Ligers, Tigons, and Grolars. Oh My!
The Hybrid Fascination

July 31, 2020 | min

What do mules, Priuses, and cronuts have in common?

Besides being seriously cool (yes, Priuses are cool!), they’re incredible examples of real-life hybrids. 

Science has always had a fascination with hybridization—well before we started experimenting with zonkeys, jaglions, and geeps. (Seriously, those are real.) As always, nature’s the first to have tried this out. Hybrid birds, for example, are excellent research subjects due to their  unique behavior, migratory routes, and even mating habits.

But there’s an unspoken question we should consider about hybrids, both in the animal kingdom and the world beyond: is the hybrid stronger than its parents?

When it comes to cloud computing, the answer is a resounding yes, with 85% of IT leaders claiming hybrid cloud is their ideal operating model.

But how did our fascination with hybridization start? Where did it come from? And what does the future of “hybrid everything” hold?

Seeing is Believing: Hybrid History in Action

Did you know the world’s first hybrid car can actually be traced all the way back to 1899? Ferdinand Porsche came up with the very catchy name of System Lohner-Porsche Mixte, which ran on a gasoline engine and two electric motors. But if we’re talking general availability, the Toyota Prius launched in Japan in 1997.

But the promise of “hybridizing” things started well before humans could even drive. Human-animal hybrids existed in mythology and folklore for centuries, including many well-known favorites like:


  • The canine-headed Egyptian deity, Anubis.
  • The well-known Greek myth of part-horse, part-man centaurs.
  • Kitsune, a shape-shifting Japanese fox spirit. 
  • Harpies, with the body of a bird and the head of a woman.
  • The mythical Sphinx, with the head of a human and the body of a lion.
  • The Greek Minotaur, with the head of a bull and the body of a man.
  • Mermaids and mermen, widely-known half-human, half-fish beings.


Of course, hybrid origin stories vary greatly—from the pseudo-scientific Aquatic Ape Theory said to support the existence of mermaids to the observation of jackals digging up corpses that led to the creation of Anubis. Indeed, while the purposes of these hybrid creatures couldn’t be more dissimilar, the sheer volume and variety of hybrid entities shows just how far back humanity’s interest in hybridization goes. And of course, the natural world has its own take on hybrids. 

Proof that hybridization could work was also present everywhere in nature. And while interspecies hybrids are often called “biological misfits,” they’re crucial for biodiversity—and many have gone on to become more fit animals, such as grolar and pizzly bears, a hybrid of grizzly and polar bears. These bears are far better equipped to live in their ever-shifting environment as a result of global warming. In other words, climate change spurred on a dire need to transform in order to survive—and many technologies are doing the same.

Like hybrid animals, hybrid cloud arose out of a specific need that neither a single private nor public cloud could solve on their own. According to, “security, data privacy, reliability, performance, and economic concerns'' were all driving forces behind the blending of a traditional, on-premises environment and a public cloud. 

Thus, the hybrid cloud was born.

Compromise is Overrated

It’s no wonder the idea of the hybrid cloud quickly gained traction. If you could have the best of both worlds—the security and controllability of a private cloud with the agility and flexibility of a public cloud—wouldn’t you? 

That’s the promise of hybrid cloud (and many hybrid things, for that matter). To use an example from the automotive industry, hybrid clouds are appealing because their electric motors are automatically recharged during a drive, reducing dependency on fossil fuels while saving money and maintaining performance. It’s a win/win scenario—one that has enabled hybrid cars to keep their market share.

Similarly, a hybrid cloud is appealing because decision-makers are in control of their on-premises and public cloud components—more so than if they opted for a single public cloud  platform. Since applications and workloads have disparate requirements, businesses don’t have to sacrifice some in favor of others with a hybrid model. Instead, they can pull workloads out and place them where they make the most sense. 

Put simply, you get ultimate flexibility without the limits a single platform imposes. Not to mention, in the age of work-from-home, hybrid cloud offers unbeatable support for a remote workforce. Since a hybrid cloud offers on-demand access to data from anywhere, organizations can choose to keep sensitive data on-premises and move employee-facing applications and services available via the public cloud.

But like all balancing acts, there are several tried-and-true best practices businesses can employ to make their journey to—and their experience with—hybrid cloud a breeze. Here are just a few notable ones:

  • Do establish a powerful private cloud first
  • Don’t treat public cloud the same as private cloud
  • Do standardize and automate operations
  • Don’t let knowledge silos prevent adoption

Check out the Hybrid Cloud Dos and Don’ts guide for the rest of the tips.

The Next Phase

Of course, a hybrid cloud for organization A won’t look the same for organization B, and the workload distribution will likely differ widely. For example, one organization may have mostly predictable workloads, which work best in a private cloud environment, whereas another may have workloads more evenly distributed between clouds. 

It’s important to design your hybrid cloud with your business’s unique goals in mind. The O’Reilly Designing and Building a Hybrid Cloud eBook below is an excellent resource to help you create a mature, high-performing cloud from the ground up. 

After all, a hybrid cloud loses its allure if it’s not built with the right support, including self-service capabilities, automation, and cost governance. Simplicity should be the name of the game with any cloud environment, but in a hybrid model, optimization should be a priority from the start.

Find out how Nutanix is revolutionizing the hybrid game with a straightforward, streamlined approach, helping to eliminate the need for costly, dedicated hybrid cloud specialists and freeing your organization to harmonize operations across clouds.

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