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Why hybrid cloud is becoming the new normal

Cloud is maturing and evolving, and that means cloud strategies are maturing and evolving, too. Here’s what you need to know about repatriation, the ‘new’ hybrid cloud and taking an application-first approach to your cloud strategy.

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Everyone’s moving to public clouds, right? Actually, we’re seeing another movement — perhaps not big enough to be considered a trend, but one worth noting.

A recent (and oft-cited) IDC study has found that, in some cases, workloads are migrating back on-premise from public clouds. It’s not that cloud is losing momentum; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Recent Gartner research forecasts the global public cloud service market to grow 17.5 per cent this year.

So why all the hullabaloo about repatriation? Cloud isn’t going away, but it’s maturing and evolving, and that means cloud strategies are maturing and evolving, too.

The great data migration

The IDC survey revealed that 80 per cent of respondents had migrated either applications or data in a public cloud to an on-premise or private cloud solution over the previous year.

That’s not all: Respondents said they plan to move 50 per cent of their public cloud apps to either private cloud or non-cloud environments over the next two years. Why? IDC cites security, performance, cost, control and the need to reduce shadow IT.

But cloud computing hasn’t remained static, either. A lot has changed since ‘cloud’ first entered our lexicon. These days, for example, it’s much easier to manage workloads, whether residing in the cloud, partially in the cloud or within the four walls of your data centre.

“Computing options are not limited to cloud or not: IT organizations can do both, and in 2019, the technology and tools to enable advanced management and orchestration between public and private clouds are more readily available,” says Denise Dubie in an article for Network World about the migration of workloads from public clouds.

The rise of hybrid cloud

Sometimes, repatriation is simply about moving proof-of-concept projects back to the data centre as they mature. In other cases, enterprises may have jumped into cloud without taking time to architect the right solution, and the journey was more difficult than expected. But there are other considerations, such as the rise of edge computing, that may require adjusting your approach to cloud.

Those are just a few reasons why hybrid cloud — which combines on-premise and cloud-based processes, along with orchestration between platforms — is becoming the new normal. Indeed, MarketsandMarkets predicts the global hybrid cloud market will grow by a CAGR of 17 per cent through 2023.

Like cloud itself, hybrid cloud has matured and evolved. “Originally, the hybrid cloud concept was a single cloud where compute spanned both public and private domains, existing on both sides of the firewall,” says John Fruehe, senior analyst for networking and servers at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an article for Forbes.

Today, the term refers to a hybrid cloud environment, he says, “a strategy where businesses might be running applications in different environments, with multiple cloud vendors, both public and private.”

A new approach to hybrid cloud

This hybrid environment allows you to balance performance and flexibility with other factors, such as security and governance. Instead of taking a ‘cloud-first’ approach, some enterprises are starting to take an ‘application-first’ approach, focusing on which works best for different workloads.

As Dave Cope, senior director of market development for Cisco’s CloudCenter, tells Network World, “there’s an ability to place workloads where they best reside based on business priorities, not IT constraints,” which means there’s a “natural distribution of workloads across existing and new environments.”

Built on software-defined infrastructure, the ‘new’ hybrid cloud solution “supports instance, container, and serverless operating environments; is tightly linked to one or more public cloud platforms; and is easy to link to a hybrid cloud management solution,” according to an article in Computerworld.

Everyone’s cloud journey is different, and as automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence enter the mix, it will continue to evolve. And taking an application-aware approach to cloud with a flexible, hybrid infrastructure could be the fastest way of getting there.

Images: Maxiphoto/iStock; BlackJack3D/iStock

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