How do you define a hybrid cloud? My idea of what a hybrid cloud is does not seem to match what I find as the current definition of a hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud – from Wikipedia

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. Such composition expands deployment options for cloud services, allowing IT organization to use public cloud computing resources to meet temporary needs. This capability enables hybrid clouds to employ cloud bursting for scaling across clouds.

Hybrid Cloud – from TechTarget Definition

A hybrid cloud is a composition of at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud (see hybrid cloud image below). A hybrid cloud is typically offered in one of two ways: a vendor has a private cloud and forms a partnership with a public cloud provider, or a public cloud provider forms a partnership with a vendor that provides private cloud platforms.

Hybrid-Cloud-Computing-Solution1

TechTarget Definition of a Hybrid Cloud

In my humble opinion, I believe that a hybrid cloud has evolved away from its original definition, in that I believe a better definition would be, “A hybrid cloud is any cloud that uses multiple technologies.” The technologies could be VMware’s vSphere and or Microsoft’s HyperV with a touch of Citrix Xen Server. Would this not also be a hybrid solution, even though there is no public cloud presence? This is where I believe we have evolved, and we should reconsider how we define a hybrid cloud. Or, we could look into defining what a private, multiple hypervisor solution should be called.

In conclusion, and after giving the idea some thought, coming up with a new term for this multi-hypervisor solution might be the best course of action; this will present another type of cloud infrastructure to the mix. It seems that a logical choice of names could be something like “hybrid technologies”.  We could shorten that name even more; that organization could be seen as being “HyTech”. Another possibility could be more specific: hybrid hypervisor?

Regardless of what name we use, we must keep defining the technology as things evolve, so that from at least a technical point of view, we in the industry can continue to talk with each other and understand completely. Let’s face it, cloud computing is still in its infancy and will only evolve as it continues to advance.  We, the technical folks who work with the technology, should try to present and define things before anyone’s marketing department tries to do that for us.  The more specific we are in our definition, the better the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing will be.

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Steve Beaver (158 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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3 comments for “How Do You Define a Hybrid Cloud?

  1. Wayne Biehn
    April 10, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Hi Steve

    I would say that the cloud you are describing, assuming it is on-premise, is a “heterogenous” private cloud, not a “hybrid” private cloud. Building a cloud platform on single-vendor technology stack and hypervisor is probably a “homogenous” private cloud. VMware is able to deploy services to multiple hypervisors as well as into the public cloud on AWS as well as to physical servers. The ability to connect to off-premise cloud capability from on-premise cloud is what VMware regards as a “hybrid cloud”.

    Best regards
    Wayne

  2. April 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Hey Wayne,

    Thanks for the comment and I agree with your thought process and definitions. We just now need to standardize everyone’s vocabulary to be on the same page. Again thanks for reading and the comments!

    Steve

  3. Manisha Arora
    April 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Hybrid cloud(which is a combination of behind the firewall cloud + public cloud) and heterogeneous clouds are quickly merging into one. I see 2 prominent use cases emerging in the enterprises.

    1. Enterprises will deploy production instances of apps in a hybrid cloud environment such that they can take advantage of burst capabilities of public cloud for certain app components(web servers), while other app components which integrate with back end legacy systems will operate on private cloud behind the firewall. So, this is both a hybrid environment as well as a heterogeneous one. There will be a need for solutions which enable secure and resilient connectivity between app components running in this hybrid setup and also enable easy movement of app components across heterogeneous cloud technologies.

    2. Enterprises will deploy full production instances on either private or public clouds, but will experiment with flexibility with their dev and testing environments. They may run some Unit/SIT/load testing environments on private and some on public.

    So, I can see a growing need for technologies which can enable continuous movement of app components across heterogeneous cloud technologies platforms without any changes to app/systems/network.

    Your Data center now spans across both private and public clouds which run on heterogeneous cloud technologies. So, you need a software layer or fabric that can sit across these environments and enable do all IT Ops activities – change, config, deploy. And, don’t forget that this SDDC(software defined data center) should also manage the SaaS apps.

    Makes for a very interesting outlook for next couple of years.

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