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3 steps to defining your right mix of hybrid cloud

Rohit_Dixit

While enterprises use five public and private clouds on average[1] in today’s multi-cloud reality, only a few are getting the full value of the cloud because many companies lack a transformational strategy.

Accelerating in a multi-cloud world requires a fundamental transformation that spans the enterprise, enabling cross-functional collaboration and freeing up organizational, technological and financial resources to improve business outcomes and invest in innovation.

As I recently shared with SiliconIndia Magazine, I personally believe the future is truly hybrid, and every customer I talk to is leveraging some form of hybrid model.

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The opportunities of a multi-cloud environment

A hybrid cloud environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud services provides unprecedented choice in where to run applications and where to store data. Every day, companies are choosing between major public cloud providers, on-premises private clouds, and dedicated hardware stacks – or even deciding not to own the application at all and purchasing the functionality from a SaaS provider.

This range of choices provides the ability to optimize IT like never before, by being able to strategically sourcing services from multiple providers based on considerations such as business objectives, security needs, and application architecture requirements.

However, the difficulty of making the right choices and the challenge of managing the resulting complexity is leading many firms to make decisions that produce suboptimal results or even failed transformations. 

To successfully achieve business outcomes with hybrid cloud, companies need to think holistically across their entire IT estate to make the right IT supply decisions for the business. They need to understand the options they have in the IT supply chain, evaluate where workloads should run, and automate the migration and portability of their workloads.

Given the incredible acceleration in IT we’ve seen in recent years, initiatives to add public cloud to the infrastructure mix have in many cases been somewhat ad hoc, as Erik Vogel pointed out in a recent post. To accelerate new applications or explore new revenue models, some of your developers may have stood up an Amazon Web Services environment. Maybe there are some other dev teams using Microsoft Azure, and IT has responded by setting up Azure Stack. Most enterprises also have a tremendous amount of legacy software running on dedicated infrastructure and still have dev teams and support teams working on that. But, as Erik says, “at no point did anyone have the time to think it through strategically and decide what should go where across all the different areas of IT. There’s no comprehensive view of where exactly things stand or how to move forward.” Sound familiar?

How to define your right mix

Hybrid cloud strategy is currently one of the hottest topics when I speak to customers. Here are some insights from conversations I have had with CIOs from many different industries in the past year.

  1. Align your IT strategy to your business strategy.

Identify what is needed to align your IT to the business outcomes you want to achieve. An integrated, end-to-end IT transformation strategy is essential for successful business transformation.

Your next-generation IT operating model will be key because it supports the alignment of your IT transformation to your targeted business outcomes. The most successful organizations mature their operating model capabilities across key domains such as security/risk/compliance, service portfolio design, automation strategies, and talent/skills, to name just a few. 

Make sure that as you change your choices for where your applications and workloads run and how you consume them, your organization adapts to effectively take advantage of these new IT supply chain strategies.

  1. Take an application-in approach.

While some organizations move to cloud for economic reasons or to replace outmoded technology, ultimately in order to optimize your hybrid cloud mix you need to understand your full application portfolio. That’s the key to deciding which workloads and applications are ideal to move to public clouds, which should be kept in private clouds, and how to migrate those workloads to achieve the right mix of hybrid cloud according to each business, technology, operational, or domain-specific need.

Analyzing your application portfolio will help you remove redundancies and avoid shadow IT. Achieving that transparency can add substantial cost savings and help you get your economics right. This can have significant impact on your investment plans.

  1. Continuously optimize your blend of public and private cloud.

The world of cloud is constantly changing; as Erik’s blog pointed out, “new service providers are popping up every day and we see the big public cloud providers constantly producing new services and pricing models.” As a result, the calculus for determining your right mix is always changing, too. If a cloud provider offers a new service capability or a pricing discount, for example, you may want to move an application seamlessly into that new environment. Thus, application portability becomes an important strategy in your right mix analysis.

What’s important is that each decision should be part of your overall transformation plan and should support your business objectives. While speed is of the essence in today’s fast-moving environment, you should avoid any isolated, ad hoc decisions. Use a framework that you trust and that provides a holistic view of the transformation, enabling you to execute consistently and effectively across all domains of the initiative.

Moving to hybrid cloud is a significant technology shift. A carefully developed and well-executed strategy will enable you to get it right the first time and transform your enterprise for the future.

 

 

[1] RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report

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About the Author

Rohit_Dixit

Senior Vice President & General Manager of Advisory & Professional Services for HPE Pointnext Services

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