How the enterprise can embrace hybrid cloud

Cloud Pro

8 Mar, 2018

Cloud computing has come a long way since the early days of being the newest kid on the IT block. Since then, the market has evolved and organisations have improved their understanding of what the various cloud models are and what each can do for them.

Hybrid cloud in particular can be a tough nut to crack. The benefits are plentiful – although some are more obvious than others – but businesses often struggle to know where to start or what to do next.

40% of organisations are planning to deploy a hybrid cloud storage model within the next year. Read the full survey in ‘Hybrid cloud storage adoption trends’.

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The growth of hybrid cloud itself is an acknowledgement that a zero-cloud approach is increasingly untenable, according to Kevin Casey at The Enterprisers Project. It also indicates that CIOs and their team need to retain control over their data, and a hybrid cloud environment increasingly provides the flexibility needed for workloads.

Enterprises now need to be able to quickly, seamlessly and – importantly – securely move workloads, including those that are mission-critical, to and from the public cloud.

Modern enterprises are time-poor, yet information-rich with plenty of demands to fulfill. As such, they have limited resources and must continuously balance today’s business needs with tomorrow’s exacting demands and changing market landscape.

With true hybrid cloud, organisations are freed from the shackles of the mundane and complex so they can focus on their core business objectives and move from the daily grind to innovating for future success.

Organisations can extend their data centres’ reach and gain many benefits with hybrid cloud, including but not limited to:

  • The ability to build new enterprise applications and host them in Java-based architectures as well as being primed to benefit from next-generation rather than just traditional apps.
  • Develop and test more efficiently. This frees up precious on-premise resources, but also ensures businesses can move forward and react to changing industry demands.
  • Ensure disaster recovery is in place for third-party backups, test environments, seasonal activity and other locations.
  • Take advantage of next-gen capabilities from key vendors’ packaged apps and host in the hybrid cloud.

So how, then do you get from A to B when it comes to realising those benefits?

Given all the benefits available, it’s no surprise that hybrid cloud is predicted to be the dominant model used in the future. More than 90% of organisations will have deployed some form of hybrid cloud infrastructure by the end of 2020, according to analyst firm Gartner.

IDC concurs, estimating that the hybrid cloud market will grow by 20.5% by 2021, strengthened by growth in security and compliance data services.

However, there are still barriers to overcome, particularly when it comes to ensuring that the needs of the business and IT continue to be aligned. This has been a battleground in the historic tech landscape, with lines of business and technology personnel at odds and speaking different languages. For hybrid cloud deployments, in order to truly reap the benefits, there needs to be a meeting of minds.

“Hybrid cloud helps give each group what it wants: security and control for IT operations and speed and agility for line-of-business operations,” IDC said, suggesting the model is a way of bridging the gap between the tech side and line of business stakeholders.

The research house continued: “To the extent that IT can incorporate external public cloud services into formalised IT procurement, implementation, and governance processes, IT becomes a facilitator of rather than a roadblock to more dynamic business-ready IT.”

Milind Govekar, chief of research at Gartner, echoed these thoughts, saying: “Many lines of business buy external cloud services without the initial involvement of, or oversight from, IT leaders. To implement hybrid cloud services successfully, IT leaders need to introduce an internal cloud services brokerage (CSB) role responsible for the governance, demand management and delivery of cloud services.”

He added: “Those who do not think and act like an external service provider or evolve into a CSB role will gradually lose the trust of business managers, who will circumvent the IT organisation in order to access the IT services they need. This will result in more disaggregation of IT services and reduced value from the remaining shared IT services.”

Learn more about the concerns expressed around data storage and compliance, and the actions businesses are planning to take to combat it in Cloudian’s survey.

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With this in mind, enterprises should be asking a number of questions prior to making the move to hybrid cloud. These include:

  • Who needs to be involved in the decision making process?
  • Once stakeholders are established, what will our decision-making criterion include?
  • What are the limitations and opportunities with our current IT and business setup?
  • What costs are involved (both overheads and savings)? What is the ROI?
  • Will it free up resources (tech and people) to add value elsewhere in the business?
  • What workloads can and should I move and when?
  • Which service provider should I partner with and will they still be in business a year from now?
  • Where will my data be located?
  • What about security and unauthorised access? Am I protected?
  • What are the SLAs?
  • Will I be locked in or do I have long-term flexibility?
  • Will it make business life better than it is today?

Many organisations have already successfully navigated their way through the maze of questions and possible answers to enjoy the benefits of hybrid cloud and hybrid IT.

Overall, the move to hybrid cloud won’t be an overnight success story for everyone, but businesses can expect to see cost savings and increased operational efficiency when it is deployed properly.