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Hybrid cloud (also called multi-cloud or mixed cloud) is a type of cloud computing that combines public and private clouds, with integration, management and orchestration between the public and private platforms. This model of cloud computing enables companies to gain public cloud benefits while maintaining their own private cloud for sensitive, mission-critical or highly regulated computing services. Hybrid cloud allows organizations to leverage pay-as-you-go public cloud services without offloading all of their data to a third-party data center.

A hybrid cloud may combine one or more public cloud providers (such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform) with a private cloud platform. The public cloud and private infrastructure operate independently of each other, communicating over an encrypted connection. A true hybrid cloud is more than using private and public clouds independently to accomplish separate tasks; it is a dynamic solution that combines private and public clouds as needed to achieve better IT performance, efficiency and economy. Ideally, hybrid clouds would provide access to mixed private and public cloud resources through a single management environment. Enterprises would then be able to use different clouds on demand, moving workloads from one cloud to another, even spanning multiple clouds.

Hybrid clouds that allow workloads to move between private and public clouds as computing needs change increase IT flexibility and data deployment options. For example, a business can deploy an on-premises private cloud to host critical workloads, and use a third-party public cloud to host its test and development workloads or provide off-site data storage. Enterprises may use hybrid clouds for big data processing, seasonal spikes in resource demands, latency-sensitive tasks, and failover when a workload exceeds the capacity of its private cloud.
For private cloud workloads to access public clouds, hybrid clouds require API compatibility, network connectivity and cross-platform manageability. Standardized APIs such as OpenStack can solve many cloud interoperability issues. OpenStack enables existing virtualized workloads from multiple hypervisors to be migrated to OpenStack private clouds. Enterprise-grade Linux, container and cloud solutions, along with developer tools and technical support, enable workloads to be run – and managed – in hybrid clouds, wherever business needs require.