Hybrid cloud: the 'Prius' of computing architectures

RedMonk's James Governor looks at the Prius as a metaphor for on-premises-to-cloud transformation.

Increasingly, the lines between on-premises and off-premises cloud keep blurring, to the point that enterprises are essentially building and offering composite services that pull from inside and outside the firewall.

Recent vendor announcements are evidence that this is the trend. At this week's JavaOne conference, for example, CloudBees announced that its platform-as-a-service offering -- targeted at developers -- can now be extended to public cloud environments while still making use of existing on-premise IT assets. What they're saying is it doesn't matter where the infrastructure is running in the background.

RedMonk's James Governor -- an analyst who has long been skeptical of thr hybrid cloud approach -- also has been coming around and seeing the benefits this mode of cloud offers. In a recent video, he compares hybrid cloud computing to the rise of hybrid vehicles -- a great solution that helps in the transition to fully electric vehicles.

Currently, electric vehicles aren't quite there yet in terms of battery life, and the infrastructure to support them -- battery-charging stations -- still needs to be built. But there is a widespread infrastructure available for gasoline-engine cars, he adds. 

Hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius are "actually a pretty good halfway house," he states. The same could be said about traditional data centers -- they still do a lot of the heavy lifting that pure cloud applications aren't ready to support.  "On balance, maybe we shouldn’t be so purist about cloud," says James. "Maybe the hybrid is a good thing; the Prius is representative of the idea that maybe hybrid makes sense."