The variety of interpretations about what hybrid cloud is, should be or could be continues to evolve ….

This is why for quite some time whenever hybrid cloud comes up I have tried to discuss hybrid cloud in very practical terms. The most popular interpretations of hybrid cloud typically fall across the following main categories:

  • Some organizations are subscribing to multiple cloud services from different cloud service providers for different IT or business requirements; therefore, they believe they have a hybrid cloud (well … maybe not quite 🙂 )
  • Other organizations believe that hybrid cloud is simply an IT environment that uses a mix of public cloud services and dedicated IT assets including virtualization and private cloud
  • A more elaborate perception of what hybrid cloud should be is offered by another group of organizations and includes the concept of workload portability and the ability for workloads to burst across public and private cloud resources as needed
  • Last but not least, a few organizations emphasize the cloud management angle, positioning hybrid cloud as a way to manage IT resources including public cloud, private cloud and traditional (non-cloud) IT using the same service catalog, SLAs and resource provisioning automation

Incidentally, these are the same categories we review during our Cisco BCA workshops. As briefly discussed in one of my latest blogs, even though different companies define hybrid cloud in different ways, hybrid cloud use is growing, with over 64% of cloud adopters consuming some form of hybrid cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Requirements

IDC defines hybrid cloud as “an enterprise IT architecture that unifies automated, policy-based, consumption-aware self-service configuration; provisioning and management of public and private cloud infrastructure (IaaS), middleware (PaaS), and database/application (SaaS) resources; and physical, virtual, and software-defined non-cloud IT assets.”

However, please do not expect this very same definition to be shared by all the major analyst firms either ….

A more interesting question to advance the dialog is ‘what are the requirements that most organizations believe should be associated with hybrid clouds?’

It turns out that – based on a broad number of responses – ‘getting hybrid cloud right’ requires workload migration, security, and policy-based control. In fact, 33% of organizations expect to migrate data between public and private clouds and have high security and policy requirements. Most IT organizations also expect that they will increasingly act as internal brokers of services. Some of these services are put together by their own developers and some are sourced from the public cloud. In this emerging role, IT needs solutions to support a single view of the services they provide, irrespective of the sourcing model, and to support governed, policy-based access to these services, wherever they may be (Source).

Hybrid Cloud - Balance

Additionally, it is very much true that most organizations want and need to place the right application on the right IT environment based on a variety of criteria. However, it is hard to take into due consideration cost, scalability, control, performance, security, and governance all at the same time – just to cite a few requirements – and get to a conclusion. Sometimes this analysis will point to public cloud, and sometimes this analysis will point to the use of dedicated/private cloud resources. Progressively, it may point to a combination of both, in an effort to ‘strike the perfect balance.’

No matter what though, putting an advanced hybrid cloud in place requires an infrastructure that enables workload portability and that includes security, policy-based management across heterogeneous environments to support enterprise governance principles.

At Cisco, we remain committed to help you advance your ‘multi-cloud’ journey, at your own pace and based on your objectives. Visit our website to learn more.




Enrico Fuiano

Senior Solutions Marketing Manager

Cisco Cloud Marketing Team