Hybrid hosting: Your on-ramp to the cloud and moreWhere are you in your cloud evolution? With a multitude of disparate applications, use cases and business lifecycles, organizations may be at vastly different points in their cloud adoption and may find it difficult to decide on the right cloud model. But who says you have to choose? As explained in our recent webinar, “Is everything moving to the cloud? How hybrid hosting optimizes IT Infrastructure,” a hybrid cloud hosting solution can deliver the best of both worlds — public and private cloud in one. And in almost any scenario, companies gain significant flexibility by combining the security and control of private clouds with the agility of public clouds. It then stands to reason that more and more companies are leveraging hybrid clouds for a new level of IT flexibility, efficiency and scalability. In fact, according to GigaOm Pro’s April 2012 cloud computing market forecast, the growth rate of hybrid cloud is expected to surpass the growth rate of private deployments sometime in 2014.
While some businesses are using hybrid as an in-road to cloud adoption, it’s not all about the cloud all the time (move over cloud!). Hybrid hosting can also be defined as leveraging the best features of multiple IT services such as colocation, hosting andcloud tiers into a single environment — giving IT professionals the same flexibility, efficiency and scalability mentioned above.

How are businesses using hybrid today? Here are a few examples:

  • Online gaming: The cloud provides unmatched flexibility for scaling and bursting in the online gaming world. Combine that flexibility with the performance and security of a managed hosting environment using a single custom layer 2 Virtual LAN and you are in business — so users can slay the dragon, become the fastest shooter or whatever their little avatar heart desires.
  • Development and testing: In a traditional environment, equipment isn’t always on-hand and readily available. It’s difficult to recreate a dev environment for QA, and don’t get me started on scalability. A hybrid environment allows test and dev on-demand resources to work in combination with those they already own. So now things like repeatability of stage and production environments are more easily created, plus there’s the ability to quickly clone virtual machines. Not to mention you can pay by the drink.
  • Backup and disaster recovery: Another convenient use is the ability to link physical resources in the data center to a backup in the cloud, which is invaluable for many IT professionals. You pay only for what you use, and your data is right at your fingertips in the event of a disaster. Now mission-critical business data is restored in minutes, not lost forever.

At the end of the day hybrid hosting is about balancing your current investment with elastic demand. I’m sure you can come up with many more use cases than this list, but hopefully these are enough to get you started. Listen to more on hybrid hosting from our webcast panel of experts including Michael Carman, manager of business development for VMware, and GigaOm Pro’s research director, Jo Maitland. Plus get expert tips from our own resident cloud guru and director of hosting product management, Adam Weissmuller.