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What Is Hybrid Cloud Storage? All You Need to Know

UPDATED
May 25, 2024

 

You may have heard that there are three main types of cloud storage—public, private, and hybrid. Each has its own pros and cons, but hybrid storage is unique in that it lets you make the most of what both public and private cloud storage solutions have to offer, while also mitigating some of their downsides.

 

If you want a detailed description of cloud storage, its common use cases, why you might want to pick a hybrid storage solution over other options, and even a list of the best hybrid cloud storage services that we’ve found, then look no further than this article!

 

 

What Is Hybrid Cloud Storage?

 

types of cloud storage with blue background

A hybrid cloud straddles the line between public and private cloud storage. (Credit: SDxCentral)

 

Before learning what hybrid cloud storage is, you need to first understand what private and public cloud storage platforms are.

 

Public cloud storage involves paying a company to use its storage space on the cloud. Some companies let you rent this space for a monthly fee, while others let you purchase a permanent space on the cloud.

 

In other words, public cloud storage is available to anyone with the money to pay for them, which includes both private individuals and major corporations. Examples of public cloud storage services include platforms such as Google Drive, pCloud, and Dropbox.

 

Private cloud storage, on the other hand, involves a company (or a particularly rich individual) using its own resources to store data on its very own cloud. The company owns, operates, and maintains everything related to this cloud, ranging from a simple NAS (network-attached storage) server to an entire data center.

 

This type of storage is highly secure, given that it’s effectively cut off from the wider internet and is exclusively used by company personnel. However, private cloud storage is also generally more expensive than private cloud storage.

 

As such, most companies that use private cloud storage do so to comply with strict data privacy and security laws, such as HIPAA.

 

A hybrid cloud storage solution is a combination of private and public cloud storage options. It seamlessly combines the best of both worlds to provide a solution that is cost-effective, scalable, and secure.

 

Hybrid cloud storage provides the security benefits associated with an on-premises infrastructure (i.e., a private cloud) but also provides a way to access data when needed without having to be tied down by physical location or availability constraints (i.e., a public cloud).

 

 

In What Cases Can I Use Hybrid Cloud Storage?

 

old files stacked in a box

Companies can use a hybrid cloud platform to store old files that are very rarely used, helping save space on their private cloud.

 

Generally, hybrid cloud storage is a great option when you need more storage than your pre-existing local server can provide.

 

For example, if you already have your own NAS server set up and don’t want to spend a bunch of cash on buying another server (and the space to put it in), you can simply reach out to a hybrid storage provider.

 

Hybrid storage is also used by companies to back their data up in case of an emergency. For example, if a hurricane or earthquake wrecks a company’s local private cloud storage, it can simply use the backups that it has off-premises to get its operations back up and running as quickly as possible, minimizing any disaster-related downtime.

 

Finally, hybrid cloud storage is also used to store archival or rarely used files and documents. Leaving these old and unused files on local storage can slow down data retrieval, cause backup-related issues, and eat up a bunch of local storage space.

 

To mitigate these issues, companies usually use hybrid storage to separate these old files from those that are commonly used, which are hosted on a local, private server.

 

 

What are the advantages of Hybrid Cloud Storage?

 

padlocks with world map in the backgorund

Improved cybersecurity is one of the advantages offered by a hybrid cloud.

 

  • Security, accessibility, and affordability
    One of the main advantages of hybrid cloud storage is that it strikes a balance between a private cloud’s security and a public cloud’s accessibility and affordability.
     
    For example, a company can store only its most important documents on its private cloud storage and then upload its less-sensitive files to a separate, public cloud storage platform.
  • Cost-effectiveness
    This allows the company to minimize the expenses related to owning and maintaining its own private cloud and reap the benefits of a public cloud platform—such as high scalability and, as we’ve stated, lower costs.
  • Regulatory compliance
    Hybrid cloud storage also allows companies to still abide by regulatory requirements without breaking the bank.
     
    For example, in the case of HIPAA, companies are required to store protected health information (PHI), such as medical records, billing information, health insurance information, and any individually identifiable health information, in a private, HIPAA-compliant server.
     
    To save on costs, a company can simply store PHI on its own private server for safekeeping and then use a public server to host more general, less sensitive files.

 

 

Are there any disadvantages?

 

woman standing in front of the server room

If you’re planning on getting a hybrid cloud storage platform, you might want to have or hire some people who know their way around a server.

 

As with all things, hybrid cloud storage is not without its downsides. Some of these downsides include the following:

 

  • The price
    Yes, I know we’ve touted affordability as one of the main selling points of hybrid cloud storage, but that still doesn’t change the fact that a company will still need to spend money to purchase and maintain the hardware and software for the local portion of its hybrid cloud storage.
     
    In addition, hybrid storage can be time-consuming and costly for small businesses, especially if their IT staff aren’t exactly familiar with how hybrid storage works.
     
    Public cloud storage is still cheaper than hosting a hybrid one, but here’s the good thing—hybrid storage is still cheaper than private cloud storage.
  • Its complexity
    With hybrid storage, a company must be able to manage its own cloud storage platform, which means having (or hiring) pretty experienced IT personnel to manage the local, private storage component.
     
    Also, hybrid storage can be more complex than a simple cloud storage service because of the various software and hardware components that help local storage work and “talk” with the off-premises public cloud components.

 

 

Should I Use Private, Public, or Hybrid Cloud Storage?

 

the differences between private, public, and hybrid storage

This table outlines the differences between private, public, and hybrid storage in terms of scalability, security, performance, reliability, and cost. (Credit: TechTarget)

 

You can use a public cloud service for nearly anything that you want—be it backups, disaster recovery, archiving, and so on—for the lowest price among the three. However, for those that prioritize extreme security or are required to abide by certain regulations and laws, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

On the other hand, a private cloud is fast, highly secure, reliable, and pricey. For some, private cloud storage is a requirement, as certain industries are required by law to use a private cloud. For others, well, if you have the money and expertise for it—why not?

 

If you don’t—or if you just want to save money—there are plenty of way cheaper (and near-infinitely more scalable) options to choose from.

 

Finally, hybrid cloud storage is a great option for businesses that want the benefits of both public and private cloud storage—albeit at a higher asking price than public cloud storage.

 

If you don’t mind paying extra and want to combine the security afforded by a private cloud with the scalability and accessibility of public cloud storage, then hybrid cloud storage’s the way to go for you.

 

 

Common Hybrid Cloud Storage Providers

 

With all of these benefits, you may be pretty excited to check out and potentially sign up with a hybrid cloud storage provider. But where do you start? Don’t worry! Here are 3 platforms worth checking out for your hybrid cloud-related needs:

 

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

https://aws.amazon.com/

 

Amazon Web Service homepage

AWS is a major player in the hybrid cloud market, boasting worldwide reach and AWS Outposts, which are essentially portable servers.

 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) sits at the cloud infrastructure throne, holding a massive 34% market share in 2022. Amazon offers AWS Outposts, which are essentially portable servers that a company’s IT team can use to extend and run AWS services locally, setting up a hybrid environment effectively and easily.

 

AWS’s features include a price calculator to estimate your expenses, automated capacity scaling, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. It also boasts worldwide infrastructure, ensuring that wherever you may be, you’ll have access to your hybrid cloud.

 

2. Microsoft Azure

https://azure.microsoft.com/

 

Microsoft Azure homepage

Azure offers a highly efficient process for migrating apps and services to the cloud, streamlining a company’s transition to a hybrid cloud platform.

 

At 21% market share, Microsoft Azure sits at second place in the cloud infrastructure podium, making a name for itself by migrating on-premises software to the cloud.

 

Azure’s features include Azure Stack, which lets companies replicate the entire Azure environment locally, helping with costs and disaster recovery as well as streamlining the whole process of setting up a hybrid cloud platform.

 

What’s more, Azure also offers DDoS protection, serverless computing, business continuity and analytics, and a slew of security features, such as multifactor authentication.

 

Pricing-wise, Azure offers numerous discounts, although software licensing adds to the complexity of Azure’s pricing. Microsoft Azure also has a pricing calculator, and companies can call or chat with Azure reps for more details on the best price for their hybrid cloud needs.

 

3. Google Cloud

https://cloud.google.com/

 

Google Cloud homepage

Google Cloud’s extensive suite of features and attractive pricing model make it a good-looking option for hybrid cloud storage.

 

Although it only has an 11% market share, Google Cloud boasts a comprehensive suite of features, such as virtual private clouds, API management, various migration tools, and multiple monitoring and management amenities.

 

Plus, it also offers extensive customer support and documentation for running and troubleshooting its platforms and APIs, which helps ensure that IT staff know the ins and outs of Google Cloud’s infrastructure.

 

When it comes to price, Google Cloud is no slouch, either—they offer free trials and credits as well as contractual discounts, which helps pull in more price-conscious customers who may want a cheap and effective hybrid cloud storage solution.

 

 

Cloud Hybrid Server, Pure Success

 

And that’s it for our overview of hybrid cloud storage! With our tips and tricks and your now-expanded knowledge, you’re now more than capable of maximizing your use of this technology and its many, many benefits. Hybrid cloud storage is a great way to keep your data safe, and it also offers various other advantages over other cloud storage options.

 

If you want to learn more (or if hybrid storage just isn’t your cup of tea), here are our best cloud storage providers.