Hybrid Cloud is Not Genetically Modified, But You Can Still Benefit


When I hear IT people use the term hybrid, I recall my background and education in biology.  In the biology community, hybrid usually refers to the result from a combination of two different species or subspecies.  For example, a zonkey is a cross between a zebra and a donkey.  More recently, hybrids have also been associated with the controversial practice of genetically modified crops where genes from completely different organisms are spliced into a plant to provide an otherwise unavailable benefit.  Some strains of corn have had a gene added to improve their resistance to popular herbicides.

Zonkey, Half Zebra Half Donkey

In the technology community, the term hybrid is more loosely used.  Most often, hybrid means the combination of two different platforms or technologies to deliver a similar function.  Hybrid often suggests the mixing of hardware and software platforms that perform a similar function and this model is frequently associated with virtualization and the software defined data center (SDDC). 

Hybrid is More Like Calico

More recently, we have used the term hybrid cloud to represent the use of private and public cloud architectures together for an application delivery platform. Hybrid cloud is not like the biology version of hybrid since we are not combining distinct and different architectures to create a single new one.  We are leveraging the benefits of both cloud models to create a more robust application delivery infrastructure.

Private cloud architectures are designed to deliver the availability, scalability, and resiliency that I discussed in my previous articles, The History of the Cloud, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  That agility and elasticity is delivered through load balancing technologies embedded in the cloud paradigm.

Public cloud leverages vendors to create an ecosystem that offers infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or even software as a service (SaaS) so that the business is no longer responsible for the general infrastructure required to support the application and its delivery.

‘You Got Your Chocolate In My Peanut Butter’

The combination of the public and private clouds creates an opportunity to build an application delivery infrastructure that is more flexible than either of the cloud models separately.  It becomes possible to leverage the control and oversight of having the application in the private cloud and leverage the elasticity and scalability benefits of leveraging the public cloud, without having to own and manage the underlying infrastructure.  It becomes easier to meet the application SLA requirements of the application and end user communities.

The important aspect to remember when looking at the hybrid cloud is that it is still essential to manage and orchestrate the environment for a fully agile and elastic application delivery infrastructure.  The benefits of the hybrid cloud die off quickly if separate management and orchestration systems are required for each cloud model and each application’s delivery infrastructure.  A unified and holistic view of the application delivery environment is critical to realize the benefits of the hybrid cloud.


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