A growing number of organisations are moving their IT operations to the cloud, but there are still businesses that are hesitant and prefer to stick to on-premises server solutions. One middle-ground option that has become increasingly popular is ‘hybrid cloud’.

As the name suggests, hybrid cloud benefits from a mixture of third-party public cloud servers and on-premises private cloud servers. So, what is hybrid cloud, and how can it help your business?

What is private cloud?

A private cloud is a virtualised IT infrastructure owned and operated within an organisation’s data centre. Having data hosted in the room next door comes with latency and security benefits. It means data is readily available, and doesn’t have to travel over an internet connection.

What is public cloud?

Cloud service providers (like Fasthosts) effectively rent server space in their data centres, this is the public cloud. They look after the maintenance of the servers, giving you one less to worry about. And because there are multiple tenants being hosted in the same data centre, an economy of scale makes the public cloud a more cost-effective solution for businesses. Public cloud offers more scalability, and businesses can choose to increase or decrease their server resources and will only pay for what they use.

What is hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud architecture combines all the good things about the public and private clouds and forms a kind of ‘super-cloud’. The connectivity between the two gives the security and latency benefits of the private cloud and the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud in one single infrastructure environment.

For a hybrid cloud integration to work properly, there has to be connectivity between the public and private clouds. This connection needs to be implemented with end-to-end network security and encryption. It's often very complex to set up, and as such a management platform is necessary to assist with deployment.

Why use hybrid cloud?

A private cloud environment is often utilised in industries where confidentiality is important, such as in the finance and healthcare industries. Businesses in these sectors like the security of having their own physical space for their servers, but also need the reassurance that they can burst into the public cloud if traffic and demand require it.

Often, they’ll run classified and confidential systems on the private cloud, and use the public cloud for less business-critical applications.

Hybrid cloud benefits from a more efficient use of network investment. It allows businesses to build smaller networks to cater for average demands, but it can be pushed out to the public cloud if the workload exceeds the resources of their private cloud.

Hybrid cloud architecture is also often used by ecommerce businesses who experience significant seasonal spikes around the holidays. With hybrid cloud integration, they can run everything in a private cloud, but still have access to the additional resources when traffic spikes.

A similar model is used for big data processing. A company can collect and store data on their private cloud, but run the resource-heavy analysis and queries using scalable resources from the public cloud.

This scalability means that companies don’t have to make spend large amounts of money just to cover seasonal requirements, they can just scale up and scale down to suit demand and maximise their efficiencies.

The Cloud Industry Forum found that 58% of businesses are running with hybrid cloud solutions, and it’s easy to see why. Our expert advisors are always on hand to offer more information on choosing your cloud server. Looking for more good reads? For all the latest, head over to our blog.