Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud refers to a mixed computing, storage, and services environment made up of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud—such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure—with orchestration among the various platforms. Using a combination of public clouds, on-premises computing, and private clouds in your data center means that you have a hybrid cloud infrastructure.[1]

A Hybrid Cloud is a computing environment that combines a mix of on-premises, private cloud, and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the various platforms. This configuration allows businesses to benefit from the advantages of both private and public cloud environments.

On-Premises/Private Cloud: This refers to a computing architecture where an organization maintains its own proprietary computing resources, either on its own premises or secured in a private network. This offers control over data, systems, and security measures.

Public Cloud: Public clouds are services offered by third-party providers over the Internet, with computing resources shared among multiple users. Examples of public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. These platforms offer scalability and cost-effectiveness, as they operate on a pay-as-you-go model.

In a hybrid cloud environment, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility and more deployment options. For instance, a company can choose to use the private cloud for sensitive, critical operations or workloads, while relying on the public cloud for scalable computational resources and storage when needed, such as handling workload spikes during peak times.

This setup provides businesses with more flexibility by allowing workloads to shift between private and public clouds as computing needs and costs fluctuate, hence balancing cost and scalability. Hybrid cloud also gives businesses greater control over their private data, as they can keep sensitive data secured in their private cloud while utilizing the robust computational resources of a public cloud.

The advantages of a hybrid cloud approach include:

  1. Improved flexibility and scalability: Businesses can easily scale up or down their operations to meet demand without having to invest in physical infrastructure.
  2. Cost efficiencies: Businesses pay for additional resources only when they need them, reducing unnecessary expenditure.
  3. Security: Sensitive data can be protected in a private cloud while still allowing the business to leverage the computational power of public cloud resources.
  4. Innovation: Hybrid cloud opens the door for businesses to leverage advanced services and tools available in the public cloud, including machine learning and AI.

However, managing a hybrid cloud environment can be complex and challenging due to the need to manage and run applications across multiple platforms. It also requires a secure and robust network connection between the private and public clouds, which can pose additional challenges and costs.


The hybrid cloud approach developed in response to the distinct needs businesses had that could not be met by relying exclusively on either private or public cloud infrastructures. In the early 2000s, as businesses began moving more of their operations to the cloud, they realized that certain applications and data were better suited to the private cloud, while others could utilize the public cloud's scalability and cost-effectiveness. The hybrid cloud model came into prominence around the mid-2010s as businesses sought to leverage the benefits of both private and public clouds.


An example of a company using hybrid cloud is Bank of America. They use public cloud services for non-sensitive operations and leverage a private cloud for storing and processing sensitive data. This approach allows them to enjoy the scalability and flexibility of public clouds while ensuring the security of their clients' confidential information.

See Also

  1. Cloud Migration: This refers to the process of moving digital business operations into the cloud. Hybrid cloud can be a destination in a cloud migration, especially for businesses that want to maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive data while benefiting from the scalability of the public cloud.
  2. Cloud Security: This encompasses policies, procedures, and technologies used to protect data and infrastructure in a cloud computing environment. Hybrid cloud often comes into the conversation about cloud security, as it allows sensitive data to be stored on a private cloud while less sensitive data and applications can be hosted on a public cloud.
  3. Multi-cloud: This strategy involves using multiple cloud services from different providers. While multi-cloud can be part of a hybrid cloud setup, they are not the same. Multi-cloud refers to the use of multiple cloud services, while hybrid cloud refers to the specific integration of private and public clouds.
  4. Virtualization: This is a technology that allows the creation of simulated, or virtual, computing resources, such as servers, operating systems, network resources, etc. Virtualization is often a foundational technology in both private and public clouds, enabling the flexibility and resource management that makes hybrid cloud possible.
  5. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is a cloud computing model where a third-party provider hosts and maintains core infrastructure, including hardware, software, servers, and storage on behalf of a customer. This model is often used in the context of hybrid cloud, where a business might use IaaS on a public cloud for scalable resources on demand, while maintaining core business applications on a private cloud.


  1. Definition - What Does Hybrid Cloud Mean? NetApp