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Is a policy-based hybrid cloud approach the future of IT?


By: Ben Lovejoy


The job of planning and managing IT resources has changed almost beyond recognition over the years. From a highly hands-on process where you had to work out in advance precisely what resources were likely to be needed—sometimes years down the road—through various levels of automation and orchestration.


cloud brokering, cloud, hybrid cloudIn a sense, the role of the CIO has become more abstract through each generation of technology, from physical ownership of servers, to on-demand access, to computing power; from distinct local and remote operations to hybrid cloud setups; and from explicit purchasing to policy-based provisioning.


With a hybrid cloud approach, you need to be able to orchestrate resources employing any mix of solutions, such as physical servers, containers, virtual machines, or cloud instances. With a policy-based approach, you don't need to worry about where the applications or assets are running, but you do need to set the appropriate policies in the first place. Those policies, and the provisioning templates employed, ensure that the most appropriate solutions are being deployed.


One of the key challenges for IT teams, of course, has been shadow IT. Users see the small picture—their own immediate needs—but they generally don't see the big picture: the technology map of the organization as a whole. But with line management seeing only the upside, many organizations have bowed to the inevitable and adopted a technology brokering role. In this way, the internal customer still experiences the benefits of a self-service approach, while the IT teams ensure that the solution makes sense for both the purchaser and the company as a whole.


Brokering can, however, introduce problems of its own, including the resources it can require to provide the service. This is where a policy-based approach can come to the rescue. The customer places the order for a service, and the policy-based provisioning system ensures that the solution deployed meets the needs of the user, while also complying with the criteria determined by the technology experts. Part of the policy determines not only what gets deployed but also where.


A policy-based hybrid cloud approach delivers the best of both worlds: the agility, speed, and ease of use of self-service systems, with the intelligent design, resilience, and oversight of conventionally-provisioned solutions.


Learn more about establishing yourself as a service broker by reading Five steps to becoming a service broker.



About the author

Ben LovejoyBen Lovejoy


Ben Lovejoy is EU Editor of 9to5Mac and 9to5Google and a freelance tech writer whose published credits include the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Express, and many regional newspapers. He's written for more than 30 computer & technology magazines, as well as numerous businesses, websites, and corporate clients.

About the author

Connect with Ben:

 Follow me on Twitter @benlovejoy

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