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A majority of businesses already rely on cloud solutions in some form. As the cloud grows ever more ubiquitous, so do the range of cloud options available to your business. Hybrid cloud is one solution growing in popularity, and for good reason. It can deliver measurable cost savings, flexibility, and scalability. 

Implemented correctly for your unique business needs, hybrid cloud offers the best of private cloud and public cloud. If you’re curious about hybrid cloud solutions, here’s a quick overview of what they are, how they can save your business on costs, and when you should consider shifting to a hybrid cloud infrastructure. 

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid-cloud solution is as the name suggests: it combines services from a private cloud and a public cloud to create a unified IT infrastructure for your business. Your business’s hardware, database, and software applications are shared between architecture from two or more servers. 

These servers may include an external cloud platform together with an on-premise server or an off-premise privately hosted cloud server. Examples of external cloud or public cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. 

The advantages of hybrid cloud include greater control, flexibility, and a wide selection of data-deployment features. In a hybrid-cloud setup, your business has the freedom to move data and applications across public and private clouds. The data and applications are portable across the two or more clouds you rely on, which are set up to be interoperable in nature. You can store sensitive information on your private cloud, and you can access cloud bursting when you need high availability. 

Hybrid cloud could also improve security and reduce compliance risk by spreading it across different providers. At a more technical level, a hybrid cloud can lead to improved network routing, load balancing, data security, and encryption.

How hybrid cloud can help with cost savings

With a hybrid cloud, businesses can save as much as 40% to 50% of their annual in-house and on-premise data center expenses. Cost savings also arise from eliminating the need for traditional data center management and software development. 

Since workloads and resources can be managed across multiple clouds or vendor services, hybrid clouds are highly scalable, enabling your business to access virtually unlimited capacity in the event you experience a sudden upsurge in your computing requirements. As such, you won’t need to invest in large-scale in-house servers to increase capacity for temporary demand peaks. 

Backup and disaster recovery are other areas where hybrid cloud provides potential cost savings as a cheaper alternative to 100% in-house or private IT infrastructure. Moreover, a hybrid cloud can be viewed as a cost-effective enabler of innovation. It gives you the foundation for rapid innovation through the right IT tools at a minimal cost. 

Hybrid cloud also saves businesses when it comes to hardware like fiber and general hardware maintenance. It saves you on utilities and facilities-related overheads, security and risk management, and labor. Finally, the hybrid cloud offers cost savings through pay-as-you-go payment structures as well as competitive bidding from multiple providers. 

When to implement a hybrid cloud change

When and why should organizations adopt hybrid cloud infrastructure? Switching to a dynamic environment like the hybrid cloud could be essential for startups seeking to develop functionalities in artificial intelligence and machine learning. These companies could be in sectors like industrial manufacturing, eCommerce, and web publishing operations. 

However, sectors like financial services, insurance, banking, healthcare, and media can also leverage the benefits of a hybrid cloud. Cloud-based and Xero accountancy has gained huge traction in recent years, but there’s much more potential to tap into – including opening up of APIs to banks. 

These industries, along with others highly reliant on cloud-based infrastructure, can save costs and resources on data centers management at scale, through outsourcing some of their cloud capacity. 

Hybrid cloud could also be a good idea for small business owners seeking cost savings, higher productivity, and low-maintenance technology. Any business seeking to manage sensitive information in-house but store high volumes of less sensitive data with a provider might decide to implement a hybrid cloud change. 

Businesses with dynamic or frequently changing workloads might want to leverage a scalable public cloud solution while keeping sensitive workloads on their private cloud. Alternatively, if you’re finding your big-data process is constrained by the capacity of your private cloud, your organization might decide to shift to a hybrid cloud for running these big-data processes.

More generally, other possible trigger points for hybrid cloud adoption could be a major business growth initiative, adoption of new software, and urgent capacity needs. Before implementing a hybrid-cloud infrastructure, you’ll want to establish API compatibility and management support. Ensure you have robust network connectivity and a clear process for migrating your applications. 

Hybrid cloud for businesses

Hybrid cloud is a popular solution for businesses of all sizes. A shift to the hybrid cloud can support your digital transformation strategy, and fuel growth and innovation whilst lowering costs. 

Enterprise businesses manage many complex functions and processes through their IT departments, with many independent verticals, brands, and products that each require unique technical support. A hybrid cloud can deliver the type of bespoke solution(s) to match these varying, unique needs. 

Ultimately, a hybrid cloud gives you a valuable option when it comes to modernizing your infrastructure. However, for a shift to hybrid cloud to be successful, CIOs and business owners need to plan the transition carefully and consider best practice guidelines. These concern factors like existing workloads and demand upswings, regulatory and compliance requirements, and users’ needs. 

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo News, and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program.

Hybrid cloud stock photo by phloxii/Shutterstock