By 2017, almost half of large enterprises globally will have deployed hybrid cloud infrastructure.
For many businesses, deploying an environment where technology resources are managed in-house and by third-party service providers helps them focus on real business outcomes, rather than spending time and resources on IT service delivery.
The benefits of moving to this type of IT environment includes cutting down on infrastructure costs, efficiency improvements and most importantly, reductions in the time it takes to launch new subsidiaries and product capabilities. Many of the fixed assets that were once required to stand up new capabilities, are simply no longer needed.
When shifting to a hybrid environment, organisations need to decide which applications and workloads should sit in the public cloud, a provider’s private cloud, on mainframes or on hyper-converged infrastructure in a data centre.
“Our philosophy is about trying to situate those workloads in a way that allows businesses to have a seamless experience across the board,” says Mark Hilton, director NSW at IT service provider, Datacom. “We use our application development capabilities and management experience to re-platform workloads so organisations can move up the stack.”
Public cloud services have now reached a level of maturity that makes them suited for most enterprise applications. Microsoft’s hybrid story including the promise of Azure Stack has been receiving considerable interest. Azure Stack is a solution that will allow workloads designed for Azure to operate both in a Datacentre and Public/Private Clouds. We believe this could accelerate the move to cloud technologies for enterprises that may be constrained by regulation. Azure Stack will allow the leveraging of Datacom’s data centre assets, the National Network and its interconnection between the major Cloud vendors.
“We rarely have a conversation with customers in our market where there isn’t at least a component of their environment in the public cloud. We are now seeing more and more mission-critical workloads and other key components of business going the same way,” said Hilton.
“However, any major infrastructure transition isn’t easy. Many organisations have a broad set of legacy applications that have grown with the business over time, and aren’t necessarily cloud ready.
“Beyond that, looking at new models to determine the most efficient and agile manner to consume services is key. Outcome and consumption-based services can more accurately reflect the revenue streams of the business,” he said.
For some customers, this means deploying hyper-converged technology and for others, it means a private cloud solution. The point is to not come in with pre-conceived notions of what works where.
Tie hybrid strategy to business outcomes
When deciding to move to a hybrid cloud model, looking at the business outcomes you want to achieve is vital.
“Some IT departments have allowed themselves to become quite removed from businesses day-to-day operations. That makes it difficult to adapt on the fly.
“Often you need to do an initial assessment, and judge which of the capabilities in your technology stack match which aspects of your business overall, and look at the problem holistically.
“You can’t look at business and IT as being separate – they are one and the same and the most effective IT implementations will recognize this.”
A mature market
For many years, the cloud market was dominated by ‘born in the cloud’ organisations, specialising in small scale migration to and general experimentation surrounding capabilities. But as a generalisation, it was not business grade.
“What we find is that there are very few organisations that are capable of delivering enterprise quality - and scale – in the public cloud,” Hilton said.
“I feel it’s a unique challenge that everyone is facing, but which our team has tackled head on. We have worked to ensure we have a range of certifications in public cloud, and worked with all our vendors partners and even competitors to produce seamless cloud implementations that meet our customers’ needs first.”
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