The Evolution of the Hybrid Cloud

With so much talk of digital transformation and the hybrid cloud architecture that defines the new enterprise technology focus, we look behind the scenes at what makes a hybrid cloud work.

The “hybrid cloud” has varying definitions, but it commonly refers to a single software hosting platform whose resources come from multiple sources such as the public cloud (Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud) and the enterprise’s own data centre architecture.

Essentially, any cloud platform that combines owned services with outsourced ones is a hybrid cloud. While the concept is seen as adding exclusive and unique value to enterprise operations advancing digital transformation, the hybrid cloud is not just on-trend because of its appeal – it gives the flexibility business needs in today’s marketplace. Flexibility is key.

“Today, we see that fundamentally, there are two paths: hybrid cloud and public cloud. These paths are complementary and co-existing. But today, each is being driven by unique requirements and unique teams,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger during an August keynote address at the VMworld 2018 conference in Las Vegas.

VMware, who has been at the forefront of virtualisation and more recently hybrid cloud architecture, believes in a multi-cloud environment, with the hybrid cloud driven by IT and operations needs, as opposed to the public cloud per se, which is suitable for specific line-of-business requirements and encouraged by developers.

The future aim of enterprises is to deploy hybrid clouds by unifying these public and private cloud platforms, integrating data centre platforms with SaaS – services supplied by public cloud providers.

There are many valid reasons to go the hybrid cloud route, and these reasons are also changing as the hybrid cloud architecture evolves. Initially, enterprises were attracted by the promise of moving data centre costs from capital to operating expenditures, reducing expenses.

The underlying cloud infrastructure has since evolved from a cost-saving perspective to agility and speed of innovation, with the real value being the use of automation, data analytics, business intelligence, AI and machine learning.

The structure of the cloud architecture, whether public, private and hybrid, may depend on business needs, but the main driver remains the same: agility, more efficiency, and continuous innovation. Perhaps the best definition of a hybrid cloud is a hybrid platform for enabling enterprises to advance their operations and meet the next technology wave.

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