With the Hybrid cloud is the name given to the interaction of the two variants of public and private cloud. The hybrid cloud thus corresponds to a services environment consisting of private cloud services and public cloud services. It therefore combines the advantages of both types of cloud. In addition, the three models IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be used within the hybrid cloud (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Summary of the three models
(Source: Lindner et al. 2020)

Private cloud vs. public cloud

To understand how exactly the hybrid cloud works, it is first necessary to know the characteristics of its basic components.

Private cloud (own server)

  • Focus on security
  • full possibility of customization
  • own control

Public cloud (server of one provider)

  • low cost
  • Possibility of flexible billing
  • high scalability

Building the hybrid cloud

For medium-sized and large companies, it is often sensible to combine both types of cloud in the form of a hybrid cloud in view of the low costs and high scalability at the same time (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Interaction in the hybrid cloud
(Source: Lindner et al. 2020)

For example, less critical company data can be stored in a public cloud such as Amazon or Google. Highly sensitive data, on the other hand, can be saved in your own private cloud by purchasing your own hardware.

Private cloud

In the private cloud, companies can, for example, buy their own hardware. Secure data such as secret strategies or customer-specific information. You can then adapt and encrypt your own cloud yourself so that future data misuse by a provider is excluded. An example of such a private cloud is the open source solution ownCloud .

Public cloud

Often, however, there is also less critical data in companies, such as within projects. In order to map these project efforts in a less cost-intensive and quick manner, you can use a public cloud such as Google or Amazon, where a similar data storage service is booked or set up on a server.

Due to its public accessibility, the public cloud is usually managed by an external provider. This not only eliminates the need to purchase expensive hardware, but also eliminates costs only after the service expenses have actually been used or on the basis of a previously agreed tariff model. This means that the public cloud is not only comparatively inexpensive, but also extremely flexible.

Interaction within the hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud is particularly popular in many companies because IT infrastructure requirements can usually only be implemented in a complex and cost-intensive manner on their own servers. With the hybrid cloud, on the other hand, high costs can be saved thanks to its public share. In addition, the hybrid form of the clouds is also significantly more flexible and scalable and can also easily meet short-term requirements within resource management.

Companies are often faced with the problem that their own resources are firmly defined on servers and can therefore not be used during idle times. As a result, it is rarely possible to react quickly enough to short-term increases, which in turn can lead to poor customer service. Instead, the hybrid cloud gives companies much more flexibility and a significantly faster response time (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Difference in resource use by cloud solutions
(Source: Lindner et al. 2020)

The following three examples are used to explain how such a hybrid cloud can be implemented.

Example 1: file sharing

In many companies, data storage and exchange solutions are repeatedly required to store data (file sharing). The order structure of a file sharing can be configured as shown in Fig. 4 look like shown.

Fig. 4: Folder structure of a hybrid cloud file sharing solution
(Source: Lindner et al. 2020)

Here, uncritical test environments and public flyers are automatically saved in the public cloud and critical customer data and internal projects are automatically saved in the private cloud. The responsible employees only have to save the respective data in the appropriate folder. You can do this in your own data storage solution, such as ownCloud in conjunction with a public SaaS solution such as B. Implement Dropbox.

Example 2: software usage

But a hybrid cloud can also offer significant added value in the area of software use, for example in the form of a mapping of the internal operational software. For example Field workers store their less critical data in a cost-effective, SaaS-powered public cloud. Data protection-critical applications such as the enterprise resource planning tool, on the other hand, can be operated on their own servers, i.e. a private cloud.

Example 3: software development

The third and last example now deals with the use of the hybrid cloud in software development. This use of development services from the cloud comes, for example. Apps that offer their customers the service of compressing photos through an upload function. For this, the photos are usually first saved in the customer’s account. By using a hybrid cloud, it would be conceivable at this point that the area with the complex and difficult to calculate compression of the images is mapped in encrypted form in the public cloud, e.g. by booking a public PaaS solution from Amazon. The storage and retrieval of customer data for the clear assignment of the photo, on the other hand, can be done on your own private cloud, which also contains a PaaS solution. Such a procedure for hybrid data storage can be implemented with the help of API interfaces.


It can be clearly seen that there are usually three routes to the cloud. In order to combine the advantages and added value of all three options, the decision to use hybrid cloud is often recommended.

Although the hybrid cloud is objectively not an independent product, but rather corresponds to a kind of concept, it can still be individually adapted to the use cases in companies. All that needs to be done is to separate information into critical and non-critical data. Companies then have the advantage that they can take measures that are difficult to implement, such as which the on-premise architecture can circumvent cost-effectively. At the same time, in addition to good scalability, the hybrid cloud also offers the possibility of solving short-term resource problems thanks to its public components.

Tip: Read my new book: The way to the cloud at Springer Gabler or book me for a talk .


Lindner, D., Niebler, P., & Wenzel, M. (2020). The way to the cloud – a guide for entrepreneurs and decision-makers . Heidelberg: Springer Gabler.

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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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