As the on-prem IT experience around functionality, performance, cost and control has continually improved in recent years, all while IT has accepted that multi-cloud has its place in IT infrastructures, there will always be applications that run better on a physical platform, especially data-intensive, latency-sensitive applications. As a result, hybrid IT is expected to remain a viable strategy when delivering services to the business.
In HPE’s Master the Cloud Cliff, they found that “while many of the companies surveyed were using managed or cloud successfully for workloads such as collaboration, legacy storage, cloud bursting, cloud-native apps, and application development and testing, there are times when certain applications, configurations, or workloads run better on a private or hybrid system.” In their interviews with executives embracing a hybrid IT strategy, they found that these were the key drivers for hybrid:
- Cost/billing Issues
- Emerging technology
- Customer service
- Lower infrastructure costs
They then narrowed it further by lumping the drivers into three main categories:
- Performance: We’ve heard it hundreds of times, but it still rings true – not all workloads are created equal. The executives interviewed said that often it came down to performance, which included “speed, scalability, functionality, customer service and stability.” And with the improvements in on-prem hardware over the past several years, specifically in virtualization and hyperconvergence, IT can now truly evaluate the workload for optimal platform placement.
- Cost: It’s a rather common theme when it comes to cloud, the cost. While it often is the cheaper venue, it can also have hidden costs when not carefully and strategically approached. And as data loads and input/output operations (IOPS) increase, it can come with a hefty price tag if not carefully monitored. This is where a hybrid approach, especially for those data-intensive applications, may make sense.
- Control: No IT team likes to feel like they’ve lost control, and it can be a valid concern with cloud. “These control-based issues include flexibility, customization, security, and compliance limitations, as well as cloud sprawl and vendor lock-in.” For applications that require a high level on hands on customization, an on-prem or private cloud solution may just be the best fit. Again, it comes down to really understanding your workloads to ensure the ideal platform is chosen to support them.
The report continues with lessons learned when embarking on a hybrid IT strategy:
- Find the best Hybrid IT mix: Both cloud and on-prem have their place in supporting modern applications, but it takes careful consideration upfront to make the right decision. Choice is good, as it allows a best-of-both worlds approach.
- Emphasize IT as a core competency: The importance of IT’s expertise can’t be minimized. Whether it’s internal IT or a qualified partner, expertise is critical when designing, implementing and managing a high-performing hybrid environment.
- Consider data uses and growth expectations: If there’s anything the past couple years have taught us, the rapid rate of data growth isn’t slowing, but rather accelerating. And as a result, it needs to be a key consideration when assessing business applications and their right-fit platform. “By considering these factors up front, companies can plan long-term hybrid strategies and prevent costly mistakes.”
- Hire the right experts: Technology is complex – there’s no getting around it. And it’s not getting any easier, especially as multiple environments converge. So, having the right people on staff and the right partners by your side to help navigate on-prem, cloud and a combination of both is key.
The good news is that today’s IT team is becoming savvier in their understanding of hybrid IT and its place in supporting the demands of the business. It’s all about the right mix. The report concludes that, “As familiarity with cloud architectures increases, so does the awareness that Hybrid IT is an optimal solution for many IT functions, particularly when it comes to high-volume, low-latency applications such as big data and rich media processing. And by using a hybrid approach, companies are less likely to hit cloud cliff problems related to performance, cost, and control.”
DOWNLOAD the full Master the Cloud Cliff Report, which also includes real-world use cases for hybrid IT in healthcare, social media, public sector, retail and finance.