The hybrid cloud is the talk of the industry for 2014, and a hybrid cloud for SharePoint / Office 365 is no exception. But not everyone is going hybrid, at least not permanently.

Back in 2010, Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft was fully committed to the cloud, saying "the cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities." And it has proved this with the continual development of Office 365 and other cloud based services. Ballmer’s view was echoed in a recent interview we did with Mark Kashman, Microsoft senior product manager. In that interview he said:

With cloud as the basis for services, we could realize our vision for providing our customers with a consistent experience, keep pace with innovation (ours and our customer’s) ... Today, the technology that empowers our customers has to be mobile, social, and flexible -- always connected and available anywhere. Our customers are dealing with these technology megatrends that are transforming how business is done today -- both externally and internally -- and cloud is a key enabler of how these trends help them reimagine their businesses.”

The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud

The focus has not only been the public cloud, but also the hybrid cloud, which combines public cloud services (like Office 365) and applications / storage located in a private cloud. According to Gartner, it’s this hybrid cloud model that will really find its wings in 2014.

Why a hybrid cloud? Many say it’s because organizations are not prepared to completely trust all their information and services to public clouds. And there is good reason for that concern -- you just have to watch the news and hear about Amazon outages, Azure outages, services unavailable (like Office 365, DropBox, Gmail, etc.). Gartner actually predicts that by 2017 over half of the mainstream organizations will have a hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud is the platform that will dominate the industry moving forward, says Vikrant Karnik, a senior vice president at Capgemini who oversees the system integrator’s cloud consulting business. He works with large enterprise customers to plan and execute their cloud strategies and says that many of the big financial and pharmaceutical companies, for instance, will likely never be comfortable migrating their entire IT operations into the public cloud.”