloud delivers such capabilities with cloud-based apps and self-service SaaS solutions. The new work environments need flexible access and continuous availability, which can be satisfied by adopting a hybrid cloud strategy. 

Malicious attacks. Companies need to plan for the worst-case scenario, a successful malicious cyber-attack. Data theft and backup deletions by cybercriminals increased by 400% since the start of the pandemic.4 The cost of a data breach in the US increased 46% in 2020 compared to 2019, reaching an average cost of $8.64M. Globally, the top three sectors with the highest cost per average data breach cost $7.3M, followed by energy with $6.39M, then financial services with a $5.85M per breach.5 A hybrid cloud deployment with the proper disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) saves your organization the pain of data loss and quickly gets your business back online.  With cloud storage solutions from Metallic you also get an air-gapped copy of your data regardless of the hybrid cloud workload, to enable speedy recovery in the face of attack. 

Unintended disruption. It is almost inevitable that a business would experience some data loss or an application failure due to scheduled and unscheduled disruptions. Almost 63% of successful cyberattacks are caused by or triggered by internal users.6 With a hybrid cloud and a reliable BaaS strategy, many businesses would avoid loss of vital data and extended disruptions and disaster recovery times. Adopting a hybrid cloud data protection solution, such as Metallic on Microsoft Azure, ensures fast recovery and return to normal operations. 

Benefits of hybrid cloud

The main benefit of a hybrid cloud is the ability to pivot quickly and adapt workloads of today’s digital businesses. Enterprises that want to combine public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises resources to gain the agility they need can be a competitive advantage. 

Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy can deliver many valuable benefits to enterprises, including: 

  • Better infrastructure efficiency. Adopting a smart hybrid cloud strategy can reduce technical debt and free financial resources for more beneficial business investments. With better visibility and central management, IT teams can optimize spend across the entire company IT footprint and potentially realize significant cost reductions. 
  • Data protection and compliance. Companies can take advantage of the hybrid cloud-integrated resources to implement and enforce security and compliance policies consistently. Additional benefits are available for regulatory compliance by leveraging the capabilities of cloud solutions for managing hybrid cloud data, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2, and ISO 27001. 
  • Ultimate flexibility. Hybrid cloud deployments give enterprises unmatched flexibility to deploy workloads and services. The cloud’s elastic scalability offers space for an on-premises application to utilize during a surge in usage. Companies also gain the ability to deploy the application to the right type of resource using VMs, containers running in Kubernetes, or physical servers running on-premises 
  • Business acceleration. Business operations are enabled by hybrid cloud with shortened product development cycles and faster time to market with new apps. IT and development teams also become more agile with rapid responses to customer needs. A good example of emerging efficiencies is the delivery of services closer to where customers consume them, at the edge.  
  • Unlimited instant power. The cloud is scalable and offers a seemingly limitless amount of computing, storage and networking capacity available on-demand and can scale up or down depending on your needs. With data growth doubling every two years, BaaS allows enterprises to benefit from the cloud’s elastic flexibility.7 

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Common use cases for hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud deployment gives businesses new flexibility in meeting their needs and expanding the potential for business growth. These use cases are some reasons why businesses are developing a hybrid cloud strategy: 

  • Dynamic workloads. Use an easily scalable public cloud for your dynamic workloads, while leaving more sensitive financial or customer workloads in a private cloud or on-premises environment. 
  • Moving to the cloud at your own pace. Put some of your workloads on a public cloud or on a small-scale private cloud. See what works for your enterprise and continue expanding your cloud presence either on public clouds or private clouds. 
  • Temporary capacity needs. A hybrid cloud lets businesses allocate resources for short-term projects in the public cloud, at a lower cost than if they are deployed on-premises. Keep cost down by not investing in equipment that is only needed temporarily. 
  • Business continuity. With a hybrid cloud architecture, businesses can protect all of their data by maintaining an air-gapped copy in the cloud and use it to restore business operations in the aftermath of a disruptive event. 
  • Datacenter extension. A hybrid cloud could serve as an expansion space for on-premises workloads during a surge in demand or handling regulated data. As an example, the healthcare industry runs many sensitive workloads on-premises and burst into the cloud when necessary. 
  • Development and testing ground. The dev/test use case is a popular one as dev/test teams need new resources quickly to run their work without high costs. Hybrid cloud is also convenient for dev/test teams to build and destroy their test environments without the delays of traditional on-premises deployments. 
  • Regulatory compliance. Companies can use cloud backup copies protected in air-gapped locations to support audits and demonstrate compliance with data regulations through proper documentation and reporting. Many cloud providers provide broad support for regulatory compliance standards, including HIPAAPCI-DSS, and SSAE/SOC 2 Type 1 

Does Metallic offer a hybrid cloud solution?

Yes! Metallic Backup as a Service (BaaS) is a perfect fit for a hybrid cloud.  Metallic offers a hybrid cloud protection solution for on-premises and cloud-based workloads and covers VMs, Kubernetes, cloud-native, physical servers, file and object storage and more.  

Through an innovative SaaS Plus next-gen architecture, customers enjoy flexible storage options and the capability to manage data at the edge. The Metallic solution offers a 360-degree view and total protection of your data from cloud-native to on-premises for your hybrid cloud environments, all with flexible storage options keeping data close to the source. 

Sources

  1. Flexera 2021. “State of the Cloud Report”. 
  2. Quince Market Insight March 2021. “Hybrid Cloud Market.” 
  3. MSNBC Pro Dec 2020. “1 in 4 Americans will be working from home in 2021, Upwork survey reveals.” 
  4. Entrepreneur April 2020. “FBI Sees Cybercrime Reports Increase Fourfold During COVID-19 Outbreak.” 
  5. Ponemon Institute 2020. “Cost of Data Breach Report 2014-2020.”  
  6. https://purplesec.us/resources/cyber-security-statistics 
  7. Call for Code October 2020. “The amount of data in the world doubles every two years.”