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What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud network uses IT resources that are situated on-premises, in private clouds, and in the public cloud, providing orchestration across the platforms.

In the past, many companies maintained their own computing equipment in a data center within their own building or on their own campus. Over time, many of the functions traditionally performed in the local data center have been moved to the cloud. Virtualization has contributed significantly to the evolution of the cloud. Network devices that were once physical equipment in a company’s data center now exist in a virtual form in dynamic cloud environments. Businesses have begun moving servers, switches, routers, and other devices to the hybrid cloud model, taking advantage of its tremendous flexibility and power.

Why use a hybrid cloud

There are significant advantages to the adoption of a hybrid cloud architecture. Due to security and compliance issues, it may not be possible to migrate all IT resources to the cloud. Low-value applications, however, or those that do not require as much security, might be the first thing that a company migrates to the cloud. Cloud computing can be cost-effective and scalable, and make perfect sense for certain parts of your IT information technology portfolio.

How hybrid clouds work

The networking challenge for any IT department is to securely connect all their resources, whether on-premises or in the cloud. A hybrid cloud network should employ tools and strategies that see the network as a whole rather than as separate pieces. That means using a network management system that functions as a single pane of glass, where a technician can view and investigate the whole network from a single computer screen.

Tight integration is the key to a successful hybrid cloud network. Hybrid cloud use cases include integrated identity and access, data integration, integrated network, integrated devices, and integrated resources and deployment management. The cloud may be an extension of the data center, but it should work seamlessly with existing on-site technology to form one interactive infrastructure. An application in a public cloud might need to access a database or directory server, for example, on premises. Secure connectivity using a global transit hub VPC/VNet/VCN is a popular architecture to support hybrid cloud connectivity.

Examples of hybrid clouds

Examples of hybrid clouds include VMware or OpenStack delivering cloud-like capabilities to the on-premises and private cloud infrastructure, which is then integrated into public cloud providers via APIs and service options. Other examples of hybrid cloud architectures are offerings from the public cloud providers that extend their services into private data centers. Examples of this include Azure Stack, AWS Outposts, and Google Anthos.

Hybrid cloud deployment models

Hybrid clouds can be deployed using a combination of on-premises, public cloud, multi-cloud, and private cloud services. Private cloud services could be hosted on-site or through 3rd third-party providers. Commonly, enterprises have significant on-premises applications that weren’t developed with cloud readiness in mind. A common hybrid cloud deployment combines these legacy applications with off-premises cloud resources to enable expanded capabilities.

Connectivity between on-premises and off-premises cloud resources is key to a successful hybrid cloud deployment. Common deployment models include IPsec VPN connections over the public iInternet and private direct connections from on-premises to public clouds, such as AWS Direct Connect, Azure ExpressRoute, and GCP Cloud Interconnect. Consistent, secure, and performant connectivity across these connections is key to a successful hybrid cloud deployment.


Hybrid cloud providers

Examples of hybrid cloud providers include:

Pros and cons of hybrid clouds

The benefits of hybrid cloud architectures include:

  • A unified IT infrastructure across private and public resources
  • Businesses can leverage public cloud services to quickly provision compute resources without the upfront investment of additional on-premises hardware
  • Compliance with data storage regulations and policies
  • Improve user experience of legacy applications
  • Infrastructure as code (IaC)

The challenges in using hybrid cloud architectures include:

  • Migration to hybrid cloud from legacy on-premises data centers
  • Consistent security policies across the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments
  • Governance of processes and costs

Most enterprises are stepping into the cloud with a hybrid approach. Aviatrix for Hybrid Cloud enables enterprises to design, configure, and operate secure and scalable hybrid cloud networks to migrate, access, and run applications in the public cloud.  Schedule a demo to learn why 500+ customers use Aviatrix to solve their cloud networking challenges!

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