The cloud has been making quite the splash in the enterprise recently, providing businesses with a better solution for data storage and mobile working opportunities. As more organizations implement cloud strategies, it is becoming clear that a large number of IT administrators are choosing hybrid environments to make the most out of their cloud investments and experience improved elasticity, availability and security at a reasonable price. Hybrid cloud adoption is growing so quickly, in fact, that the number of businesses implementing a hybrid environment is expected to triple in the next three years, according to Data Center Knowledge contributor Toby Owen.

"Businesses implementing a hybrid environment are expected to triple in the next 3 years."

A major part of the appeal of hybrid cloud deployments is that they offer the best of public and private cloud environments. While many organizations enjoy the convenience and cost-effective aspects of public cloud infrastructure, it can be difficult for IT administrators to approve placing business-critical applications and sensitive data in a public deployment. Private cloud environments offer improved security, as they are managed by the company itself. However, they are less agile than public platforms and can make it difficult for businesses to run efficiently.

"When you look at cloud in general, and you say 'I'm going to take my data, I'm going to store it somewhere that's outside my own data centers,' that already is a big hurdle to cross for many companies," said Rani Osnat, vice president of strategic marketing at data protection hardware provider CTERA Networks. "What you need to do is wrap enough security around it for that company to feel at least as comfortable with that concept as they do with storing it in-house."

Hybrid cloud is a rising star in the business world.Hybrid cloud is a rising star in the business world.

Enterprises see benefits with hybrid cloud solutions
Hybrid clouds merge both of those aspects together, creating an ideal deployment by offering the best of both worlds. Applications that need to be easily accessed can be kept in a more open public environment while sensitive systems and files can be kept in more secure private environments, ensuring all assets have the level of security and accessibility necessary. However, while the security and agility benefits of hybrid cloud deployments have made the option increasingly popular, a number of factors have played a part in the hybrid cloud boom, including price, performance and capacity.

Cost: According to research conducted by technology market research firm Vanson Bourne, cost is consistently reported as being a major factor when IT administrators are deciding on cloud investments. Since cloud computing is able to lower costs by reducing the amount of physical equipment necessary, the choice has become popular with many enterprises. Hybrid cloud infrastructure helps organizations reduce costs even more by offering businesses the ability to choose cloud features à la carte, picking everything from the operating system to the firewall protections. When companies customize each piece of their cloud environment, they are able to have total control over the cost, resulting in significant price reductions for most enterprises.

Performance: The technology that goes into a hybrid cloud deployment has grown increasingly sophisticated over the last few years, offering improved functionality and accessibility as well as enhanced capabilities. Today's hybrid cloud solutions are starting to incorporate many advanced offerings from infrastructure and software providers. Because these environments incorporate sophisticated features like disaster recovery, bare metal and virtual servers, online portals and HPC capabilities, service providers are able to offer hybrid cloud solution bundles that can meet the specific requirements of individual businesses. With more use cases and wider applications, hybrid cloud is a natural solution for businesses of all sizes.

Capacity: One of the most pressing reasons so many organizations are turning to hybrid cloud solutions is due to a need for more data storage capacity. A growing number of enterprises are now utilizing big data analytics, and Gartner has predicted that 80 percent of business processes and products will be reinvented, digitized or totally eliminated due to big data by 2020. Dealing with such a massive amount of information requires companies to utilize a cloud solution that is not only agile enough to handle processing such large amounts of data, but has the capacity to store the information in the first place. Hybrid cloud is the reliable answer, melding security and agility into one ideal platform.