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What Is Hybrid IT and 5 Reasons Enterprises Take This Approach

Depending on the search term you use to learn about hybrid IT, you may need to weed through hybrid cloud, hybrid workplace and hybrid cars! So let’s make this easy for you by explaining what hybrid IT is and exploring reasons why 82% of enterprises are taking a hybrid approach. ¹

What Is Hybrid IT?

Hybrid IT is an infrastructure model or approach that consists of a mix of components: on-premises IT, cloud (private, public, hybrid and/or multicloud), colocation and edge. The 2021 State of the Data Center survey asked participants about the mix, and they reported: ²

  • Private cloud, 70%
  • Public cloud, 68%
  • Hybrid cloud, 62%
  • Colocation, 49%
  • Multicloud, 44%
  • On-premises, 32%

How does edge computing fit into your architecture? An on-premises edge solution offers decreased latency, which helps boosts performance, and operational efficiencies – all contribute to delivering amazing customer and user experiences. But, on-premises to cloud core can often be 30-70 ms, depending upon which cloud edge you choose. Implementing a private cloud edge point of presence (PoP) at CoreSite, for example, can decrease the 30-70 ms to about 3-5 ms. Implementing a private cloud solution at the edge can drop this to <1 ms.

Hybrid Cloud Versus Multicloud ─ What’s the Difference?

Within the cloud variants, hybrid cloud and multicloud are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are different. Hybrid cloud refers to the use of both private and public cloud services that can be managed centrally through a single interface. For example, a private cloud (on-premises or in colocation) might be integrated with a public cloud. Top private cloud solutions offered by CoreSite include Microsoft Azure Stack, AWS Outpost and VMware Cloud.

Multicloud refers to the use of more than one cloud service, such as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, from two or more private or public cloud service providers. According to one study, 92% of respondents have a multicloud strategy.³ Private multicloud strategies include Google Anthos (Google Kubernetes Engine/GKE). 

Advantages of Hybrid IT

One advantage of hybrid IT is the array of options enterprises have to locate their computing resources and data. Many enterprises prefer to keep sensitive data on premises, for example, because IT teams have direct control over it for governance or compliance purposes. This trend may change as cloud providers strengthen security controls. Taking a hybrid IT approach, enterprises can design their infrastructure to suit their requirements. And, the colocation and public cloud components give them the flexibility to spin computing resources up or down – something that on-premises data centers aren’t equipped or staffed to do as quickly or cost effectively. 

On-premises computing resources require huge capital expenditure (CapEx) investments to acquire, huge operational expenditure (OpEx) to maintain and the supporting environmental infrastructure – so spinning up and down interim resources as needed is very appealing. Your business can acquire the required resources without the taking on extra debt.

Another hybrid IT advantage relates to data and the massive growth we’ve seen and will continue to see. 5G, edge and the explosion of IoT devices mean more data will be collected, stored and analyzed to support business decisions. The computing requirements for AI/ML and big data analytics surpass what’s possible or affordable for traditional on-premises IT. Enter colocation data centers that are built to support the highest power and density requirements and even provide tech support on request. 

Why Do Enterprises Take a Hybrid IT Approach?

A hybrid IT solution addresses challenges related to agility, scalability, performance, interoperability, growth, cost and risk. But, aside from tackling these challenges, some IT leaders say they don’t have a choice – that hybrid IT is essential for competitive reasons. That said, let’s look at five benefits of hybrid IT:

  • Gain the flexibility to place applications and workloads where they make the most sense based on use case. As many as 47% of workloads are running in a public cloud. ⁴
  • Take advantage of various cost structures such as CapEx, as-a-service and OpEx pricing. Both public cloud and colocation offer OpEx models, but colocation offers more of a fixed, controlled approach whereas public cloud costs can vary month-to-month, largely due to data egress fees. 
  • Reduce costs and increase data security based on certain colocation capabilities. Direct connections to cloud service providers, for example, means your data isn’t exposed to the internet but instead travels on private networks. And, direct connectivity significantly reduces data egress fees charged by the CSPs when you move data out of the cloud.
  • Support remote workers with better, faster access to data. Depending on where applications and workloads reside, data no longer has to travel back and forth to the corporate, on-premises data center – a journey known for latency and performance issues.
  • Enable growth and innovation. Expand into new geographic markets through colocation interconnection capabilities. An ecosystem of potential business partners, such as managed service providers, content delivery networks (CDNs) and IT service providers, simplifies and accelerates business connections and data exchange.


Why Will Colocation’s Role in Hybrid IT Expand?

Digital transformation (DX) will speed up as enterprises recover from pandemic-related disruption, and DX drives new IT strategies and structure. Colocation’s percentage in the hybrid IT mix will likely increase quickly, in large part because colocation represents a better economic proposition than building new on-premises data centers or refreshing existing data centers. Newer processing technologies and GPU processing power requirements far exceed what companies can build (and cool) in their own premises. Moving these workloads to a high-power capacity data center reduces the cost to process the compute operations, de-risking the project’s investment spend.

Certain colocation facilities are “super data centers” that lead the industry in reliability, scalability and disaster recovery capabilities. Additionally, enterprises look to colocation providers for: ⁵

  • Virtualized workloads
  • Advanced security
  • Interconnection services such as direct connection to cloud service providers
  • More cost-effective and flexible networking services

Want to learn more? Read a short list of terms to expand your hybrid IT vocabulary, and watch a short video discussion about 5G, edge and the future of data center interconnection. 

Aaron Canales | Solutions Architect
Aaron has 20+ years of experience providing data center solutions for small- to medium-sized business and enterprise customers.