June 7, 2023

What is Hybrid Cloud Automation? Examples, Use Cases + More Essential Info

Infrastructure Automation

What is hybrid cloud automation, and how can it help manage specific tasks in your environment? With more and more infrastructure moving into public, private, hybrid, and multi cloud environments, you may be exploring ways to automate manual processes that happen in the cloud — like configuration and deployment tasks.

Let's dive into the definition of "what is cloud automation" and benefits of cloud automation, as well as some methods to approach this strategy in increasingly complex heterogenous computing environments.

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What is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment where infrastructure, apps, and services are deployed in public or private clouds, data centers, and/or edge locations simultaneously. Hybrid cloud deployments feature orchestrations to move workloads and data between platforms.

Hybrid cloud deployments use a combination of computing, storage, and network resources. But one of the main differences between public cloud vs. private cloud vs. hybrid cloud is in how those resources are deployed and managed.

After the initial rush to the cloud leading up to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations have settled into a hybrid environment.

Learn more about hybrid cloud, including definitions and tools, in our 101 guide >>

Hybrid Cloud Explained: How to Leverage Public + Private Cloud - 101 Guide. A blurry image of cloud icons spreads across the background. The Puppet logo appears in the bottom-left corner.
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What are Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Services? 

Cloud infrastructure services include PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) to deliver, run, and maintain hosted application services like on S3, RDS, or ELB.

More users, more applications, and more complex architectures means an ever-increasing workload beyond what even the best IT teams can manage manually.

This is where hybrid cloud automation steps in, giving IT teams tools they need to handle those routine tasks (like multi-cloud deployment) at scale. Puppet is just one platform that offers a consistent way of managing infrastructure across cloud(s) and data centers — reducing the complexities of managing a hybrid infrastructure.

Puppet Works in the Cloud. (Really.)

Find out which version of Puppet is best for your cloud ops with our free guide.


The flexibility of the cloud means that it matters less where your applications are running, and more about how to best manage time to value, compliance risk, operational efficiency, and cost.

How much of your time, or your team's time, are you dedicating to common tasks within the cloud? 

By combining the resources and capabilities of public and private clouds, organizations can achieve the flexibility, cost savings, performance, and security they need to meet their business goals.

As an example of a hybrid cloud use case, a healthcare company that operates locations across different states might use the public cloud to host its patient portal. This way, patients can access the portal remotely whenever they needed to make an appointment or view their own records. The company could keep its patient records on-premises in the private cloud to meet HIPAA compliance requirements.

In this example, it's the flexibility of on-prem and cloud which makes this scenario work and stay compliant with healthcare regulations. 

The adoption of cloud or hybrid environments doesn't mean that work in the data center needs to stop while automation is configured. While this shift adds urgency for organizations to keep up with changing needs, there is still flexibility in the philosophy. 

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What is Cloud Automation?

Cloud automation is the use of automated processes to manage and operate resources and services in the cloud. Key cloud automation elements include provisioning, deployment, configuration management, scaling, compliance, and more.

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What is Hybrid Cloud Automation? 

Hybrid cloud automation is the use of cloud automation technology processes across data centers, public/private clouds, and edge computing. Examples of hybrid cloud automation include configuring cloud servers, spinning up development resources, or setting up a network in the cloud. 

Hybrid cloud automation gives infrastructure teams repeatable standards for provisioning infrastructure, managing app workloads, and maintaining infrastructure processes. In essence, hybrid cloud automation makes it as easy to manage resources and services across multiple deployments as it is in just one.

It’s important to note that cloud automation (including automating tasks like cloud infrastructure provisioning) is the same as non-cloud automation. You can take a server/service that's been automated in a data center and use the same automation in the cloud and vice versa.

Hybrid cloud automation is the same as any other automation — but it can take a server/service that's been automated in a data center and use the same automation in the cloud, or vice versa. 

For example, Puppet's use cases in continuous configuration automation can easily handle variation in infrastructure through the use of 'facts', just as Puppet can decide how to configure something based on what operating system it's on. It can even recognize if it's in a data center environment or in the cloud, or which cloud. 

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Hybrid Cloud Automation Examples and Benefits 

You can use cloud automation to... 

  • Provision and manage server capacity 
  • Spin up new environments and resources 
  • Configure software and systems 
  • Roll out software configurations at any time 
  • Bring systems online and offline as needed to balance load 
  • Scale across the data center 
  • Move into a public cloud environment to handle front-end web services or peak workloads both on-premises and off 

Hybrid cloud automation is often used to provision new resources for users (including DevOps cloud developers) and maintain a desired state across your infrastructure.

The benefits of hybrid cloud automation can range from saving time for tasks that used to be performed manually to improving security by preventing human error. 

Here’s a use case example to put things into perspective. A snack manufacturing company called Company X had been using an on-premises data center for years to handle customer information, product recipes, etc. As Company X grew, they found it more difficult (and expensive) to manage their data center on site. 

When they made the decision to move to the cloud, they also chose to automate some of their manual tasks like provisioning and deprovisioning resources, monitoring performance, and applying security updates. This not only saved them time, but it made them more agile with the ability to scale their cloud resources up or down depending on their needs. 

For Company X and others who choose to automate within the cloud or hybrid cloud, they can now: 

  • Save time by automating tasks that used to take hours, days, or even longer to accomplish. 
  • Deliver faster applications and services by reducing manual steps with the deployment process.
  • Improve security by running regular checks or implementing policy as code across the cloud environment and reduce errors. 
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Staying Secure and Compliant with Cloud Automation 

Whether you manage a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment — security across all functions isn’t optional. Automation can help you here, too. Implementing policy as code is the first step toward putting your compliance requirements and internal policies into place across your environment. Here are some ways that automation can help you stay secure:

  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) — Using authentication like multi-factor authentication (MFA) to make sure that the right people are accessing the right information is just one piece of a robust security plan. You can automate identity and access management to recognize users across your enterprise and make sure they are routed to the right place. 
  • Network Security — Firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and network segmentation are ways to protect against unauthorized access. Rules for how your network security functions can be deployed using automation.
  • Monitoring and Response — Automation can ensure that you are automatically notified when you experience configuration drift or there is a breach on your network, like a suspicious login. 
  • Data Segregation and Protection — Isolating customer or business unit data, and then encrypting that data with automatic encryption directives, is critical for keeping sensitive data and information safe. 
  • Compliance/Legal Requirements —Every cloud service provider (CSP) must adhere to regulations that are legal requirements to keep data and sensitive information safe. Automation can help turn those requirements into code that can be easily deployed across the entire environment.

You’ll also want to consider security and compliance measures if you are using different kinds of cloud environments. In a private cloud environment, there is going to be much more control over security measures across the entire cloud versus a hybrid cloud, where there is integration between private and public cloud components. 

Automation can make sure that the rules you set in place are enforced, automatically. It can also help you deploy rules across your organization, no matter how many servers or users your team manages. 

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Infrastructure as Code for Cloud Automation

This infrastructure as code approach to the modern, increasingly complex data center requires advanced cloud management tools, and cloud automation answers that need. The same software-defined approach to managing private cloud architecture works equally well for managing public clouds. 

🌧 Need a cleanup in your current cloud environment? Watch our cloud webinar on how to rein in cloud chaos. 

Bonus: By abstracting away the differences between clouds, sophisticated cloud automation software makes it easy to provision the resources the business needs at any given moment, without getting bogged down with where the servers actually sit. 

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Start Automating in the Cloud 

Puppet Enterprise can help you automate in the cloud, even across a hybrid environment. From patch management to application delivery, you can get more done with fewer resources with the power of automation. 

Even better, you don’t have to commit to try out Puppet Enterprise and see how it can help you automate in the cloud. You can try Puppet Enterprise for free: 


This blog was originally published in 2021 and has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.

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