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Three hybrid cloud advantages that fly under the radar

While some hybrid cloud advantages, such as greater flexibility, are obvious, others fly under the radar. Are you missing out on hybrid cloud perks?

Cloud computing is a hot commodity in the IT market, and for many organizations, hybrid clouds are all the rage....

The hybrid cloud model allows enterprises to deploy a combination of private cloud and public cloud services. Organizations can move workloads between clouds, and use public clouds at their own comfort level.

Through a capability called cloud bursting, hybrid clouds also give enterprises the ability to use public cloud resources when capacity demands spike.

However, hybrid cloud has its drawbacks. A private cloud is still just hardware and software that organizations own and maintain on-premises. As a result, the value may not be there in terms of hybrid cloud's total cost of ownership. Moreover, as cloud's progression continues, public clouds are becoming more cost-effective than private clouds. Many enterprises bypass private and hybrid cloud computing altogether, focusing exclusively on larger public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google.

In addition to these common hybrid cloud drawbacks and benefits, there are three hybrid cloud advantages that most enterprises don't know about.

1. Making the most of containers

Hybrid cloud maximizes the value of containers, which make it easier to move workloads between private and public clouds. Containers encapsulate application workloads and can easily move between different cloud platforms, which provides portability.

Additionally, containers provide orchestration and clustering services, such as Google Kubernetes and Docker Swarm. Container clusters are much easier to manage and work well with hybrid cloud computing platforms that use different types of clouds for different purposes.

2. Resource automation

Cloud management platforms (CMPs) provide enterprises with a solid automation approach for hybrid cloud service provisioning and management. The CMP places resources behind a single pane of glass, and allows organizations to manage them from a single domain with good automation and controls. This approach trumps dealing with native interfaces, which can be complex and disorderly.

Enterprises place an abstraction layer between users and the many different interfaces into public and private clouds, as well as other automation services, such as Puppet and Chef. Enterprises automate resource usage through policy-based approaches that can work with many back-end cloud-based technologies as a single, unified system. As a result, enterprises can easily provision across many cloud types to manage heterogeneous information systems.

3. Maximizing sunken hardware costs

Finally, hybrid clouds give enterprises the ability to use sunken hardware costs. For example, if an enterprise has already purchased scads of hardware, they can't recover those costs when moving to public cloud. In many cases, maintaining a private cloud as part of a hybrid cloud may be more cost-effective than going all-in with public cloud. This is because the hardware investment has already been made, and a hybrid cloud approach can help recover that value.

Hybrid clouds continue to be the focus of most enterprises moving to cloud, and for good reason. However, it's important to consider all the tradeoffs and hybrid cloud advantages -- especially the ones that fly under the radar.

Next Steps

Planning for your move to the hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud market remains in IBM's sights

VMware and AWS battle over hybrid cloud management

 How container orchestration engines can benefit hybrid cloud

This was last published in May 2015

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Which of these little-known hybrid cloud benefits will your organization take advantage of?
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We plan to start taking advantage of the benefits associated with containerization. We do have multiple hybrid platforms that utilize multiple types of clouds for different purposes as the article talks about. Another benefit of containerization will be to improve resource usage for our other cloud-based applications and services via clustering.
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Containers and the rapidly decreasing cost of public cloud options are driving a lot of IT decisions.  Smart hybrid is now emerging as the optimal choice, where IT develops policies around app dev and workloads that maximize use and minimize cost.
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Many people have been missing out on the perks of hybrid cloud solutions, but I think that‘s starting to change as the ecosystem begins to grow and mature. Containerization has been a big influence where I work, and has helped drive hybrid solutions that would not have been attempted before.
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Glad to see that people are now talking about containers (or even PaaS) as being the right layer to think about portability, instead of the VM. 
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