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Most enterprises have adopted a Public Cloud strategy and are moving their infrastructures to the cloud, many of which are taking a phased or incremental approach. A subset of these enterprises are adopting a Hybrid Cloud approach. We hear a great deal about the Hybrid Cloud as a result. But with so many variations of Hybrid Cloud, it may be helpful to lock in on a common definition, after all hybrid can mean more much than just a mix of on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

A Hybrid Cloud Definition

Gartner® defines hybrid as “policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services”. I would add that this is achieved by architecting IT infrastructure in any combination of Public and Private Cloud on prem and off on physical and virtual infrastructure.

To avoid confusion, here are a couple of distinctions worth making:

  • Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud—These two concepts can overlap, but multi-cloud means hosting workloads in more than one cloud provider’s infrastructure, e.g. in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure that may or may not interface, where Hybrid Cloud implies integration, portability and even interoperability. An organization can have a multi-cloud strategy that is 100% based in the cloud and can also include on-premises services.
  • Hybrid Cloud vs. Hybrid IT—It is easy to confuse these two, but they’re different. Hybrid IT is about mixing legacy systems like mainframes and monolithic applications with faster-moving application development and delivery processes like DevOps and Continuous Integration (CI). It is possible to have both Hybrid IT and Hybrid cloud, but the two concepts are distinct.
  • Hybrid Cloud vs. Hybrid Storage—Hybrid storage is a mix of spinning hard disks (HDDs) and flash solid state drivers (SSDs). In Public Cloud, particularly for some applications like SAP, architecting with Hybrid Storage, including shared storage is key.

Like Cloud, Hybrid Cloud is a strategy. It offers the ultimate flexibility to architect for performance, value and scale by redefining, extending and blurring the bounders of the network perimeter. Like Cloud, Hybrid Cloud is a strategy. Choosing the hosting provider and moving assets to the cloud is secondary to evaluating the workloads, orchestration and connectivity.

Drivers of Hybrid Cloud Adoption

Enterprises find several different reasons for moving from an on-premises-only model of IT to Hybrid Cloud. The need for flexibility in IT is one of the main drivers. For instance, some businesses have peaks in compute or storage needs. In the SAP world, month, quarter and year and are much more resource intensive. and look to elasticity for “bursting” of system resources.

Financial drivers are always a factor. The cost of placing different workloads on different platforms can impact cost. But the same CAPEX verses OPEX considerations also play a significant role when thinking hybrid.

Performance for many workloads like SAP is critical. Not all workloads are created equal and no single solution fits all.

Operational efficiency is also a consideration and driver when considering Hybrid. The ability to bring orchestration and management into a single provisioning and management plane is an objective.

Finally, availability, resiliency and scale wound out the drivers for Hybrid Cloud adoption. Many enterprises look for the ultimate flexibility by architecting for interoperability where the

Together, all these drivers provide value and drive Hybrid Cloud adoption.

Hybrid Cloud Options

There are many ways to architect a Hybrid Cloud. The process starts with assessing the workloads. This needs to include secondary or 3rd party processes. The combination of variables is virtually limitless and include variations of Private Cloud (on prem or hosted) Public Cloud, Virtual and Physical infrastructure and multiple cloud providers.

The way you manage your Hybrid Cloud drives operational efficiency and impacts all downstream business outcomes. In some cases, it is desirable to architect a new Hybrid Cloud from scratch (greenfield), but most enterprises supplement existing services and build out from there.  With SAP, the options for segmentation by process, product and landscape all exist, and Symmetry can help you develop a strategy and navigate the challenges of setting up and running an SAP Hybrid Cloud.

Making the move to Hybrid Cloud requires special skill sets and many challenges and decisions emerge with the development of a Hybrid Cloud strategy. These include issues like data security, compliance, cloud management, integration between on-premises and cloud management tools, service level agreements, quality of service and more. Symmetry offers an array of solutions and services to help you make the most of SAP in a Hybrid cloud environment.

Jay Graboff, Cloud Product Manager

Jay Graboff is a Senior Cloud Product Manager that has been evangelizing innovation and digital transformation before there was either. With over 8 years delivering Public, Private and Proprietary Cloud, his passion and love affair with technology is rooted in what the Cloud can enable.