Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series “Learning from Cloud”. In yesterday’s post, we covered the opportunity that hybrid cloud provides. Today we’d like to go into three specific ways that a truly hybrid solution can benefit your business processes, your employees, and your data storage costs.

Nowadays it seems that every vendor on the block is selling a “hybrid cloud” solution. Traditional vendors with primarily on-premises products are giving their solutions a quick hybrid wash to appeal to customers looking for cloud solutions. On the other hand, public cloud service vendors are slapping a hybrid sticker on their marketing to make it seem like they can solve more problems than their “one-size-fits-all” approach actually does. It’s no wonder that customers are wary of who to believe.

This is unfortunate, because the fact is that customers can actually reap many benefits from a true hybrid solution. These solutions provide tons of flexibility in cloud service adoption, based on the needs of their business. According to a recent Gartner Post, nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. At Microsoft we offer a true hybrid cloud solution. It is built on the foundation of Windows Server 2012 R2, exteneded into the cloud with Microsoft Azure and managed through a single, consistent interface with System Center 2012.

With Microsoft, customers can utilize our globally-available Azure service, or one of our thousands of service providers (partners in the Cloud OS Network for example) to meet their infrastructure needs. Traditional on-premises IT vendors like VMware cannot offer the public cloud services that Microsoft Azure can. On the other hand, we enable customers to leverage and extend their own datacenters as the business dictates – an option that public cloud service providers like Amazon cannot offer. We’ve heard consistently from our customers that this level of choice is critical in today’s landscape. Let’s go into some specific ways that a hybrid approach can help your business.

Managing unpredictable demand

Every business experiences spikes in traffic, both to its websites and individual applications. A hybrid approach to infrastructure gives customers two options for handling those spikes. Workloads with known traffic swings can be moved entirely to the cloud, where customers pay only for what they use and can access the capacity to scale on demand. Alternatively, they can use infrastructure as a service to augment capacity as needed, while continuing to run their workloads primarily in their own datacenter. One of our customers, Trek is taking advantage of these options to take the guesswork out of datacenter provisioning.

Enabling end-users

As IT organizations look more and more to the cloud, identity management can become a huge burden. Users become frustrated by multiple credentials and the security challenges that IT faces become increasingly complex. Microsoft’s hybrid identity platform leverages customers’ existing Active Directory investments and extends it to the cloud using Azure Active Directory. IT can rest easy knowing that their identity platform is robust and flexible and backed up by a rock solid level of service while their users are delighted by the benefits of single sign on capability across a multitude of devices and services. The Walsh Group is enabling mobile workers and extending single sign-on capabilities to partners and customers.

Keeping storage costs in check

When customers talk about the stresses on IT today, the cost of storage always comes to the top. As data’s competitive advantage becomes more and more essential to business operations, storage costs continue to rise, by as much as 30% a year according to some estimates. With cloud storage, costs can be dramatically reduced. Microsoft StorSimple devices, combined with Microsoft Azure, provide cloud storage as an extended tier, automatically moving less accessed data to the cloud, while maintaining seamless integration for easy access. And that leads to cost reductions that give companies room to keep up with storage growth – without sacrificing security or ease of access. Mazda has used Microsoft StorSimple’s hybrid cloud backup solution to reduce its backup costs by 95%, and it is now able to restore data within minutes instead of the 24 hours it used to take.

Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solutions are delivering remarkable results for customers today, by allowing them to integrate agile resources into their existing infrastructure and enabling secure, user friendly capabilities for today’s mobile work force at a fraction of the price that other vendors charge. Customers can rest easy knowing that no matter where they choose to keep their data and applications, we can help them unlock the capabilities needed to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.

To learn more about what makes Microsoft’s approach to datacenter innovation truly hybrid, and how our approach to datacenter innovation can help you right now, we encourage you to:

Read the whitepaper “Why Hybrid: 5 Use Cases to Consider.”

Watch the video “Hybrid Identity helps make users more productive.”