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August 17, 2018 | Sarah Fowler

Leveraging a Hybrid Cloud Environment to Accelerate Digital Transformation

Businesses embarking on digital transformation need to make big decisions about their infrastructure. Perhaps the biggest decision is how much of their data and applications will need to migrate to the cloud. Depending on the diversity of their IT systems, that question may require a complex answer; few organizations can migrate everything to a single cloud environment. In fact, the majority have a hybrid mix of public, private, on-premises, off-premises, cloud and non-cloud environments, selected based on the differing requirements of the applications, user needs and business goals.

The increasing hybridization of corporate IT is a key finding of 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise survey. The study found that 58% of companies are or will be adopting a hybrid mix of cloud and non-cloud infrastructure, while another 12% are moving to a combination of public and private cloud. Conversely, just 30% plan to adopt some type of “pure” environment, either public cloud (18%), on-premises cloud (4%) or on-premises non-cloud (8%). 

On demand webinar_Enterprise IT Shifts Off-Premises: Cloud, Data, & Digital Transformation

Watch the webinar to hear Melanie Posey discuss more findings
from the Voice of the Enterprise survey. 

Why are hybrid models popular? For many reasons. In Posey’s survey, over a third (35%) of the respondents use a multi-cloud or hybrid IT model to do dynamic workload management, moving workloads as needed based on factors such as cost, security and available resources.

 Other reasons involve dividing the types of applications. Nearly a third (31%) use on-premises resources for legacy workloads while putting workloads on public or hosted cloud environments, and 27% keep internal business systems and data on premises while moving the external, customer-facing applications to public or hosted cloud environments. Finally, a quarter of the respondents use cloud services only for off-site backup and disaster recovery.

Also, some move to a hybrid model after they’ve experimented with cloud services and opt to keep some cloud apps while moving others back to an on-premises or colocation facility.

Read: Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Computing Trends

Posey describes the most popular workload deployments for cloud and non-cloud environments.

  • Public cloud. Ideal for highly distributed or highly variable workloads that can benefit from on-demand and scalable processing power. Many companies opt to put the customer-facing portions of their applications on a public cloud for easy accessibility and scalability. The cloud services architecture also supports a DevOps methodology much better than legacy infrastructure.
  • Managed public cloud. A public cloud with managed services provides expertise that a business may lack. Managed services providers can handle the initial migration, security, compliance, help desk support and day-to-day administration of the platform or applications. A managed cloud enables organizations to keep in house the things they’re good at and outsource those that they aren’t.
  • Hosted private cloud. Having a third party host your private cloud gives you a private, dedicated environment without the capital cost and difficulty of building one in house. It’s often used when a company has special compliance or performance needs that a public cloud might not meet. It’s also useful for dealing with a combination of legacy systems-of-record and new cloud applications.
  • On-premises and colocated non-cloud. On-site and colocation are common options for legacy and customized applications that can’t easily be moved to the cloud, as well as for data that is extremely sensitive or workloads subject to performance and latency issues.
  • Bare-metal cloud. Cloud infrastructure has evolved to offer faster performance for data-intensive workloads. A bare-mental cloud server, which doesn’t have the overhead of virtualization, can handle short-term, data-intensive functions such as in big-data applications, with minimal latency.

While going with a hybrid model might be part of your digital transformation strategy, the fact is that few IT executives know all of their infrastructure needs at the start of a cloud migration. Hybrid infrastructures tend to evolve, based on changing needs and resources.

“Nobody sits down and plans out a hybrid IT strategy. It just happens,” said Posey. “In the journey to digital transformation, one size does not fit all.”

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