It wasn’t that long ago that many analysts and experts envisioned a day when organizations would move their entire technology infrastructure into the cloud in order to gain nearly limitless capacity with almost no management overhead. That, of course, hasn’t happened. Most companies realized fairly quickly they’d need to keep sensitive data and mission-critical applications in-house.
Instead, most have shifted to a hybrid IT model with a mix of both cloud-based and on-premises platforms and services — and that isn’t going to change any time soon. IBM predicts that within three years, 98 percent of organizations will be using multiple public and private clouds that connect not only to on-premises systems but to other clouds as well.
At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai earlier this month, senior analyst Santhosh Rao told the audience that hybrid IT is becoming the standard because it enables organizations to “extend beyond their data centers and into cloud services across multiple platforms.” Gartner says this is being driven by the management, storage and security requirements of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain.
Benefits and Challenges
The hybrid approach is appealing because it delivers the cost optimization, flexibility, scalability and elasticity of the cloud along with the control, security and reliability of on-premises infrastructure. Nevertheless, there are undeniable adoption and management challenges.
Management becomes more complex in a hybrid multi-cloud environment due to the various standards and configurations of different providers. Integrating cross-platform services can also be difficult, as can connecting on-premises applications with cloud resources such as backup and file-syncing solutions.
Cost is another issue. Although cloud usage is known to reduce capital spending on equipment, many organizations experience sticker shock due to cloud sprawl. Uncontrolled growth of cloud-based resources can push subscription and management expenses beyond expectations.
Given these potential drawbacks, it’s a good idea to partner with an IT solutions provider with specific expertise in the development of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions. Such a provider can provide guidance on optimizing resources for deployment across multiple operating environments.
An experienced provider such as Converge will start by conducting a thorough assessment to identify and prioritize which applications and workloads can be easily migrated to the cloud and which should stay in-house. An assessment will also help determine which cloud model is most suitable, based on cost, application requirements and business objectives.
Enabling Effective Management
Of course, some key applications such as business management software suites and transaction processing apps may need to operate across a variety of environments. That will require cloud orchestration tools to manage the integration and interaction of workloads. However, IBM notes that only 30 percent of organizations using multiple clouds have a multi-cloud orchestrator or management platform that can choreograph workloads.
That’s one reason why Converge’s solution architects employ IBM’s cloud management framework to help customers deploy applications and associated datasets across multiple clouds. In addition to automating orchestration and provisioning, it delivers multi-cloud brokering through a self-service dashboard that allows organizations to choose services across different clouds for a range of use cases.
A hybrid IT environment involving multiple public and private clouds as well as traditional on-premises services is becoming the new normal for IT operations. It offers significant cost and efficiency benefits, but it can be challenging to get right. Our team of engineers and solution architects can help you evaluate your current environment and develop a plan for implementing and managing hybrid IT services.