What is Hybrid Cloud?

Hi! My name is Kirill Kotlyarenko, and I work as Hosting Partner Technology Strategist in Microsoft Russia. I'm responsible for the deployment and adoption of Microsoft technologies among biggest hosting service providers in Russia. My main focus these days are IaaS, business productivity in the cloud, CRM in the cloud and other modern cloud services in a hoster environment.

As we speak about Microsoft Hybrid Cloud technologies in this blog, I want to explain what we mean with this term.

So, in terms of Microsoft, hybrid cloud consists of 3 pillars:

  1. Service from your own datacenter (or just server room)
  2. Cloud service, provided by external company from external datacenter
  3. Microsoft cloud service - Azure, Office 365 etc.

These 3 pillars are separate by default, but when you integrate them, this becomes one big Hybrid Cloud. But integration is a wide topic and it depends of what service you are integrating.

 When we speak about Hybrid Cloud regarding Office 365, it looks like this:

  • Your Exchange Server can be integrated with hosted Multi-tenant Exchange and Microsoft Exchange Online into one Exchange environment with unified address book and seamless mailflow.
  • Skype for Business (Lync) Server and SharePoint Server can be integrated in a similar way.
  • And of course, your Active Directory can be synchronized and federated with hoster environment and Office 365 (which uses Azure AD).

So it's an integration on a product level, which is product specific. Integration of AD users and groups, integration of Exchange mailflow, integration of SharePoint content etc. But when we speak about Hybrid Cloud regarding Azure, it looks a little bit different. Microsoft has a special brand name for such type of hybrid cloud. It is called "Cloud OS", and it is a concept of 3-pillar hybrid:

And to clarify - it is only about providing virtual machines with self-service (aka Infrastructure-as-a-Service, IaaS). SQL Azure and other nonVM related services are typically out of scope of Cloud OS idea.

So, Microsoft Cloud OS consist of 3 clouds:

  1. Microsoft Azure
  2. Private Cloud, based on Microsoft Technologies - Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center
  3. Cloud OS Network (COSN) - worldwide network of Microsoft partners, which provide IaaS based on "Cloud OS Network platform" (COSN Platform)

These 3 different environments can be easily integrated into one logical network with seamless routing, you can span your Active Directory across all these environments, and you can migrate virtual machines from one cloud to another cloud. For example, you can host your critical services on Hyper-V hosts in your datacenter, VMs with your company web site can be deployed to Azure, and Dev&Test VMs can be hosted in service providers datacenter on COSN Platform. Azure and COSN can be used like elastic extensions of your own datacenter, with simillar management principals and great compatibility.

 In future articles I'll provide more info about COSN Platform and how we've deployed it in my area, and how-to guides regarding hybrid cloud integration. (UPD: here is the link to the series)

 Stay tuned!