Right now, most cloud discussions (including many on our site) revolve around private versus public deployments. However, a hybrid approach is also gaining ground, and analysts say it will be the ideal way one day to leverage cloud technologies.
David Linthicum, CTO and founder of the cloud consulting firm Blue Mountain Labs, recently told me that a lot of what is being called "hybrid" is actually missing the mark. Companies, particularly large ones, are finding use for public and private cloud models, but the models are not interconnected, and resources are not shared. They essentially serve separate functions within the companies utilizing them.
"You do not see much hybrid cloud computing out there today." That means "being able to move data between instances that you control within your own private cloud and instances of the public cloud," he said. "This model, when leveraged correctly, is the ideal solution."
According to Linthicum, a true hybrid model offers almost unlimited scalability, security, data privacy, and cost efficiency.
This hybrid flexibility is still lacking among current deployments, but he is optimistic, despite strong pushes toward public services from cloud giants. Amazon has been adamant in campaigning against the private cloud approach, but Linthicum said that if Amazon, the "800-pound gorilla" in IaaS, were to offer a solid hybrid approach, it would utilize Eucalyptus, which is widely considered the most AWS-friendly cloud management platform.
Eucalyptus calls its offering "open source software for building AWS-compatible private and hybrid clouds" on its website. "Eucalyptus recognizes that successful private and hybrid clouds often depend upon an ecosystem of solutions working together, and Eucalyptus has built this ecosystem with its partner programs."
Linthicum said the main obstacles to hybrid setups right now are their cost and complexity.
You have security models spanning outside and inside the enterprise. You have integration that needs to occur. You also have two different platforms running similar data. It is a complex, distributed system that exists between infrastructure that you own and infrastructure that you don't own.
However, the hybrid approach really offers the best of both worlds. When deployed properly, it counters common objections like vendor lockin, compliance issues, and the location of data.
We can hope more companies will offer sound hybrid approaches as the integration between private and public cloud platforms takes center stage this year.