Cloud Routing & Networking Learning Center
Learn the Fundamentals

Learning Objectives

After reading this article you will be able to:

  • Define a hybrid cloud network
  • Explain the general structure of a hybrid cloud network
  • Differentiate between the 3 major categories of hybrid cloud networks
  • Understand several hybrid cloud network strategies

What is a hybrid cloud network?

A hybrid cloud network uses IT resources that are situated both on-premises and in the public cloud. In the old days, many companies maintained their own computing equipment in a datacenter within their own building or on their own campus. Over time, many of the functions traditionally performed in the local data center have been moved to the web. File storage is one of the more common web services that have been taken over by cloud computing. But there is so much more.

Virtualization has contributed significantly to the evolution of the cloud. Network devices that were once physical equipment in a company’s data center now exist in the virtual form in dynamic cloud environments. Businesses have begun moving servers, switches, routers, and other devices to the cloud, taking advantage of its tremendous flexibility and power.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), for instance, offers a wide array of cloud services that allow users to develop their own hybrid cloud architecture. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) provide customers with flexible computing and network solutions. Simple Storage Service (S3) is Amazon’s file sharing and storage service. Other services include their managed DNS service Route 53, Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), and Relational Database Service (RDS).

The networking challenge for any IT department is to securely connect all their resources, whether on-premises or in the cloud. A hybrid cloud network should employ tools and strategies that see the network as a whole rather than as separate pieces. That means using a network management system that functions as a single pane of glass, where a technician can view and investigate the whole network from a single computer screen.

Tight integration is the key to a successful hybrid cloud network. AWS use cases include integrated identity and access, data integration, integrated network, integrated devices, and integrated resources and deployment management. The cloud may be an extension of the data center, but it should work seamlessly with existing on-site technology to form one interactive infrastructure. An application in AWS might need to access a database or directory server, for example, on premises. Secure connectivity using a global transit hub VPC is a popular architecture to support hybrid cloud connectivity.

There are significant advantages to the adoption of a hybrid cloud architecture. Due to security and compliance issues, it may not be possible to migrate all IT resources to the cloud. Low-value applications, however, or those that do not require as much security, might be the first thing that a company migrates to the cloud. Cloud computing can be cost-effective and scalable, and make perfect sense for certain parts of your information technology portfolio.

Each organization will need to find the right combination of local and cloud resources But the potential for IT optimization exists with a proper hybrid cloud implementation