What Is a Hybrid Data Center?

3 min. read

For decades, traditional data centers have been the most predictable and controlled infrastructure to house high-risk and proprietary assets, such as personal information, medical records and financial information.  

Today’s modern applications however need to be able to move based on business requirements, across on-premises data centers, private and public clouds anywhere around the globe. These highly distributed applications need to grow, shrink and be moved, rewritten and redeployed according to business needs.

To support this level of application elasticity and mobility enterprises are turning to a hybrid data center architecture. A hybrid data center utilizes technologies such as virtualization, cloud and software-defined networking to deliver application workloads everywhere across physical data centers and multi-cloud environments.

The modern, hybrid data center enables greater IT efficiency, automation, and agility, supporting the delivery of new application workloads across dynamic network fabric and virtual machine infrastructure. Use of a hybrid data center is an evolution strategy that allows organizations to create the right mix of cloud and traditional IT to suit their needs.

There Are Options

Given the various “flavors” of hybrid data centers, you need to evaluate the combination of on-premises, private and public cloud that allows your applications and services to be spun up the most quickly, securely and efficiently.

Workload Locations

  • On-premises data center – a physical deployment on an organization’s premises that houses its computing and networking equipment.

  • Private cloud – a hosted compute, server and infrastructure service owned and managed by a third-party service provider or organization.

  • Public cloud – compute, server and application services from a cloud provider.

  • Hybrid data center – organizations can deploy a "lift and shift" approach where application workloads move across servers and network  infrastructure located within physical data centers and across multi-cloud environments (private, public and hybrid clouds).



Data centers that span multi-cloud environments offer a larger attack surface, which can translate to increased complexity in networking and cybersecurity. It is critical to maintain full visibility and precise control of your data center regardless of the architecture. It is also important to implement a best practice methodology and adopt an approach to data center security that is independent of the individual environments you’re utilizing.

A hybrid data center architecture allows your organization to extend data centers into cloud services. This evolution of the data center enables flexible scaling for network, storage and compute demand surges. Hybrid data centers offer the best of both worlds: security, performance and reliability with agility, scalability and cost savings across on-premises data centers as well as multiple public, private and hybrid clouds.

With the hybrid cloud market set to be worth US$1 trillion by 2020, hybrid data centers are poised to play a vital role in the storage, management and computation of data, applications and information in the near future.