We are in the midst of a once-in-a-decade shift in the technology landscape. Nowadays, end-users expect nothing less than a seamless consumption experience, keeping them blissfully unaware of the changes happening in their IT environments. In order to meet and exceed this expectation, IT infrastructures are having to evolve in an era dominated by hybrid IT: migrating some infrastructure services to the cloud whilst continuing to host critical services on-premises.
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A recent SolarWinds report, IT Trends Report 2016: The Hybrid IT Evolution, revealed that 90 per cent of IT professionals say that cloud technologies are important to their organisations’ long-term business success. With improved flexibility and agility, infrastructure cost reduction, as well as eliminating the need for maintenance of an underlying infrastructure, it’s clear that adopting a hybrid IT infrastructure, driven by cloud services integration and delivery, is essential for future business success.
Hybrid IT – worth the effort
When working in a hybrid environment, 86 per cent of respondents in the SolarWinds study listed ‘increased infrastructure flexibility/agility’ as the top five rated benefits. Having the choice between leveraging on-premises or cloud services, IT professionals will have the ability to consider workload resource distribution, security and performance needs, amongst other things.
Along these lines, a hybrid IT approach can also deliver greater cost efficiency, with 70 per cent of IT professionals listing it as the second highest benefit. With hybrid IT, the IT department is able to better align with business needs and choose specific services for workload allocation. Is it cheaper to store this data or run this application on-premises or in the cloud?
Finally, ‘eliminating responsibility for maintenance of underlying infrastructure’ was named as the third biggest benefit (67 per cent), indicating that hybrid IT provides IT professionals with less technical debt to deal with, which translates into more time to qualify and quantify best-of-breed services.
It is undeniable that hybrid IT holds plenty of benefits to the IT team, as well as the business as a whole, but what are the barriers to adoption?
Cloud will not be suitable for all workloads anytime in the foreseeable future and, even if it were, few companies would convert all of their existing services and applications to run in the cloud
The skillset to unlock hybrid IT’s potential
As illustrated by the study’s findings, IT professionals need to arm themselves with a new set of skills, products and resources to succeed in the hybrid IT era.
The number one barrier to adopting hybrid IT is security and compliance concerns (66 per cent). IT professionals can ensure the security of their IT infrastructure, both on- and off-premises, with hybrid IT monitoring and management tools. Security and compliance starts with awareness of potential threats and developing countermeasures.
Nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of respondents indicated that one of their main challenges in moving towards a hybrid IT environment is the work it takes to get there. Although overcoming tech debt and tech inertia can be a time consuming and potentially difficult task, this is in reality a short term challenge, which will provide fruitful when it comes to the long-term benefits for the entire business.
Finally, as when overcoming any challenge in life, the IT team needs to develop and improve key skills and knowledge in order to successfully manage hybrid IT environments. By learning about service-orientated architectures, automation, vendor management, application migration, distributed architectures, API ecosystems and hybrid IT monitoring and management tools, IT professionals will position their IT career for viability and longevity. Today’s IT professionals need to reach across traditional roles and become polymaths in order to be successful in the hybrid IT world.
The reality is hybrid IT
Cloud adoption is everywhere and used by nearly everyone in modern business, whether they know it or not. Cloud will not be suitable for all workloads anytime in the foreseeable future and, even if it were, few companies would convert all of their existing services and applications to run in the cloud.
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The resulting dynamic—one set of critical on-premises services connected with another set of services in the cloud—is hybrid IT. And at the centre of this evolution is the IT professional who needs to ensure always-on performance of applications, devices, networks and systems—regardless of whose premises. In turn, they need to be empowered with executive support to gain the skills and tools required to properly manage hybrid IT environments. And if executed successfully, this will allow businesses to truly unlock the innovative potential of the cloud.