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What is hybrid cloud?

The rapid rise of the cloud has no doubt changed the way organizations do business. They’re reaping the benefits of cloud services but still depend on a number of on-premises resources for certain critical needs, like privacy and security requirements.

Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach to cloud, businesses are designing hybrid computing environments to get the best of both worlds.

Simply put, a hybrid cloud environment integrates private computing resources, like data centers and private clouds, and public cloud services. While separate entities, the private and public resources share apps, data, and services, and are managed as one unified environment.

An important distinction to make is that using multiple cloud services without the flow of data between private and public resources does not count as hybrid cloud—for example, the use of a public cloud email service that is not connected to Active Directory.

Why hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud allows organizations to harness the cost benefits and efficiencies of public clouds while maintaining the security and control of private ones. But perhaps even more critical, it gives them greater flexibility to rapidly adapt to evolving business needs or changes in the market.

Certain industries must adhere to strict security and compliance regulations. A healthcare organization, for example, may need to store confidential patient data on a private cloud behind a firewall but may still want to take advantage of a public cloud to run an app that relies on that data.

Additionally, a hybrid cloud model allows organizations to use existing infrastructure more efficiently by scaling up to the public cloud during peaks in demand. This way, they only have to pay for resources on a temporary basis rather than investing in additional pricey infrastructure.  

Hybrid cloud vs. multi-cloud: what’s the difference?

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact different.

Multi-cloud is the use of multiple cloud services from multiple providers with no orchestration among them.

An organization generally uses a multi-cloud strategy to accomplish different tasks for different departments with different needs—for example, when one department needs a file-sharing service, but another needs a videoconferencing service. Neither cloud service is connected with each other or with any on-premises resource.

In contrast, the private and public resources in a hybrid cloud are orchestrated to work together as one.

Managing complexity in a cloud-first world

While hybrid cloud helps businesses achieve more, it also brings new challenges for IT. It’s more important than ever that IT maintain visibility, control, and security of their hybrid environment.

Citrix Cloud services help businesses orchestrate their apps, desktops, and data spread across hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures through a single control plane.

Citrix NetScaler networking solutions simplify networking and security for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud by:

  • Providing reliable user access to apps
  • Protecting web access and infrastructure with user-centric security 
  • Providing full visibility and insights through intelligent analytics

Related terms: cloud architecture, cloud computing, cloud management, cloud network, cloud orchestration, cloud scalability, multi-cloud

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