Servers & Systems: The Right Compute
Chris Purcell

When it comes to the best hybrid IT approach, focus on outcomes, not tools


Wbigstock-Businessman-Holding-Focus-On-W-172144931.jpghen it comes to deployment options for IT, it’s easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest offerings. Yet, in today’s hybrid IT environment, focus first on what you want to achieve -- and then determine how best to get there.

That’s according to Mark Peters, Practice Director and Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). He recently shared his thoughts on hybrid IT with Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, for a BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst podcast series. And his main message for IT – focus on outcomes, not tools.

Distracted by bright, shiny new objects

Because the cloud can be so easy to consume, many businesses are deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models. “The cloud is a very beguiling and useful business model, but it’s not a panacea,” explained Peters. “People get so distracted by bright, shiny objects—like they are the answer to everything. What we should be looking for are not bright shiny objects, but bright shiny outcomes.”

Peters says that the public cloud should be viewed as another tool that businesses should use to be successful. Embracing a multi-cloud, hybrid IT strategy allows you more choices and flexibility, letting you run workloads where they are best suited.

Yet, with so many different deployment options and tools available, deciding where to place workloads can be challenging. Peter’s continued, “Such decisions are situational to individual companies, to the stage of that company’s life, and to the budgets they have. And they’re also dynamic.” Whether a certain application should go on-site or off-site is extremely complex, and the right deployment option will vary by company and across time.

So, how does a business figure out what goes where?  

Gardner explained that there is no single answer because every organization is different. Each has unique legacy infrastructure, ways of using applications, different business processes, and a variety of obligations.

Peters agreed. Yet the first step for each organization is to focus on the outcome that they want. Then they can figure out how to get it.

Today’s complex hybrid IT challenges

Peters went on to discuss how shadow IT presents a big challenge to many enterprises. Because of the lack of visibility, it’s hard to figure out what you have. And then once you do understand it, it’s difficult to control. “You know the old adage; you can’t manage what you can’t measure. You also can’t improve things that can’t be managed or measured.”

Gardner also commented about the need for automation to manage a hybrid IT environment. “In order to deal with the scale of complexity, the requirements for speed, the fact that you’re going to be dealing with workloads and IT assets that are off your premises, that means you’re going to be doing this programmatically.”

Both analysts agreed that a tool would be needed that could provide visibility, management, optimization, automation, intelligence, and execution. Gardner guessed that developing such a tool is probably not going to happen in the next couple of years, although he sees it as a huge market opportunity.

Gardner concluded the interview by asking Peters what advice he would give IT organization as they try to become more proactive rather than reactive in today’s complex, hybrid IT environment. Peters reiterated what he said at the beginning of the interview: consider the ends, not the means.


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About the Author

Chris Purcell

Composable Infrastructure, Integrated and Multi-Cloud management, Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Cloud