5 Things You Should Know About Hybrid Cloud

Many enterprises are adopting hybrid cloud strategies, but in doing so, they face significant challenges.
Andi Mann
Kathryn Brett Goldman
Detroit CIO Beth Niblock (l), and Code for America's Jennifer Pahlka (r)
Lori Bush(l) and Nicole Raimundo(r)
Janakiram MSV

Enterprise IT leaders say that they are embracing hybrid cloud and multicloud strategies — but they don’t always agree on what those terms mean. That leads to complexity and confusion.

In the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud report, 81% of the 997 technology professionals surveyed said that they have a multi-cloud strategy, and 51% said that they have a hybrid strategy. However, a separate Hybrid Cloud Survey from vendor Stratoscale, got a wide range of answers to the question “What does ‘hybrid cloud’ mean to you?” The two most popular answers were that different workloads belong in different environments (39%) and the ability to move workloads between private and public clouds (38%).

Similarly, in a recent Forrester Research report titled “Top 10 Facts Every Tech Leader Should Know about Hybrid Cloud,” lead author Lauren E. Nelson pointed out that 74% of North American and European enterprise IT infrastructure decision makers surveyed by her firm described their cloud strategy as hybrid. But when Forrester asked what “hybrid cloud” means, answers varied widely. The most popular answer, selected by 25% of respondents was “multiple public and private clouds,” followed by “integrating public cloud with our non-cloud on-premises infrastructure and data” (23%).

“Hybrid cloud means very little,” Nelson concluded. “Hybrid cloud, as the market defines it, is the use of cloud in parallel with other technologies — cloud or non-cloud. It’s cloud plus anything. Essentially, it describes every organization, but with absolutely no specificity.”

Because the definition of what constitutes hybrid cloud is both so murky and so all-encompassing, IT leaders understandably have a difficult time figuring out how to prepare for and manage these new environments. They often lack visibility into what their counterparts at other companies are doing or how best practices are evolving.

Nelson’s report offered up 10 observations that could help enterprises craft their hybrid and multicloud strategies. The following slideshow summarizes five of those findings.

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