Cloud computing

What is hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud is a combination of 1 or more public and private cloud environments. It’s a pool of virtual resources—developed partially from hardware owned and managed by a third-party company as well as hardware owned by the enterprise using the cloud—orchestrated by management and automation software that allows users to access the resources on-demand through self-service portals supported by automatic scaling and dynamic resource allocation. This separate—yet connected—architecture lets you run some workloads in the private cloud, others in the public cloud, pull resources from either, and use the clouds interchangeably.

How do hybrid clouds work?

The way public and private clouds work as part of a hybrid cloud is no different than how standalone public or private clouds work: Virtualization abstracts resources and pools them into clouds; automation software allocates these resources; and management tools provision new environments. Private and public clouds become hybrid clouds when application programming interfaces (APIs), virtual private networks (VPNs), or wide area networks (WANs) connect the 2 environments as seamlessly as possible.

That interconnectivity is the only way hybrid clouds work. Without it, you just have separate public and private clouds. How well-developed those connections are has a direct impact on how well a hybrid cloud works. And the most important technology behind strong cloud connections is often the most overlooked: the operating system.

The consistency, reliability, and flexibility of the operating system determines how smooth the connections between public and private clouds are. If you use the same operating system to build your private cloud, use your public cloud, and bind them into a hybrid cloud, then your environments will be so interconnected that they'll become immaterial—users won’t know or care what their workloads are running on. But in order to build a hybrid cloud like that, you have to start with the operating system.

Hybrid cloud security

Security is always a top concern for enterprises—regardless of the environment. While there are some unique hybrid cloud security challenges (like data migration, increased complexity, and a larger attack surface), the presence of multiple environments can be one of the strongest defenses against security risks. Hybrid clouds let enterprises choose where to place workloads and data based on compliance, audit, policy, or security requirements. A properly designed, integrated, and managed hybrid cloud can be as secure as traditional on-premise environments, and there are even a number of reasons why government agencies should adopt hybrid clouds.

Cloud-native application development

Hybrid cloud, DevOps, and cloud-native applications are all helping bridge the gap between yesterday’s monolithic architectures and today’s modern application development approaches. Hybrid clouds connect the private and public clouds (which have historically been used independently by development and operations teams) so that applications can be ported back and forth across environments and teams as needed. It provides a stable compute foundation to build, deploy, and manage those applications.

Allowing cloud environments, containers and virtual platforms to run side-by-side in a hybrid cloud environment frees development and operations teams to release and scale as needed. This interconnected nature allows development and operations teams to work together in a DevOps model: A process by which teams work collaboratively across integrated environments using microservice-based applications supported by containers.

Why Red Hat

It's hard to abstract the varied benefits of these technologies when proprietary code inhibits them from interacting with one another. For an enterprise to realize the value of a hybrid environment, each environment needs to work across every business and IT department—not just a portion that’s running on a homogeneous software stack. Enterprises have always run a heterogeneous set of technologies. We see this with hybrid clouds today. But cloud silos based on proprietary technology aren't the right answer, which is why we’re all about open hybrid clouds.

Open hybrid clouds bring the interoperability, workload portability, and flexibility of open source to hybrid environments. It’s backed by thousands of developers from hundreds of communities creating platforms that bridge datacenters with clouds, incorporate infrastructure with containers, and test security limitations. Open source solutions keeps long-term interoperability in mind and streamlines the deployment process when migrating from 1 cloud provider to another or from an on-premises environment to a cloud-based one.

Our portfolio of cloud products can bridge environments together: optimizing traditional applications, supporting cloud-native apps, and creating a unified experience between them.

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All the pieces you need to create a hybrid cloud


A stable, proven foundation that’s versatile enough for rolling out new applications, virtualizing environments, and creating a secure hybrid cloud.


A management and operations platform that unifies hybrid cloud environments.


A combination of tightly integrated Red Hat technologies that lets you build and manage an open, private cloud.


All the private cloud infrastructure and management tools you need plus a container application platform that helps you move workloads across hybrid environments.


The distributors, managed service providers, and partners that can help you build a public cloud.

There’s a lot more to do with hybrid cloud