In a Gartner survey, CEO’s ranked growth as their number-one business priority and, not surprisingly, IT-related changes as number two. The shift to a digital business – defined by Gartner as the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds – is quickly becoming a reality to fuel organization’s growth strategy: 47% of CEOs reported pressure from boards to make progress toward digital business.*
What does this mean to CIO’s and IT departments?
IT organizations need to elevate user experiences and unlock new business value through digital transformation. The emergence of powerful mobile apps, new capabilities enabled by the Internet of Things, fresh insights derived from Big Data analytics – all require ever-greater agility to distribute resources effectively and respond quickly to customer demands.
IT organizations are now faced with a balancing act – driving and supporting digital-first initiatives through accelerated velocity, while “keeping the lights on” with traditional environments. For businesses in the process of digital transformation, perhaps no force has been more significant in enabling that than the hybrid cloud.
Enabling IT for digital business transformation with hybrid cloud
The ideal cloud model is different for every organization: some choose highly scalable public clouds, while others opt for the controlled access of private clouds. The trick is to find the right balance with the fewest tradeoffs. And that’s where hybrid clouds come in. In a hybrid cloud implementation, you decide which workloads are best handled by scalable, fast-to-market cloud platforms and which ones belong with traditional and core business systems.
This flexibility helps you compete more effectively for a lower TCO A hybrid cloud capability provides much flexibility: for example, you can use public cloud as a development and testing environment, and then move actual live production onto your private cloud for greater security and control.
To alleviate increasing storage costs, stretched data sets across a hybrid environment enable you to keep non-sensitive data on the public cloud for lower cost models while retaining sensitive data on the private cloud. Office 365 can live on the public cloud, while Exchange remains on-premise.
Creating an effective Hybrid Cloud: Consider these factors
Selecting the ideal public/private cloud solution requires careful consideration of how each model would meet the total needs of your organization:
- Business factors: Weigh your various use cases, time to market, agility, legal and regulatory concerns. Finance strategies should take into account TCO and CapEx vs. OpEx tradeoffs, billing models, demand profile, scale of service, business continuity and disaster recovery. Also consider geographic location of users and data centers.
- Technology factors: Measure performance to meet workload demands and SLAs for application developers and end users, including specialized compute requirements and large datasets. Also look at the cloud-readiness and compatibility of existing applications, as well as security, integration, and licensing.
- Ecosystem factors: Evaluate cloud service providers and service models, including Software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
For a hybrid cloud to work effectively, though, it’s essential that public and private clouds be integrated and interoperating seamlessly. Otherwise you’ve got separate systems working in parallel with data in silos. The solution: a software-defined architecture to orchestrate operations based on organizational IT policies and changing operational priorities.
Building your hybrid cloud with integrated systems that are software-defined
Three tier architectures have been mostly hardware-centric, which has caused longer deployment cycles and labor-intensive management. To accelerate digital transformation, IT must develop an architecture that is built for high velocity; that infrastructure is now software-based. First to be virtualized were physical servers, then storage, networking, and so on.
Today, software-defined infrastructure (SDI) offers a unified platform so that your hybrid cloud solution can be managed through automation and orchestrated from a single console for a consistent operational model across private and public clouds.
*Gartner Report: CEO Survey – CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business