Hybrid IT is no longer the new kid on the block. What was once an exciting possibility for businesses looking to realise an array of benefits, from improved efficiency to cost savings, is now a reality for many organisations.
SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organisation, an annual study that explores how hybrid IT is impacting the modern organisation, capturing responses about the benefits, barriers to consumption, and key considerations of implementation from U.K. IT professionals who have adopted hybrid IT in their organisations.
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The research found that 92 percent of survey respondents said their organisations have migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year. Therefore, it’s no surprise that IT professionals must become better equipped to monitor and manage infrastructures in this hybrid IT era.
The responsibilities of IT professionals have grown broader. Today, they must not only be a jack-of-all-trades but a master of them too.
Traditional monitoring tools no longer work when managing a hybrid IT environment, as they are unable to provide comprehensive visibility across both on-premises and the cloud, a necessity in ensuring that the high standards of end-users are met.
According to the SolarWinds study, the second greatest challenge created by hybrid IT was increased network complexity. Additionally, the study cites that IT professionals ranked hybrid monitoring/management tools and metrics, application migration, automation, and data analytics as the skills and knowledge most urgently needed to successfully manage hybrid IT environments.
The need for a combined monitoring and management solution has never been more pronounced for IT professionals, whose resources and time are increasingly strained by the demands of hybrid IT. One single dashboard would help IT, professionals, to monitor and manage the network efficiently, helping to intelligently decide what parts of the business belong in the cloud and what belongs on-premises. That said, sometimes a dashboard just isn’t enough.
On the map
The level of complexity in today’s IT environments means that IT professionals often need more than a dashboard, and instead must aim for a single-pane-of-glass, complete visibility into the entire network, both on-premises and cloud.
This is no luxury either. For a hybrid IT architecture to succeed within an organisation, IT professionals must have visibility across services and see the pathways of applications, as well as the quality of service.
The ability to map networks then becomes a vital commodity. Visual path monitoring provides IT professionals simplified detection of issues in internal networks, while also extending troubleshooting through the internet and into service providers’ networks, covering both parts of the hybrid infrastructure.
Modern network path monitoring tools simulate application-specific traffic, which passes through firewalls in much the same way as user traffic. This means that if a problem occurs in the cloud, IT pros can see what went wrong and contact the service provider with the right information to get it fixed.
Historical data from these tools can also be used to help with capacity planning, offering contextual information that can be used to decipher when a business may need to move resources on-premises.
Mapping the unknown
Getting the most out of a hybrid IT environment requires absolute visibility and access across infrastructures. So, how can IT professionals best monitor and manage their networks and, more specifically, the networks they don’t own?
- Monitor cloud and on-premises infrastructures from a single platform, allowing IT professionals to visualise the entire network landscape, and see through a single platform when application performance slows. A holistic view of this environment will help IT professionals turn data into actionable insights, and remove the need to go between multiple platforms to manage it.
- Implement a monitoring solution that offers alerts on cloud resource consumption trends, allowing IT pros to see across the entire hybrid environment. This provides IT pros with the ability to see what belongs in the cloud and what belongs on-premises. A solution that offers this level of detail could prove invaluable.
- Monitor quality of service (QoS) and the end-user experience. This can be achieved by mapping a path on how end-users are using applications and see the quality first hand. Here, metrics should be put in place to ensure that performance never dips below a certain level, with IT professionals ensuring that key changes in performance are well understood.
- Learn to trust and invest time in getting the most out of cloud service providers. Cloud service providers are not the enemy, and while IT professionals may resent handing over control of their data to outside influences, the benefits are substantial enough to warrant the leap. To ensure this trust is in place, IT pros should know each cloud service provider and its offerings like the back of their hands.
While hybrid IT may seem like a headache for IT professionals, its potential to improve your organisation is significant. Instead of fighting the tide, it’s time IT professionals adapt and start looking beyond their own environments and map the networks they don’t own. Until they do this, the true benefits of hybrid IT could continue to elude them.