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August 6, 2018

How Hybrid IT is Changing the Traditional Enterprise Technology Strategy

Hybrid IT is rapidly becoming the technology strategy of choice for enterprises, in many cases to take advantage of cloud computing benefits while maintaining colocated assets. The impacts of digital transformation, as well as business growth, are creating the widespread need for hybrid IT across industries (Microsoft).

  • 46% of enterprises have deployed a hybrid solution in preparation for future IT strategy in the organization
  • 37% of organizations are driven to hybrid IT by business growth

Over the past few years, the hybrid IT story has changed. Its positioning started as a mode of conveyance from on-premise colocated assets to the cloud and evolved into a strategic business decision designed to provide enterprise flexibility. While it has its functional purposes, hybrid IT is a journey that requires specific skill sets to navigate the associated complexity. Compliance, security and the ability to draw the proper boundary around your IT systems all become more difficult in hybrid scenarios. When your boundary is virtual, it becomes necessary to raise the bar for compliance and security strategies, as well as advanced tools for properly visualizing IT systems.

Then there are the effects of the public cloud, such as Azure and AWS. While they’re being used with increasing frequency, these platforms aren’t necessarily amenable to your applications. Typically, companies need to save vast amounts of information, but putting that volume of data on a SAN is very expensive. Plus, while going straight to AWS can appear to save money, AWS doesn’t always speak the same language that your applications speaks. Cold storage is another option, but it’s not readily accessible. DataBank employs a Storage Gateway Solution that’s a combination of cache and a translator easing the pain of a hybrid transition to the cloud.

The latter is an example of how an experienced partner can alleviate the pain and cost of moving applications to the cloud, which is one of the reasons it’s rare to find an enterprise with an all-colocation or all-public cloud model. As such, IT professionals have to consider that different assets warrant investment in different products, but again, this introduces complexity into:

  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Orchestration
  • Policy management

Controlling Hybrid IT Chaos: 4 Challenges and Solutions

1. Cost

Obviously, cost is a consideration for any technology strategy, often boiling down to a choice between CAPEX and OPEX. In the case of hybrid, this typically comes into play when aiming to move particular technology assets to the cloud.

However, given the associated complexity of hybrid, maintenance costs can increase when managing IT internally. This is where offloading your hybrid infrastructure can become an attractive option. If you’re struggling to hire the right talent for the continuous care and feeding of numerous application stacks, a service provider with greater scale could be a better option. Additionally, an expert hybrid IT partner can be thought of as a single location for managing thousands of servers—enterprises can reap the resulting cost savings.

2. Risk

Like we said, hybrid IT has become standard. It’s pretty much necessary in order to properly deliver services, but with its use comes an increase in compliance and security risks. The compliance consequences of hybrid IT are, of course, dependent on the industry and nature of your business. On a high level, having data in more places and under the control of cloud providers complicates things.

When it comes to hybrid IT, compliance standards aren’t consistent yet, but it seems that the direction is headed towards shared accountability between cloud providers and customers (CSO from IDG). It’s less pressure for enterprises, but there’s still the need to ensure service providers are experts on the rules.

Security in a hybrid environment becomes tricky, too. Traditional tools and practices don’t work as well when you have to integrate and manage a multitude of disparate products built for solving disparate problems. Dealing with hybrid security comes down to two primary challenges: 1) achieving comprehensive visibility into user activity and workloads and 2) finding a way to collect and analyze the data generated by such a widespread environment (CSO from IDG).

This is another opportunity to alleviate a hybrid pain using a reputable service provider. The real key is identifying a partner with a chief information security officer and dedicated security and compliance engineers. This will allow you to build both compliance and security into your hybrid configuration.

3. Scale

Hybrid IT can present an excellent opportunity to scale your environment, but the journey will present obstacles. Experience has proven that flexibility in scaling capacity across different data center environments is key to doing it effectively.

When integrating cloud with your on-premise colocated assets, it’s easier to deliver new capabilities to end users while managing cost. Hybrid cloud enables the ability to access resources on demand while getting the most of your current infrastructure. Keep in mind, though, that scalability isn’t an immediate benefit of a hybrid model if your solution isn’t managed properly. If you’re handling management in-house with limited resources, you may struggle to take advantage of the scalability opportunities the cloud has to offer.

If you’re looking to maximize scalability potential as much as possible, you’ll be better off partnering with a hybrid IT provider to ensure you’re taking advantage of both horizontal and vertical scaling opportunities.

4. Agility

If you’re succeeding at agility, then you should be able to onboard and deliver new technologies efficiently and with ease. Achieving operational agility also comes down to the right expertise and internal resources. With so much emphasis being placed on technological innovation, churning out interesting and useful solutions for your customers on a continual basis is now critical to competitive advantage. When executed on correctly, hybrid IT allows you to mix and match the precise combination of services that will help your business focus more on customer needs.

But you can’t be agile if you don’t have the proper resources. To maximize agility, your people, processes, technology, and economics have to be properly aligned. In many cases, this means consulting the appropriate hybrid IT expertise in order to ultimately improve business outcomes and operational efficiency (CIO from IDG).

You Can’t Escape Hybrid IT, but You Can Master It.

Digital transformation is inevitable, and hybrid IT is the optimal strategy to cost-effectively leverage the right resources for the right applications simultaneously. The problem is, it’s difficult, risky, and time-consuming to cover all of your bases when you’re running disparate environments, and there’s no way around that—so don’t go it alone.

If you have questions about your hybrid strategy, or your IT environments are generating complexity and depleting resources, DataBank is well-equipped to assist. Our hybrid IT specialists can work with you to identify any areas of deficiency in your current infrastructure and create a roadmap that will efficiently, effectively guide you toward hybrid success. DataBank is so much more than power and space. We’re here to help you dominate your own digital transformation and take the load off your IT department with the perfect blend of managed services.

Start the journey to a successfully orchestrated hybrid IT platform with a trusted partner. Get in touch with us today, or call us at 1.800.840.7533 and speak to a hybrid IT specialist.