hybrid cloud computing modelWhen it comes to cloud computing, organizations are shifting away from a purely public cloud model towards a hybrid model. According to the 2016 State of the Cloud report by RightScale, private cloud adoption grew from 63 to 77 percent, driving hybrid cloud adoption from 58 to 71 percent year over year. This year, the report shows that while private cloud adoption fell, hybrid cloud is still the preferred strategy for enterprises, and 58 percent of businesses plan to adopt hybrid cloud. Currently, cloud users are running multiple clouds, with an average of 1.8 public clouds and 2.3 private clouds. Top cloud concerns for executives? Cost management; lack of resources and expertise; and security. How does hybrid cloud adoption fit into this picture?

What is a hybrid cloud?

Let’s first review what exactly a hybrid cloud is. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hybrid cloud is “two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).” In other words, if you want to run part of your application on a public cloud and have a different part in a private cloud, combine the two to get a nice, hybrid cloud that balances both environments but remains connected, based on the unique needs of your organization.

What are the benefits of a hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud is about maximizing workloads in the best environment and managing costs. It’s not necessarily all about public or private cloud, but how to orchestrate both. The AWS outage in late February demonstrated how helpless many companies became by having all their eggs in one cloud(y) basket. In addition, despite the public cloud’s touting of cheap services, costs can quickly get out of control, as Snapchat admitted in February.

A hybrid cloud environment doesn’t solve the problems of cost management and uptime visibility by itself. Multiple providers means multiple bills and more costs to manage. The best solution is a fully managed hybrid cloud, where the provider acts as a cloud aggregator and manages all your cloud environments for you within a single service. The benefits shouldn’t be ignored: The ability for an organization to see all of its cloud services in one window eliminates confusion between the different providers, and gives the CIO more control over their IT spend as well as clear visibility into current costs and uptime.

Hybrid cloud is slowly but surely becoming the new model for IT organizations and service providers. That means a mix of public and fully managed clouds that quickly enable scalability and growth while providing consistent uptime and cost management. For SMBs, the complexities that arise from managing multiple environments can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s most likely more cost effective for them to move their infrastructure to a service provider who can integrate the different environments into a single window. Once that’s done, the business can regain control over its infrastructure without worrying about managing it or maintaining it.