The term “hybrid IT” is often applied to multiple instances where cloud-based technology and legacy systems are used in tandem. Used interchangeably with “hybrid cloud”, the term also describes several IT resource management concepts and approaches. With this varied use, it’s challenging to arrive at a hybrid IT definition that satisfies all scenarios and use cases. And this lack of clarity can make it hard to properly understand whether a hybrid IT model is the right path for your organization to take as you look towards digital transformation initiatives. Let’s drill down a bit further.
Hybrid IT definitions
Hybrid IT can be used to define a lot of concepts when it comes to enterprise practices. To start, the term can encompass a strategy to effectively outsource and procure IT resources from cloud service providers. This helps cut the operational and management costs or overhead needed to run and maintain a fully on-prem infrastructure.
It can also be an enterprise computing approach that allows organizations to experiment with cloud computing while maintaining a centralized approach to IT governance. Hybrid IT also refers to cloud architectures where organizations leverage a mix of IT resources from both public and private cloud service providers.
One of the most widely accepted definitions for hybrid IT is a model that allows enterprises to manage some information within on-prem infrastructure, and some in the cloud. This model hosts a mixture of IT infrastructure platforms—notably private or public clouds and legacy on-prem systems—to satisfy an enterprise’s application workload and data storage needs. In this way, organizations that want or need to keep some of their resources in-house can still make use of the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the cloud, without being completely cloud-based.
What does hybrid IT look like?
A hybrid IT model will often combine two or more of the following IT infrastructures:
Public cloud: A managed, multi-tenant service model that’s offered to the general public and usually delivered over the internet. It includes software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, and storage-as-a-service, and usually runs on a virtual machine hosting environment.
Private cloud: Works similarly to the public cloud, but is in an environment that has been built for, and is used exclusively by, a single customer.
On-prem: Refers to all the on-premises traditional IT systems wholly owned and operated by enterprises.
Regardless of how distribution of these services is used, it’s vital that organizations combine this model with strong identity and access management (IAM) solutions that help keep both on-prem and cloud-based data secure.
The increasing popularity of hybrid IT models
Hybrid IT models reduce the costs and time spent to effectively manage fully on-prem legacy infrastructure, making them increasingly popular. With the ongoing emergence of cloud computing forcing the restructuring of traditional IT strategies, it’s no longer a debate of whether you should move to the cloud or not, but which services you should move first. With a hybrid IT infrastructure, companies on their digital transformation journey can start to quickly adopt and deploy a cloud-first strategy while deriving continuing value from their on-prem investments.