Back in the good old days when the cloud was cool, but nobody knew what it was, hybrid cloud was a pairing of public and private cloud. Indeed, hybrid cloud was popular because it allowed us to say we were moving to cloud computing while placing the majority of our cloud bets on private cloud. We got a cloud we could still physically touch, with the option of moving to public cloud in the future.  

These days, , and public clouds are everything and a bag of chips. So now what’s a hybrid cloud?

If you take your cue from the larger enterprise players and their “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy, anything running on-premises is now the analog for a private cloud, no matter if it can do cloud things or not. Of course, these vendors provide connections and “integrations” with their public cloud overlords, many of which chased them out of the public cloud marketplace during the last few years.

The idea these days is to protect the installed base. As the public cloud becomes a more and more attractive option, these vendors are delaying migration by providing hybrid cloud services, where traditional legacy workloads remain. However, they now work and play well with public cloud services as well. Et voilá, the new hybrid cloud.  

The standard approach has been to develop middleware services that connect traditional systems, such as mainframes, to the public clouds. While many of us would look upon this as an unnatural act, the reality is that it provides most enterprises with some cloud migration breathing room.

And while we could all get in a circle and point out what’s wrong with this approach, the reality is that today’s “pragmatic hybrid cloud” as I call it, offers greater benefits to enterprises than the public and private cloud mashups of the past.   

Indeed, these vendors are making a nice home for legacy applications that are no longer forced to move to public or private clouds and can remain in production now with public cloud services at the ready if needed. This means easy access to predictive analytics, cognitive computing, and other public cloud services that can be had for a bargain compared to what they would cost if implemented all-in on-premises.

In other words, the new hybrid cloud is indeed a bit confusing to many, and looks like a step backward to some. However, it is more beneficial to most Global 2000 enterprises out there, considering that they gain more flexibility to leave legacy systems in place. They are no longer forced to move… at least not yet.