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Are you wondering what hybrid cloud means? Maybe you are trying to figure out how hybrid cloud fits in with your company’s architecture, or you’re just curious about it how it affects cloud computing in general.

At a high-level, a hybrid cloud is a mixture of private and a public cloud environments that work in tandem to run your workloads and apps. That definition sounds straight-forward, but when you dive in and start to work, you can find hybrid cloud architectures difficult to manage without the right tools.

You can watch a video of a real-world example to clearly understand what works well on a public cloud environment and what is best in a private environment. Picture what a development team working on improving an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application would do. Consider a freight company has a system of integrated applications to manage its business and automate back-office functions related to technology, and customer service, for example. Delivery drivers can log when shipments are delivered, and customers and the phone agents who help them can see the delivery schedule.

In the following video, I break down exactly what a hybrid cloud is by starting with a simple use case for that freight company’s team of developers: migrating a legacy ERP application to the cloud. I sketch out some examples of architecture changes that the app development team might make to move some portions of their application to the cloud.

The freight company has a mobile application with “back end for front end” (BFF) architecture running in the public cloud that needs to interact with an on-premises enterprise resource planning (ERP) app. The company is pleased with the convenience of this part of the app accessible in the cloud on mobile devices, but system performance is very slow and disappointing during high use during peak times especially for the holiday season shipping, and deliveries are late or missed.

Then to improve the customer and employee experience – and the performance of the shipping system, the example describes the next step of breaking the enterprise resource planning portion of the app into microservices and moving it to a public cloud. Public resources are available to scale out the application. The developers for the freight company’s software can keep existing architecture of the enterprise resource planning app, but they can start moving to the public cloud to take advantage of the scalability. They can also take advantage of portability of the cloud by trying AI services available in the public cloud, without committing to a particular vendor.

This example shows that the freight company decides to keep the user registry on premises, in the private cloud, to have control over that information. However, it takes advantage of the public cloud to run applications and workloads.

In the video, I also highlight the following key aspects of all hybrid cloud environments:

  • Interoperability
  • Scalability
  • Portability
  • Security

Check out the video here: