With cloud computing becoming an increasingly important part of enterprise IT infrastructure, service providers are beginning to offer a growing number of custom or semi-custom options for businesses interested in creating a unique environment to store their sensitive data. Hybrid cloud solutions, which mix both private and public platforms to give organizations the benefits associated with both environments, are realizing increased popularity as more enterprises want to create solutions unique to their operations.

According to a recent report from market research firm MarketsandMarkets, hybrid cloud platforms offer businesses high-end solutions like integration, networking, consulting, cloud management and security. Because of these benefits, nearly half of enterprises surveyed said they were planning to adopt a hybrid cloud solution in the near future. Hybrid cloud services are becoming so popular, in fact, that the report estimates the market will be worth nearly $85 billion in 2019, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent for the next four years. The biggest regional market for such services is expected to be North America, with all other regions except Europe expected to increase their share rapidly with high annual growth rates.

Researchers working on the report noted that adoption rates would likely be even higher than they currently are if not for data security concerns from consumers and worry about technological constraints causing problems with performance for networks and applications. While all forms of cloud computing have their downsides, innovations in the industry and improvements to security, functionality and operability are constantly being introduced.

Hybrid makes the transition to cloud easier
Making the move to a hybrid environment allows IT administrators to gain a better understanding of what elements they like and dislike from each type of platform and decide how to meet the company's needs. As Cloud Tech contributor James Butler noted, adopting a hybrid cloud strategy in which workloads are moved over slowly from one platform to another, companies are able to take control of their IT infrastructure and encourage real change.

"Taking an incremental approach to hybrid cloud gives CIOs a platform to lead real business change from the center, and avoid being bypassed or replaced," said Butler. "By driving the strategy and promoting the positive benefits of cloud, CIOs will reduce risks and maximize investments; rather than simply ignoring cloud and falling behind."

Using a hybrid strategy offers enterprises the ability to test new ideas in a secure environment before moving them out into a public arena, dramatically reducing development time and costs and improving troubleshooting efforts. At the same time, moving workloads to a public cloud environment in incremental stages helps companies avoid the challenges presented by traditional IT infrastructures and experience agile and cost-effective service. Benefits can also be realized in a much shorter time frame – in as little as 12 to 18 months with a hybrid platform as opposed to five to 10 years with traditional approaches.