How to explain hybrid cloud in plain English

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Capgemini’s Ryan Murphy explains the value of hybrid cloud in The Enterprisers Project, comparing its consumption-based model to how people purchase electricity/utilities.

What is hybrid cloud?

“Hybrid cloud is a term used to refer to the IT setup or architecture – and connection of – two or more types of IT environments, which use both on-premises datacenter and cloud environments, whether public or private.” -Ryan Murphy, VP and North American cloud center of excellence leader at Capgemini

The electric utility analogy

Murphy likes to explain one aspect of cloud in general by noting that it has been moving IT to more of a consumption-based model, similar to a power utility: You don’t need to own and operate a power plant in order to turn all of your lights on. (Longtime cloud industry watchers will note this utility analogy has been made – and debated – in the past. You can still use it judiciously.) Murphy notes that this is as much true for software as it is for hardware or infrastructure.

“You don’t necessarily have to own the entire environment, which is not the case with your own on-premises data center,” Murphy says. “You can buy some of those services from someone else, much like electricity. You can buy it as you need it, or you can use it as you need it.”

This comparison also helps to introduce non-technical personnel to some of the “why” of hybrid cloud, including the flexibility it allows. The metaphor needs some tweaking here, but it remains a helpful reference point: It’s sort of like if you relied on the electric utility for some of your power, but had your own generator for some needs.

While the consumption-based IT model may be growing, many enterprises will still manage some systems in a private cloud or another on-premises environment. So you might only pay for your lighting when you flip the switch on, but you still own and operate your refrigerator (rather than rent space in someone else’s refrigerator) and keep it running 24-7. Moreover, you’re the one in control of those choices.

“The complexity is: How do you decide which part of the ecosystem to manage, purchase, and use?” Murphy says. “While there’s a lot of change in the environment, striking the right balance for your organization also allows for more responsiveness and flexibility for the business and end customers.”

Read the full article on The Enterprisers Project

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