The cloud is undoubtedly a great way to run more efficiently and increase flexibility. For many, it represents the future of computing. However, it offers a one-size-fits-all solution, which can be both limiting and distracting. Alternatively by promoting a workflow-centric model, where you select the IT infrastructure plan that best suits each workflow, you embrace a more robust hybrid IT model that will successfully underpin the digital transformation of a business.
What is hybrid IT?
The cloud has been the end-goal for a lot of companies in recent history, but hybrid IT is the ultimate next step beyond the cloud.
Hybrid IT – An IT solution where you combine any number of cloud platforms with any number of privately managed IT platforms to create a single integrated IT system. Hybrid IT allows you to deploy the most suitable workload for any task, and reap the benefits of private cloud, public cloud, and private servers as required.
Hybrid is an advanced system which might not be suitable for your business right now due to its complexity and scale. However, if you don’t factor in the end-goal of hybrid IT when migrating to the cloud, this might create problems in the future.
Why hybrid IT should be factored into your current cloud
1. Legacy Systems
Not everything is suitable for the cloud. For companies that have been around for a while, legacy systems can be a difficult obstacle for a cloud migration. If you have an essential part of your IT infrastructure which can’t be easily virtualised, you need to rebuild it from scratch in a way that is better suited to a cloud migration. This might be a significant amount of work and delay your new cloud. Another option is to build a system that connects your new cloud into the privately managed hardware that hosts your legacy system. This hybrid IT system will let you launch your new cloud and keep your legacy system operating without rebuilding it.
2. Long-term Costs
Cloud, especially public cloud, has the potential to reduce your costs significantly since you can deploy a scalable and high-capacity IT system without investing any capital in purchasing hardware or building infrastructure. However, over time as your system grows, it becomes more cost-effective to move to privately managed systems. It’s put succinctly in this piece from VentureBeat:
“You’re crazy if you don’t start in the cloud; you’re crazy if you stay on it.”
You need to make sure that your existing cloud plans aren’t going to lock you into the cloud beyond the point where it becomes the more expensive option. The simplest way to do that is to make sure you’re equipped to launch a hybrid IT system down the line, so that you can keep your cloud resources, but have the ability to move storage to a more cost-effective private IT platform.
Public and private cloud requires you to entrust your cyber security to your cloud provider, since your data will be protected by whatever security is protecting their systems. This may well be a sacrifice you’re willing to make right now to take advantage of cloud, but your security situation will change overtime:
- Data security legislation might change requiring stricter data security to stay compliant.
- You might want to win a client in an industry that places huge importance on cyber security, like banking or healthcare.
- Cyber attacks will grow more sophisticated over time, and it might become prudent to handle your own security as a result.
Whatever the reason, you want to make sure you can quickly and easily move your most valuable data to a more secure platform. Using hybrid IT to do this without taking your entire system off the cloud will make the process a lot smoother and simpler.
4. Future-proof your workloads
Like all successful companies, you will be adapting and changing over time. So even the best cloud system in the world won’t be a good fit for your company in the future when you adopt new types of workloads. Don’t stifle your growth by being locked into the cloud, and have a plan to transition to the workload-first system of hybrid IT.
A stitch in time…
…will reduce how much work your IT team has in the future. By taking on a hybrid, work-load first approach that is beyond pure cloud transformation you will ensure your systems can be migrated off the cloud when needed, and that your digital transformation plan evolves beyond simply ‘moving everything to the cloud’.
As an leading UK managed service provider offering a range of multi-cloud, colocation and network services we’re happy to discuss how we can help you future-proof your company and deploy the right mix of hybrid IT for your business.