Everything you need to know about hybrid cloud, the $63 billion market that even Amazon is embracing after years of shunning it

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosAmazon CEO Jeff BezosAP Photo/Ted S. Warren

  • After taking to the cloud, businesses are embracing a hybrid version of the big corporate IT trend.
  • Hybrid cloud computing enables businesses to use combinations of both public cloud platforms and their own in-house data centers.
  • Even AWS, the cloud's dominant player, has acknowledged the importance of on-premise data centers, and made preliminary moves to support them.
  • After outpacing enterprise players like Microsoft and IBM in the cloud, Amazon faces a tougher challenge in hybrid cloud.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There was a mad rush to the cloud after tech giants, led by Amazon, talked big corporations, startups, and mom-and-pop shops into abandoning in-house data centers and servers and doing all their computing on the web.

Nowadays, cloud computing is a market valued at as much as $46 billion, with Amazon Web Services alone booking $7.7 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter, up 41% from the same period of 2018.

But now comes hybrid cloud, which analysts and tech companies expect to be an even bigger trend.

Hybrid cloud is the computing model that lets businesses store and process data and use applications on a public cloud - like those run by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google - while still keeping some percentage of that work in their own data centers.

Big cloud and corporate IT players like VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell are excited about the hybrid approach - not least because while they don't have clouds that can stand up to the market-leading Amazon Web Services, they do have a healthy presence in the existing data center.

In a surprising twist, even AWS has dipped its toes into the trend, even that could seem sacrilegious coming from the cloud's most dominant player -- and its most avid evangelist.

"It's counter to the marketing strategy they've deployed for years, which is 'Private is out, public is in. Make the switch,' Michael Brook, co-founder of Pitchly, a content services platform, told Business Insider. "They created a belief system by which they could convert IT from within the company. And as a result, many companies did switch."

A growing market

Amazon's about-face comes as the market for hybrid cloud only looks to expand.

The hybrid cloud market is now worth around $63 billion, and could grow to $155 billion by 2025, according to estimates from Constellation Research. A 2018 Frost & Sullivan survey of US companies found that 68% of respondents said they were planning to embrace a hybrid cloud strategy, up sharply from 29% in 2012.

IDC President Crawford Del Prete told Business Insider: "We will live in a hybrid world going forward."

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