• July 7, 2016

Head in the Cloud: Hybrid Is Here to Stay

The flexibility of a hybrid approach is key to competitive growth

By Jeff Moyer, Senior Director of Global Infrastructure and Managed Cloud Services, Enterprise Services

The term hybrid encompasses a lot of terrain, covering traditional services as well as private clouds, virtual private clouds (VPCs), and public clouds. As this video from Gartner explains, hybrid refers to the use of a variety of operational models, all of which are designed to boost enterprise flexibility and accelerate time to value in a streamlined, secure manner.

When it comes to efficiently managing IT and the workloads a company needs to run the business successfully, there’s no one answer that will be right all of the time. The flexibility of a hybrid approach is key to competitive growth, and any enterprise that hasn’t adopted hybrid will need to. Hybrid is here—and it is the future.

What Goes Where

IT shops are realizing they can’t take all of the enterprise IT and place it in the private cloud. Why? Because the private cloud won’t provide the agility needed as they develop new code and new tools. In general terms, here is where each type of cloud should be used:

  • Public cloud: This is the place for development, test workloads, and workloads that don’t need high levels of security and are written in cloud native language (written to run inside public clouds).
  • Virtual private cloud: This is best for heavier workloads, ERP systems, and systems with higher degrees of security and availability that may not be written for a public cloud environment (or are written in a legacy language but want the advantage of cloud hosting).
  • Private cloud: Here is where IT should place workloads that may need to sit in a client’s data center but still require some of the cloud features and capabilities along with a higher level of security. (Read more about private cloud.)

A hybrid approach is necessary predominately because we see that companies are not rewriting their legacy code base to go to a native model in one big effort but over time. As such, they can re-platform those legacy apps to a VPC and private cloud model, and realize agility and savings from a consumption/allocation-based model without investing millions of dollars while protecting their current IT investments. With very few exceptions, every business is going to need some sort of hybrid approach in the foreseeable future. Gartner calls it a megatrend, and I tend to agree.

Things to Consider

As IT services continue to evolve into a hybrid approach, executives and business leaders must consider the answers to the following questions:

  1. Workloads: Which cloud is the best choice for each workload to ensure efficiency and agility?
  2. Security: Where are the controls and certifications in place to ensure security? How will cloud providers give my team the evidence to prove they are living up to their obligations, and what is the game plan when something goes wrong?
  3. Regionalization: How do cloud services laws in other countries affect my business? Several regions have passed specific laws about cloud services within their borders. Brazil and Russia, for example, require the cloud to reside in their country if cloud services are delivered there.
  4. Data: Where is the enterprise data going to reside, and how can it be moved in order to be useful? How will the data be managed operationally across the different cloud environments? How can we manage the data process to detect problems and ensure all systems are working together?

Navigating Hybrid with Brokers

As the IT landscape changes more and more to a hybrid approach, brokering of services provides consistent, accountable, and efficient management of enterprise assets. With brokering, leaders don’t need to worry about whether they have the skills in-house to manage the services. A broker is the enterprise’s advocate, ensuring security and efficiency in the hybrid environment.

Watch Gartner analyst Tom Bittman discuss the hybrid megatrend here and here, and see the complete series of videos and articles on Gartner megatrends.