The hybrid cloud is a “mix and match” approach, where the enterprise picks and chooses various elements from either the public cloud or private cloud. It is a radical approach, trying to build a cloud model that suits a specific application best, rather than trying to fit it all on just one cloud model.
The hybrid cloud works well for enterprises that are capable of splitting their data into “sensitive” and “non-sensitive” spheres, and big data. For instance, the enterprise could host its ecommerce website data that includes customer credit card details on a private cloud and host non-sensitive data such as marketing data and training resources on the public cloud. Enterprises could also use this approach to handle seasonal spikes of data effectively – for instance they could have a secure private cloud in place, and take up extra space on the public cloud on a temporary basis, to cater to the seasonal spike of data.
Hybrid clouds in a sense offer the best of both worlds – the convenience and scalability of public clouds and the security and control of private clouds. It is flexible as well, with enterprises free to use as many public cloud resources as required, or even alternate between public clouds and private clouds. The model is overall more efficient since much of the cost effectiveness that the public cloud offers is retained.
However, hybrid cloud environments are only as strong as the integrations that unite them. It requires a considerable amount of performance monitoring, regular testing, and data ingress and egress procedures to manage the disparate infrastructure to ensure business processes take place seamlessly. All this obviously also means extra work and, by extension, more costs.
The hybrid cloud is nevertheless the fastest growing cloud model compared to other models. About 82% of enterprises now adopt a multi-cloud strategy, while only 10% use a single public cloud and another 5% use a single private cloud. Among those enterprises who adopt a multi-cloud strategy, 14% of enterprises use multiple private clouds, 13% use multiple public clouds, and 55% use hybrid clouds.
All things considered, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud, each come with its own share of advantages and disadvantages, and all these have their relevance. The best approach depends on the specific nature of the business.