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What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is one in which applications are running in a combination of different environments. Hybrid cloud computing approaches are widespread because almost no one today relies entirely on the public cloud. Many of you have invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours into on-premises infrastructure over the past few decades. The most common hybrid cloud example is combining a public and private cloud environment, like an on-premises data center, and a public cloud computing environment, like Google Cloud. In the "How-to hybrid" section below, we discuss how some of you may operate a combination of on-premises and multiple public cloud environments, effectively being both hybrid and multicloud.

Want to learn more about Google Cloud’s hybrid cloud offering? Check out Anthos.

Hybrid cloud solutions

Hybrid cloud solutions include applications, or their components such as compute, networking, and storage, when deployed across public and private clouds. On-premises servers are also often referred to as private clouds.

A hybrid cloud approach is one of the most common infrastructure setups today because you can continue to use your on-premises servers while also taking advantage of public cloud options like Google Cloud.

What are hybrid cloud benefits?

Effective application governance

A hybrid approach allows you to decide where your application sits and where hybrid computing happens. This can help improve privacy and ensure compliance for your regulated applications.

Improved performance and reduced latency

Sometimes, distributed apps at remote locations benefit from a hybrid cloud solution. For applications with low latency requirements, hybrid computing happens close to the end users.

Flexible operations

Hybrid computing gives you the flexibility to operate in the environment that’s best for you. For example, by building with containers, you can create portable applications and easily move between public and private clouds. 

Improved ROI

By adding a public cloud provider to your existing on-premises infrastructure, you can expand your cloud computing capacity without increasing your data center expenses. 

How-to hybrid

A hybrid cloud setup may include multiple cloud providers making it both hybrid and multicloud. Using one or more public clouds in addition to your on-premises servers can facilitate and simplify management of your application and help you get more from the cloud. Let’s discuss three methods for migrating to the cloud:

Lift and shift: Migrate an app from a private computing environment to the public cloud without major changes

Improve and move: Refactor and modernize an existing application first, then move to the public cloud

Rip and replace: Sometimes modernizing an app is not cost-effective or possible: it needs to be replaced entirely

What is a hybrid cloud approach used for?

A hybrid cloud approach is suited for you if you want to take advantage of the scale and security of a public cloud, such as Google Cloud, while keeping your data on-premises to comply with data residency laws or supporting computing needs closer to your customers. For some of you, with critical systems operating in private and public clouds, hybrid computing is a great option. Here are just a few examples of the use cases:

Modernize at your own pace

With a hybrid cloud you can migrate applications to the cloud at the pace that makes sense for your business and transform your technical infrastructure over time.

Maintain regulatory compliance

Many industries have rules surrounding where your app can operate. Hybrid can help you use private and public clouds while adhering to any regulatory requirements.

Running apps on-premises

You may have regulated applications that need to remain on-premises or mainframe systems that are difficult to move to the cloud. 

Running apps at remote edge locations

If you are operating in industries that demand edge hybrid computing for low latency, such as kiosks in retail or networks in telecom, a hybrid approach lets you run select apps at the edge. 

Google Cloud makes your hybrid experience simple and prioritizes security. That’s why we offer Anthos, a consistent Kubernetes experience for your applications across on-premises and multiple clouds. Using Anthos, you get a reliable, efficient, and secured way to run Kubernetes clusters where you choose. When running in Google Cloud, you can manage your applications using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), our managed Kubernetes service for running containerized applications.