The growth of the hybrid

In the first of our two-part special Bree Freeman looks at why more companies than ever are opting for a hybrid cloud solution.

With 2015 literally just around the corner, the time for reflection is upon us. This past year we have seen the Cloud come out of its infancy and become entrenched into the fabric of our working lives. More and more companies have come to understand the potential of the Cloud and are embracing the technology with aplomb and greater understand of what the Cloud actually means for their business.

For me there is only one word that encapsulates the Cloud market this year – the ‘hybrid’. The perfect marriage between both private and public cloud services. This year hybrids have gained considerable traction, especially with enterprises, which are increasingly turning to hybrid cloud solutions to remain flexible and agile. According to the latest research by Technology Business Research at least 20% of 1,600 companies surveyed have integrated at least two clouds and creating a £4.5 billion hybrid integration market this year.

But why are enterprises turning to the hybrid option? Many experts believe that it’s because companies are not prepared to completely trust all their information and services to public clouds. And there is good reason for that concern – you just have to watch the news and hear about Amazon outages, Azure outages, services unavailable like Office 365, DropBox, Gmail, and so on. But could it be that businesses love the low cost and ease that public clouds offer, while taking advantage of increased security and tailor-made aspects that private clouds provide?

One of the key draws of a hybrid model, is that it allows the enterprise to still keep their private information on premises, but at the same time provide employees with tools that support the new way of working — with the so-called ‘anytime, anywhere access’. So if the public cloud isn’t right for everything, but organisations still want some sort of cloud, it usually ends up being a hybrid deployment.

Whatever, the reason why enterprises are adopting a hybrid model, cost and on-demand flexibility are major factors to most that I’ve spoken with, the rise in hybrid adoption is on the rise and set to continue into next year and beyond. If you don’t have a hybrid cloud now, research firm Gartner says you most likely will in the future. The firm says that hybrid cloud is today where the private cloud market was three years ago. By 2017, Gartner predicts that half of mainstream enterprises will have a hybrid cloud.

And according to the results of a recent Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) poll of 250 UK senior IT and business decision makers 80% will have a Hybrid IT environment by July 2015. “This means that nine out of 10 companies will continue to invest in on-premise IT alongside and integrated with Cloud solutions. In other words we are in fact seeing the normalisation of Cloud in the hybrid IT market,” said Alex Hilton, CIF’s CEO.

And according to London-based independent analyst and consultancy firm Ovum our European counterparts are also set to switch to a hybrid cloud. They recently surveyed more than 1,000 European organisations and found that almost half of them plan to set up a hybrid cloud within the next two years, despite private clouds dominating existing deployments, because these are good fit for their business processes and workloads.

In the case of embracing the hybrid cloud, the movement will likely continue to grow though the pace of that growth may slow. More businesses are likely to adopt a hybrid cloud, which may accelerate the transition into a full-fledged adoption of cloud computing. Time will tell if this will be the case, but as confidence in the cloud grows and technology advances, businesses will likely be more comfortable to make the switch.

But be warned don’t go down the hybrid route without being fully aware of the potential pitfalls along the way. It is only natural that there will be a fair amount of trial and error before a company can start to maximise the many benefits of hybrid and in part two of my report on hybrid clouds I will endeavour to guide you through the potential challenges and discuss strategies for a successful hybrid adoption.

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