Hybrid cloud architecture: Key things you need to know

  • Hybrid cloud architecture enables businesses to scale computing resources from private to public clouds during peak demand and back to on-premises when demand decreases, ensuring cost efficiency and operational flexibility.
  • By combining public and private cloud environments, hybrid cloud architecture allows for seamless data transfer, workload migration, and a unified management platform that enhances security protocols and reduces global risk.
  • Hybrid cloud facilitates the deployment of modern applications using microservices, APIs, and containers, allowing organisations to test in the public cloud and deploy enterprise-wide, thus promoting innovation and reducing latency for end users.

With the widespread application of cloud computing technology, cloud services have become the first choice for many enterprises. Different cloud providers offer unique services and solutions, but enterprises often face the dilemma of “vendor lock-in” when choosing a cloud provider. To overcome this limitation and better meet business needs, hybrid cloud architecture has emerged. Hybrid cloud architecture allows enterprises to integrate public and private cloud resources, breaking down the barriers of cloud providers and achieving multi-cloud collaboration. This blog will explore the definition, working principles, patterns, benefits, and drawbacks of hybrid cloud architecture.

What is hybrid cloud architecture?

Hybrid cloud architecture combines public and private clouds through a wide area network or broadband connection, allowing applications and data to be shared and managed as a single IT architecture. This infrastructure is well-suited to fluctuations in demand for computing resources. It enables businesses to scale from on-premises to public cloud to meet increased demand and then scale back to on-premises (private cloud) when demand recedes.

Many organisations use public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to handle certain workloads while keeping others in their private cloud for cost, regulatory compliance, or technology reasons. The most common public IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

How does hybrid cloud architecture work?

A hybrid cloud architecture combines the advantages of both private and public clouds, enabling seamless data transfer and workload migration between them based on business and technical needs. This migration is facilitated by virtualisation platforms like VMware, container platforms such as Docker, network virtualisation through VPNs, and modern application deployment methodologies like microservices, APIs, and Kubernetes.

By utilising the strengths of both public and private clouds, hybrid cloud architecture allows applications to be positioned closer to end users, thereby reducing latency and enhancing user experience—a crucial factor in competitive markets.

With the recent surge in remote work, many organisations are turning to cloud-hosted desktop virtualisation instead of on-premises solutions. This approach helps isolate internet traffic from remote users, preventing it from affecting critical back-end operations in the private cloud.

Hybrid cloud architecture also offers a unified management platform, facilitating the implementation of stringent security protocols and reducing global risk.

Mid-sized businesses typically use more than one cloud service, while large enterprises often utilise all three major cloud service models:

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)

It provides on-demand computing, network, and storage resources over the internet, charged on a pay-as-you-go basis. IaaS allows users to scale resources according to needs, minimising upfront capital expenditures and avoiding unnecessary infrastructure ownership, especially during workload spikes.

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)

It offers a comprehensive cloud platform (including hardware, software, and infrastructure) for developing, running, and managing applications without the complexity and costs of maintaining the platform on-premises.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS)

It delivers application software via the cloud, managed by the service provider. This model includes popular applications like Zoom and Dropbox, with the provider handling the software and infrastructure maintenance. SaaS is the most prevalent public cloud service and the leading software delivery model.


Hybrid cloud architecture patterns

Hybrid cloud architecture patterns integrate on-premises private clouds with one or more public cloud provider’s IaaS offerings, managed as a cohesive, policy-driven cloud environment. This approach allows the extension of capabilities between private and public clouds. For example, it can leverage cost-effective cloud-based storage for archiving and backup while using existing data protection tools.

Furthermore, hybrid cloud patterns include using the public cloud as a sandbox for testing applications before enterprise-wide deployment. Organisations often start by migrating stateless front-end applications with minimal data processing requirements to public cloud providers. Over time, they increasingly deploy applications developed with modern methodologies like APIs and microservices in cloud-based containers such as Docker, managed by deployment tools like Kubernetes, which can operate across both public and private cloud infrastructures.

This approach contrasts with multi-cloud architecture, where multiple public cloud providers are used to capitalise on the unique features, tools, pricing, or geographical advantages offered by each provider.

Benefits of hybrid cloud architecture


Organisations can benefit from cost-effective cloud-based backup and disaster recovery without needing an offsite facility for IT management during disasters. If the primary data centre or private cloud encounters an outage, snapshots stored in the public cloud can be quickly activated, allowing applications to resume with minimal disruption.


When demands change rapidly, such as during the holiday shopping season or following a sudden product success, organisations can ‘cloudburst’ from the private cloud to a public cloud provider. This supports increased workloads for customer-facing and business-critical applications.

Seamless migration

Hybrid cloud architecture allows enterprises to move front-end and stateless applications to the cloud first, followed by other applications as virtual machines or in modern, containerised forms. This approach maintains legacy on-premises servers and applications whose data cannot be migrated to the cloud due to regulatory, governance, or other issues.

Cost savings

A hybrid approach enables enterprises to leverage cloud service providers’ economies of scale, particularly for long-term archival, backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity.

Drawbacks of hybrid cloud architecture

Resource issues

Organisations that originated in the cloud often lack a substantial in-house IT team, making it challenging to deploy and maintain a private cloud on-premises.


Cloud service providers (CSPs) each have unique infrastructures, tools, and access methods. Organisations have no control over changes made by CSPs, which can impact overall operations within a hybrid environment.

As always, each organisation must assess whether hybrid cloud architecture aligns with their specific needs and capabilities.


Crystal Feng

Crystal Feng is an intern news reporter at Blue Tech Wave dedicated in tech trends. She is studying Chinese-English translation at Beijing International Studies University. Send tips to c.feng@btw.media.

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