7 things you should know about hybrid cloud


The hybrid cloud is not something you can purchase. But just because you can’t buy a hybrid cloud doesn’t mean you can’t create a customized cloud model that works best for your team’s needs. We’re here to give you the information your team needs to be able to make the most of the cloud.  Read more in the post below, which was originally published on InfoWorld here

I am about to tell you something. And it’s something that might shatter your reality of what you think about the cloud: The hybrid cloud does not exist. You cannot buy one right from the shelf. It’s not one-size-fits-all. And it’s never the same. The enterprise cloud adoption manual puts hybrid cloud at the top of the list. But often times, hybrid cloud is positioned as the solution before the problem has been defined.

Rather, the hybrid cloud is made up of models, processes and multiple vendors. The moment you start paying for a cloud-based service, no matter how small or simple the service might be, you are in a hybrid cloud model. Ignore the textbook definitions—you are delivering IT services that use more than one hosting model and that is hybrid cloud. So what determines the success of your delivery model? It’s the rules and processes you put in place for adopting new services from cloud providers and here’s what you need to know about hybrid cloud, right now.

1. It does not matter how good you are at managing your own data center

No matter how good you are at managing your own data center, the public cloud vendors are better.  Economies of scale change everything. Cost models, access to staff and resources are all on a hyper scale with AWS, Microsoft and Google. The gap between what you can do and what the public cloud vendors offer will get bigger over time. This is not a competition you can win—managing and developing effective and efficient skills and IT processes does not come cheap. But imagine the benefits for your business if you could free up those resources to focus on the business processes, data and analysis? Having said that, you probably won’t retire your data center in the short-term. Other forces will determine the rate of change/adoption.

2. Hybrid cloud will mean multiple providers

If you look at the recent VMware and AWS partnership announcement, you would be forgiven for thinking that hybrid cloud is about extending your current infrastructure. Hybrid cloud is much more than a dual vendor approach to data center hosting. Having multiple providers has less to do with all-eggs-in-one-basket and more to do with finding the right vendor/solution.  

3. Application lifecycles drive hybrid cloud adoption

You cannot force yourself into a hybrid cloud position. Everything depends on the lifecycle of your line of business applications (new and old). If you are upgrading, replacing or reimplementing applications and services, chances are that you will find a viable cloud based/hosted solution. It’s all about timing. If you completed a version/step change a few years ago, then it’s unlikely the business case will justify a move to the cloud. Sunk costs will keep you anchored in your data center. This is especially relevant for off-the-shelf solutions. The mainstream vendors are starting to offer SaaS versions of CRM, ERP, HR etc. but it’s very difficult to lift and shift older architecture and software.

4. Identity is essential in hybrid cloud

It’s a given that you will have multiple vendors in a hybrid cloud model. Maintaining a singular identity across all systems should be top priority. If you want to have a good user experience and you want to be able to manage access and control, you must have a single identifier. Accessing the ability to extend your corporate identity into cloud models should be a key part of the vendor selection process.

5. Hybrid cloud is all about transition

As the application lifecycle continues, more of the IT services you provide will come up for review/refresh. As time marches on, more of your systems will be viable in cloud. The speed of innovation with public cloud will eventually reduce the performance/function/security gaps. Transition plans for systems/applications left in traditional data centers are worthwhile. Identity the tipping points for when it makes sense to move a cloud model. Enterprise systems are large, complex and generally support important business processes. It’s ok if you find that the transition looks a long way off. Over time, you might find that the various vendors/suppliers will offer SaaS-based versions of the application you are using. 

6. Managed services have a big part to play

Cloud has facilitated a big growth in managed service offerings. Solution integrators can now offer hosted and fully managed services without the massive capital expenditure. The move to a managed service will most likely result in a hybrid cloud model. You will extend your networks, data and identity to the managed service provider. It might not match the textbook definition, but this is hybrid cloud.

7. You will live beside many versions of yourself in the cloud

It’s likely that you are going to find yourself accessing multiple different instances/subscriptions in the same public cloud platforms. You might have a corporate-owned environment that providers DR services and another instance that your managed services provider use to deliver ERP. There will come a point where it makes sense for you to be master of your own destiny. Consider consolidating the subscriptions and take your destiny under control.

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Gavin McShera

Gavin McShera is an Independent IT Consultant who specializes in digital and cloud transformation.  Gavin has worked in multiple industries including online gaming, consulting, insurance, banking, pharmaceutical, retail, education, aircraft leasing and the public sector.  Gavin currently produces courses specializing in Microsoft Azure.  He was also the technical editor for the Sybex book – Mastering Windows Server 2012R2.