Hybrid is the new normal, providing IT organizations with the agility and flexibility to keep pace with the business demands of digital transformation
Organizations are accelerating their digital transformation efforts to keep pace with the changing competitive environment and intensified customer expectations. In this digital era, business innovation is highly IT-dependent. In order to meet these demands, IT leaders are increasingly leveraging a variety of IT environments, including on-premises infrastructure, hosted private clouds, and public clouds.
As outlined on a recent 451 webinar, Optimized Workload Placement in Hybrid Cloud Environment, IT leaders are seeking operational flexibility and agility while also taking into account the need to manage cost, performance, security, compliance and data protection.
In a recent 451 Research Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse survey, 60% of respondents reported that the majority of their IT environments will operate outside the confines of their own data centers by 2020, shifting to off-premises service provider environments such as public clouds, hosted private clouds, and colocation data centers.
However, as IT environments become more diverse, they also become more complex, potentially limiting the extent to which enterprises can leverage containers, DevOps, and other application-enabling approaches. In a hybrid world, automation and orchestration hold the keys to successful cloud migrations and ongoing management and governance.
Public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is now a mainstream workload/application deployment model, currently in use by nearly 50% of organizations according to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Hosting, and Managed Services, Workloads & Key Projects 2018 survey. As cloud embeds deeper into the IT landscape, enhanced systems agility, IT modernization, faster application deployment, and access to new cloud-based capabilities are emerging alongside cost reductions as key drivers.
Organizations are migrating ever more workloads to public cloud environments, but many find that their initial informal approaches to cloud adoption can result in availability, performance, resiliency, and security issues when cloud-based applications no longer operate in isolation from other enterprise workloads. As IaaS maturity proceeds, the need for cloud management (design, management, orchestration, and support) capabilities increases.
The highly dynamic nature of digital business and the associated IT transformation means that there are no easy answers to questions about optimal workload placement. Deployment models for individual applications and workloads will depend on a range of factors, including lifecycle stages, usage patterns, application behavior characteristics, data criticality and data sovereignty considerations.
Given this situation, hybrid IT environments are gaining momentum as the architecture of choice as various workloads and lifecycle implementation phases require different combinations of on-premises and off-premises, public cloud and private cloud IT resources. According to 451 Research Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting, and Managed Services, Budgets & Outlook 2018, 58% of respondents point to hybrid IT as the strategic direction for their organizations’ IT architecture.
Multi-IT environments are emerging as a key on-ramp to digital transformation, ensuring the operational flexibility needed to meet current and future business requirements. Furthermore, new IT architectures also facilitate organizations’ ability to support next-generation data-centric workloads such as data analytics/business intelligence, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Organizations need more formalized approaches to cloud migration and operations and should begin their cloud journeys with a clear understanding of the anticipated benefits, alignment between business and IT objectives, and app-by-app assessments of optimal IT environments or “execution venues.” This is not to say that application requirements won’t change (they probably will), but cloud readiness involves making sure that app dependencies and policies are documented so that workloads can move if needed.
To achieve cloud governance, a unified view of the IT environment — with management and orchestration to optimize the use of venues and deliver capabilities to line of business users and developers — is an absolute requirement.
Whether this can ever be delivered in a single tool remains an open question. However, skills shortages in areas related to leveraging the cloud (platform expertise, DevOps, cloud architecture) and integrating cloud resources into the larger enterprise IT estate (orchestration/management and security) mean that service provider assistance will emerge as an option for organizations more concerned with executing on their IT strategies than wrangling with their IT environments.
Making cloud work “as advertised” to deliver the benefits of business agility and IT flexibility scale is getting harder. Solutions to the complexity may lie outside the IT department.
We recently co-hosted a webinar highlighting 451 research on the key trends in cloud hosting and migration strategies. It included a discussion about how the cloud journey can not only be accelerated, but can lay the foundation for a resilient, business-aligned IT organization that will withstand the changes ahead.
Watch the webinar replay here: Optimized Workload Placement in Hybrid Cloud Environment.
Melanie Posey is the Research Vice President and General Manager for 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation offering. She focuses on tracking, analyzing and anticipating the pace and nature of enterprise cloud adoption.