For several years, the ease of use and cost savings of cloud computing has been the focus of IT decision makers, but the idea of utilizing the public cloud has been a non-starter for organizations with special considerations for security, compliance, performance, and protecting trade secrets.

With the underlying technology behind cloud services available for cost-effective internal deployment, the hybrid cloud model of cloud computing is becoming a popular option for many organizations. With increasing frequency, companies are using a mix of public cloud platforms for some apps, while restricting others to the confines of their private network. This balance requires careful and thoughtful management of your organization’s IT resources.

In an effort to keep you informed and at the top of your game in IT, TechRepublic and ZDNet have collaborated on a special feature titled The Art of the Hybrid Cloud. We present a full view of the benefits, drawbacks, successes, and challenges of utilizing a hybrid cloud infrastructure, as well as share the experiences of other organizations that have migrated to hybrid cloud.

From the Tech Pro Research report, one-third of organizations are already using hybrid cloud, with 37% evaluating a migration to hybrid cloud. Most organizations with a deployed hybrid cloud have chosen Microsoft as their platform vendor.

In the special feature, my in-depth introduction to hybrid cloud is available for the uninitiated, as well as an executive’s guide to the hybrid cloud, which is available as a free eBook in PDF format to ZDNet and TechRepublic members.

To gain insight on the assessment of hybrid cloud by IT decision makers, the CIOs of 12 companies that make up the CIO Jury provide their verdicts on cloud utilization in their organizations. Similarly, balancing the existing infrastructure investment with public cloud vendor utilization, an issue of great importance, is also covered.

The experience of migrating to the public cloud is covered with thoughts from those who have made the jump, such as Chris Poelker, enterprise solutions VP for FalconStor Software, who points out, “Instead of radical change, a hybrid approach lets us get acclimated with concepts and contracts while still giving us control over all primary applications and data.”

Handling compliance with applicable laws — a particularly challenging task in Europe, where the EU has tighter privacy laws — is covered by Nick Heath, the chief reporter for TechRepublic UK.

For more depth and breadth of the topics discussed, check out the TechRepublic and ZDNet hybrid cloud special feature.