What is hybrid cloud, how it works and main solutions

What is hybrid cloud, how it works and main solutions

Hybrid cloud is a term that refers to the combination of at least two computing environments, including the private cloud and the public cloud , that share information with each other and run a series of applications for a company or business.

Environments may include:

  • At least one private and one public cloud
  • Two or more private clouds
  • Two or more public clouds
  • A dedicated server (bare metal), that is, physical hardware, or a virtual environment connected to at least one cloud

The term ‘cloud’ describes a network of computing resources accessed over the Internet. This ecosystem facilitates the provision and sharing of computing services, such as data storage , software applications , analytics systems, and intelligence tools .

Definition and characteristics of hybrid cloud

In the broadest definition, a hybrid cloud combines on-premise technology (traditional infrastructure and private cloud) with off-premise services provided by a public cloud -software, infrastructure, platform…-. These public clouds can be Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, or other cloud service providers (CSP).

According to a stricter definition of hybrid cloud, it is a service created from a combination of different clouds that could include both private and public clouds, as well as CSP.

In a three-tier application stack, the presentation service can be in a public cloud, the application service can reside in a managed private cloud, and the database service can be on premise.

Differences between hybrid cloud and multicloud environment

What about environments that use public and private cloud infrastructures, but data may or may not be shared between them? How do we categorize this scenario?

The term associated with this new hybrid cloud architecture is called ‘ multicloud environment ‘.

These types of cloud environments differ from hybrid ones, as they suggest the presence and use of many clouds without guaranteed interoperability between them. The use of this emerging architecture is increasing as it provides access to various cloud service models.

A common mistake when comparing hybrid infrastructures and multicloud environments is thinking that the two are mutually exclusive.

Explicitly defining a multicloud environment suggests that a hybrid cloud model is also a multicloud model . However, the opposite is not always true. A multicloud configuration can be hybridized, but it can also exist without the need for private clouds communicating with each other.

Organizations are increasingly being presented with business justifications for managing workloads across multiple cloud providers.

In these cases, the clouds are executing multiple tasks, but the clouds are not sharing the data . Additionally, many companies are not authorized to share applications or data between clouds.

Also Read: Artificial intelligence in the business world

Hybrid Cloud Examples

Public cloud service providers provide infrastructure, applications, and storage over a cloud-based network.

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

AWS , Amazon.com ‘s cloud computing service , is the largest cloud service provider in the world. From its data centers, the company offers more than 200 full-featured services including computing, storage and databases.

Hybrid cloud

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s intelligent cloud segment contains Azure, the second largest cloud service provider globally.

Through Microsoft Azure , the company offers a hybrid cloud experience, developer productivity, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and security and compliance.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud Platform (GCP), part of Alphabet, is the third largest cloud service provider globally, offering enterprise-ready cloud services.

GCP enables developers to build, test, and deploy applications on its distributed, scalable infrastructure, while utilizing the service’s capabilities in security, data management, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Also Read: The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

How hybrid cloud works

The hybrid cloud strategy promotes workload portability (that is, applications function equally across different environments), allowing a single computing platform to span and communicate with multiple clouds . .

From the hybrid cloud, the transmission of applications and data between public and private clouds occurs. Like a kind of encrypted highway, hybrid cloud allows operators to perform a single task by leveraging two separate cloud resources.

However, we must keep in mind that most hybrid cloud environments use two separate private clouds. The key factor to remember is that a hybrid cloud combines the resources of two different clouds or a mixture of both. Imagining a Venn diagram and assigning an on-premises private cloud to the left side and a hosted private cloud to the right, a hybrid cloud would involve the sum of both parts. The overlapping space in the center represents the hybrid layer.

The jump to the hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud allows operators to perform a single task by leveraging two separate cloud resources

All hybrid cloud environments must connect multiple computers over the network, consolidate IT resources in one place, scale and deploy new resources quickly, move workloads from one environment to another, include a single tool unified management and organize processes with the help of automation.

What is hybrid cloud for?

Hybrid clouds combine the benefits of different types of cloud environments.

They have several uses. An organization can use its private cloud for some services and the public cloud for others, or it can use the public cloud as a backup to its private cloud.

You can also use the public cloud to manage times of high demand, while keeping the majority of operations in your private cloud.

In addition to cloud migration and modernization efforts , there are many other reasons to adopt a hybrid cloud, including low latency needs, local data processing, and data residency.

Hybrid cloud solutions allow you to use the best of each cloud option. With more granular control of IT resources, you can optimize spending.

Hybrid cloud also helps modernize applications more quickly and connect cloud services to data in a secure way.

Hybrid cloud architecture

Hybrid cloud refers to a combination of different types of infrastructure, typically a public cloud with a private or on-premises cloud infrastructure.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describes hybrid cloud architecture as a composition of two or more distinct infrastructures (public, private, or community clouds) that remain unique entities, united by technology that enables application and data portability.

Hybrid cloud architecture provides enterprises with more data deployment options and greater flexibility by enabling the movement of workloads between public and private clouds.

Every hybrid cloud architecture has some common features: data integration , unified management, network connections, consolidation of IT resources , horizontal scaling capability with rapid provisioning of new resources, and organization processing with automation.

Public cloud

Public cloud is a type of computing in which third-party providers provide resources over the Internet and share them with organizations and people who want to use or purchase them. Customers can pay for resources through subscriptions or pay-as-you-go models.

Private cloud

Private cloud (or corporate cloud) is a cloud computing environment in which all hardware and software resources are dedicated exclusively to and accessible only to a single customer.

Cloud Computing

The private cloud combines some benefits of cloud computing with access control, security, and resource customization of on-premises infrastructure.

Also Read: What Is Cloud Computing? A Complete Guide

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud is an IT infrastructure design that seamlessly integrates a company’s public cloud and private cloud.

As a result, you can store your data and run your applications in multiple environments without noticing the difference.

Hybrid cloud benefits


Hybrid clouds make it easier to switch to a different style of cloud deployment. For example, if a company decides to move to a public cloud-only deployment, it will be easier if some of the company’s processes or storage are already in a public cloud.

Meet demand peaks

A company can run most of its processes in a private cloud and use a public cloud for additional power when faced with a sudden increase in workload  such as during Black Friday, when e-commerce sites They see a huge increase in users.


If one cloud crashes or stops working, the company can rely on the other cloud, thus avoiding service interruptions. This type of redundancy is also an advantage of multicloud deployments.

Cost savings

A hybrid cloud model adopts a pay-as-you-go model that reduces capital investments in infrastructure and data centers.

Maintaining an internal data center, such as a private cloud, can be very expensive and resource-intensive. By moving some operations to a public cloud, an organization does not have to maintain as much on-premises infrastructure, which ultimately reduces costs.

Data security

Some organizations handle sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, medical information, or financial data.

Keeping such data on-premises gives the company better control over security measures that protect sensitive data.

In a hybrid cloud deployment, an organization can keep sensitive data in a secure private cloud and use public clouds for the rest of its applications.

Access to the latest technology

In today’s business environment, companies cannot afford to be in a situation where they cannot have immediate access to technologies that could give them a commercial advantage.

An example is AI. Large public clouds innovate quickly and offer competitive services. A hybrid cloud model provides the flexibility to use the most appropriate technology to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Disadvantages of hybrid cloud

Control and speed of operations

Applications that need the highest possible speed are not as compatible with hybrid cloud environments, considering that latency plays an important role in data storage.

Also, when using hybrid cloud architecture, you sacrifice some control over compute and storage options.


When network infrastructure becomes more complex, it is more likely that an attacker can exploit a vulnerability.

A private cloud can have powerful security protections; But if several clouds from different providers are used, not all of them will have the same level of security.

Zscaler introduces Cloud Protection to automate cloud workload security

If several clouds from different providers are used, not all of them will have the same level of security

To keep data secure, a company may need to use multiple security products, some for its on-premises cloud and others for the public cloud.

However, some organizations find hybrid cloud security to be better than their on-premises data center due to capabilities such as automated data redundancy, high availability, or disaster recovery .

More complex integrations

The connection and orchestration between different types of clouds is essential. That’s why it takes more steps to set up a hybrid cloud than a single public or private cloud, since connecting technology, such as a VPN, also has to be configured and maintained.

Regulatory issues

For industries that work with highly sensitive data, such as banking, finance, government, and healthcare, using a hybrid cloud model may be the best option.

For example, some regulated industries require certain types of data to be stored on-premises, while less sensitive data can be stored in the public cloud.

In this type of hybrid cloud architecture, organizations gain the flexibility of the public cloud for less regulated process tasks while meeting industry requirements.

Also Read: How Automation Testing can Revolutionize Your Oracle Cloud Patching

Main challenges of hybrid cloud

The challenge for organizations considering hybrid cloud adoption is finding an operating model that simplifies operations , reduces management complexity, and enables interoperability to improve flexibility.

Synchronization between the public and private cloud is not simple, so if not done correctly it can cause latency problems .

In turn, storing and moving data incorrectly can create security problems. That is why it is necessary to encrypt all content and store the data in the appropriate environment.

On the other hand, it is important to offer learning and training tools to the IT team to work in hybrid clouds and have a team trained to carry out adequate maintenance.

Hybrid cloud solutions

A hybrid cloud solution should:

Consolidate IT resources, services and functions

Automate horizontal scaling and provisioning

Move workloads freely between environments

Orchestrate processes and offer unified management

Automate application deployment to private and public clouds, as well as edge locations

Strategy to implement a hybrid cloud

Workloads, infrastructure, and processes are unique. Therefore, the hybrid cloud strategy will end up being defined based on the business requirements.

When creating a hybrid cloud strategy, you need to set up a concrete plan.

Define the vision

Develop a visual vision that evaluates your current strategy and environments to help define what needs to be optimized and how you can help achieve your goals with a hybrid cloud deployment.

Hybrid cloud management

Evaluate workloads

Decide which workloads will run or be migrated to each environment.

Where workloads run can have a big impact on the success of your hybrid cloud strategy. Placing workloads in the right place can make them more effective and efficient, while not using the right one can make deployment difficult.

Identify patterns

Once workloads have been prioritized, you should evaluate which architecture patterns best fit your business requirements.

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