Hybrid Cloud: What is it?

dilbertI saw the above comic recently and it got me thinking, “how many of our customers know the difference?” If you’re not all that technical, you probably have no idea what the cloud is to begin with. And if you are technical, you can certainly pass this along to anyone who asks you what the difference is to save you some time!

There are two ways “hybrid cloud” is used. It is used when talking about a mix between private cloud and public cloud access to applications. It is also used to describe where your storage is; whether your data is stored locally on-premise or in the cloud. We will be referring to hybrid cloud in the latter example.

Now, I think we need to further define what “the cloud” is for those who aren’t technical. The Cloud is often referred to as a data center full of servers connected to the internet. Cloud storage, on the other hand, can be defined as a service model where data is maintained, managed, backed up, or archived on remote servers that can be accessed through a network; most often the Internet. Hybrid cloud – in the sense that we most often use it – means a way to manage storage that uses both on-premise and cloud storage of data.

So what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that you have an option in between the usual two data storage options. Either you store all of your data on-premise, or you store everything on cloud servers. Hybrid gives you the best of both worlds!

Typically, we see hybrid storage solutions used in two ways. The first is when the goal is to backup data offsite, or have all of an archive offsite, to make room on local servers. We see this in cases where data has to be stored and archived for extended periods of time, and it’s a way to move that data out of the way and free up local storage, but still maintain those records.  Secondly, we also see the reverse of this, where the archive and backup are onsite and all other data is stored on the cloud, depending on information governance plans. Often times this hybrid solution is used to create a greater overall use of servers, both on-premise and on the cloud, and to make content more widely available to employees or clients.

An advantage of hybrid cloud storage is that it can be cost effective. You can save on both ends by reducing the cost of hardware to store data locally, and by reducing the amount of cloud storage you would have to pay for if everything was just stored on the cloud. If you didn’t know already, hardware for on-premise storage is quite a bit more expensive than purchasing additional space on a cloud storage solution, but a combination of the two can be very cost effective depending on how you’re using it.

So the next time someone asks what hybrid cloud is, send them a link to this blog! Dilbert’s answer isn’t wrong, but we thought we could take the time to make it more clear for everyone!