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Cloud on Your Terms: Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds

Part 2 of 30: We keep hearing about "The Cloud" in IT and how it is supposed to change things in the next few years

What is a Hybrid Cloud? We keep hearing about "The Cloud" in IT, and how it is supposed to change things in the next few years. People keep using the terms Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud. What do these really mean? First Public Cloud - this is using someone else's Data Center to host applications or subscribe to applications on the Web. Examples from Microsoft of Public Cloud are Office 365, Windows Azure, and Windows Intune. Private Cloud is something different; usually this is in your own data center, possibly hosted by someone else. Microsoft offerings in this area include Windows Server Hyper-v and Microsoft System Center. These tools allow you to scale your data center to take advantage of Cloud features. Make sure you remember just virtualization doesn't alone make Private Cloud; it's much more than just that.

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So then what is Hybrid Cloud? Hybrid is a combination of things. As Clouds start to get rolled out, companies are starting to realize that one size doesn't fit all. Some companies have concerns about security with the Public Cloud; they just can't envision having all their data out of their control. Some have restrictions that will prevent this as well. Hybrid can be a combination of many things - public, private, traditional IT, etc. Flexibility and security are keys to success.

One good example is here internally at Microsoft. Email has been critical communications for many years in our culture. We have spent millions on our Exchange infrastructure to handle the load and create an extremely reliable email platform. We are embracing the Cloud by using Office 365 internally now. Not 100%, we are using a true Hybrid solution. Here is a great Podcast explaining exactly what we are doing. Parts of our users are staying on traditional Exchange servers to help test the next builds of Exchange. Others are getting moved to Office 365 to take advantage of the Cloud, we trust the Public cloud, and have a service level to our end users that Office 365 can offer. Most of them will still use Outlook 2010 to get their email. But many are remote and mobile, so the web apps are a great feature. Now across both of these platforms we still us the same security and login methods. We have our Active Directory connected to Office 365, your company can do this also.

Another great example of Hybrid Cloud is Kelly Blue Book. Read the Case Study here. They moved to Windows Azure for their website www.kbb.com this has helped them become flexible on the always changing demand on their site. At the same time saving them over $100,000! They have kept some of their data in house on their SQL servers. So they are using traditional IT in combination with Public Cloud. In the future they want to move more of their SQL to SQL Azure in the cloud.

And finally an example of Private Cloud combined with Traditional IT. Many of the companies that are exploring deploying Private Cloud don't want to do 100% deployment. So they are working through the details of combining Traditional and Private Cloud. I don't have ones yet from our case studies, but stay tuned.

Hybrid can mean whatever combination of Cloud resources you want. It is a great alternative for organizations that aren't ready to go 100% either Private or Public Cloud, or possibly combine them.

More Stories By John Weston

John Weston is a Cloud IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft.http://aka.ms/syscntr During the last ten years he has spoken to thousands of IT Professionals across the country. Before joining Microsoft full time, he spent six years as an MCT, training people at a local college and getting new Microsoft hires up to speed. He holds more certifications than he can remember, but the list definitely includes MCITP, MCSE, MCDBA, MCT, and CCNA. Before becoming and MCT, Weston co-owned a software development and consulting firm that was a Microsoft Partner based in Dallas. His primary blog includes http://blogs.technet.com/b/jweston.

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