A couple years ago, the private cloud was the great out for many enterprises that wanted to remain in control of their hardware. But as the public cloud became the more obvious choice, the hybrid cloud -- which paired on-premises private-cloud-style data centers with the public cloud -- was suddenly the strategic direction.
Hybrid cloud is the direction for most big enterprise software vendors as well because it likewise preserves their hardware and software footprint. They might suggest you can run their apps in the public cloud, but make no mistake: They'd like you to stay with their wares and not move to Amazon Web Services.
Don’t get me wrong: Hybrid clouds are often the right solution for many enterprises, not merely a pretend way to do the cloud.
However, it gets a bit tiresome when IT staff or vendors suggest the use of hybrid clouds without a sound understanding of the requirements. Hybrid clouds are often treated as a way to hedge your bets on cloud computing, but the result is often a selection of on-premises hardware and software that will eventually be replaced by the public cloud -- or replicate it. This means you have wasted millions of dollars.
Of course, there are enterprises that indeed need a private cloud or even a traditional on-premises system. For them, the waste to be avoided is onboarding a public cloud provider that may never be used. Although the public cloud promises savings through the usage-based cost model, you also pay the not-insignificant cost of setting up a public cloud for use in a hybrid cloud architecture. If the public cloud isn't right for you, why pay that large setup cost?
Let me be clear: Adopting a hybrid cloud computing strategy as a way to hedge your bets is the right approach some of the time -- but it's not be the right approach most of the time.
You have to work from your business requirements and your business case to the technical solution. That technical solution may be public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, or no cloud at all. Picking an approach simply because it provides you with options down the road is always the wrong plan.