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shutterstock_98210885It seems the world is being overrun by hybrids these days. Hybrid cars – the technology between 100% gas and 100% electric – are all over the road. Hybrid energy solutions combining wind, hydro, solar, nuclear, and fossil fuel sources are taking hold. Hybrid people have been around forever (Bigfoot, for instance).

And then there’s the hybrid cloud, which, according to Gartner, will be deployed in over 50 percent of companies by 2017. MarketsandMarkets reports that the hybrid cloud market will reach $79.54 billion by 2018, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.19 percent from 2013 to 2018. There will be much potential and growth in the hybrid cloud arena in the months and years ahead.

So what’s driving all the hubbub?

First, hybrid cloud is a “best of all worlds” solution. It enables users to access information by the fastest possible means, whether it’s a local, on-premise server or a cloud-based hosted system, like a public cloud or private cloud. It’s the same information simultaneously stored in multiple places, served according to the user.

One easy way to look at hybrid cloud is as a stopgap measure in much the same way the hybrid vehicle was a predecessor to the all-electric car. As we know, when it comes to performance, it’s hard to beat a direct connection to a local server. There used to be no other way. But the cloud change all that, making the location of the user irrelevant. According to Gene Marks in a recent Forbes article, “irrelevant” may be too strong a term.

“Why the growth in hybrid cloud technology? Well, that’s the embarrassing secret no one wants to admit. Some may say its validation of the cloud’s role in a company’s infrastructure. I’m not so sure. In my opinion, it actually represents the limitations of the cloud."

Marks goes on to describe several scenarios where our access to information from anywhere at any time is testimony to the omnipresence of the cloud. But the performance and security of cloud-based apps can leave much to be desired. “The cloud will be wondrous and fast and secure and reliable…one day. Today, it is not. And until that day comes we have the hybrid cloud.”

IBM’s acquisition of SoftLayer for $2B in July 2013 is fueling a dramatic growth in hybrid deployments with a new range of cloud services based on the SoftLayer infrastructure.

IBM also reports that over 1000 IBM Business Partners have signed up to deliver hybrid solutions based on SoftLayer including biggies Avnet, Arrow Electronics, and Ingram Micro. As a result, there’s no shortage of choices coming to market. It’s probably safe to say that until there’s a cloud connection that is as fast, secure, and reliable as a physical cable plugged into a machine, hybrid cloud solutions may always be the best of all worlds. At least for the foreseeable future.

To discuss how your business can unlock the potential in hybrid clouds, reach out to the IBM BP Network today.

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Written by IBM BP Network