Survey: The Future Is Hybrid Cloud

CloudsWhen it comes to choosing between public and private cloud computing initiatives and old-school on-premises IT infrastructure, the ultimate answer, at least in the U.S. and the U.K., is a little of each.

New data from research firm Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Rackspace Hosting Inc., suggests that while the public cloud remains important to IT decision-makers, its limitations as a one-size-fits-all solution are becoming apparent. Those limitations have many larger businesses turning to hybrid cloud infrastructure that combines public and private cloud and dedicated servers working together for specific applications or workloads.

The survey of 400 U.S.- and U.K- based IT decision-makers in organizations with more than 1000 employees found 60 percent have moved or are considering moving applications or workloads either partially (41 percent) or completely (19 percent) off the public cloud because of its limitations or the potential benefits of other platforms, such as the hybrid cloud.

The research also shows that two-thirds of those polled see hybrid cloud as the ultimate outcome of their cloud efforts, rather than a stepping stone to using the public cloud alone. That sentiment was higher in the U.S. (72 percent) than the U.K. (49 percent). Only 13 percent disagreed that hybrid was the ultimate destination while 27 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.

“The findings of our study indicate that the hybrid cloud is the next cloud for many organizations,” said Rackspace CTO John Engates. “They may have started with a public cloud-only architecture, but have come to realize the limitations of this approach as they’ve continued on their cloud journey.

“They turn to the hybrid cloud because it can combine the best of public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers, delivering a common architecture that can be tailored to create the best fit for their specific needs,” said Engates. “For example, instead of trying to run a big database in the public cloud on its own, which can be very problematic, businesses can leverage the hybrid cloud to run that database much more efficiently on a dedicated server that can burst into the public cloud when needed.”

The Rackspace-funded study also found hybrid cloud is now used by nearly three quarters of respondents for at least part of their application portfolio, with U.S. organizations (80 percent) more likely to use it than U.K. businesses (64 percent). Better security topped the list of reasons for turning to hybrid cloud at 52 percent, followed by better reliability at 48 percent, reduced costs at 46 percent and better performance at 44 percent.

These trends are backed up by the experiences of those who have already moved to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, nearly 60 percent of whom say they’re realized more control and better security. The experienced hybrid users also report an average reduction in overall cloud costs of 17 percent.