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Hybrid IT is today’s reality and its implementation may seem daunting at times
By: Kong Yang
Nov. 6, 2017 03:30 PM
The Benefits of Hybrid IT: Expectations vs. Reality
Hybrid IT is today's reality, and while its implementation may seem daunting at times, more and more organizations are migrating to the cloud. In fact, according to SolarWinds 2017 IT Trends Index: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization 95 percent of organizations have migrated crucial applications to the cloud in the past year. As such, it's in every IT professional's best interest to know what to expect.
Certainly, every business has a varying expectation of what they'd like to gain by migrating applications or infrastructure to the cloud, but the most compelling incentives are by far the opportunity to achieve a simplified management process, faster deployment, or a cost efficiency that benefits their bottom line.
Unfortunately, for many organizations, achieving these benefits isn't always easy-or even the reality. As illustrated by the findings of this year's report, only one-fourth of IT professionals surveyed have received all expected benefits from migrating area(s) of their organizations' IT infrastructure to the cloud. Part of this may be because of too high of expectations for the cloud and not enough consideration prior to migration. Some realities IT professionals should consider follow.
The Cloud Isn't Cheap
For example, one organization I'm acquainted with historically maintained their own data centers, but eventually decided to migrate some of their applications to AWS to save money. After all the additional services they added to their AWS solution, they were spending around $7 million a year, which was much more than they anticipated. The company ended up moving some of their services out of the cloud and into a co-location data center model, which cut their IT operational costs down to $2.5 million a year. This example aligns with the research and shows that although cost may be a driver, there are other important considerations-after all, 35 percent of IT professionals who migrated or attempted to migrate infrastructure to the cloud ultimately brought back or left some on-premises.
Operational pieces of the cloud will be more than speeds and feeds. Back in the days of traditional IT, administrators would have to conduct spreadsheet exercises to plan for sizing out their data center. They had to consider current needs and determine what a few years of growth potential would look like before they could make a decision on data center size. Following the shift to the cloud, these services are on-demand, and IT professionals must now place their focus on ensuring SLAs for applications are being met, and work to keep the baseline in check.
One of the ways this can be achieved is by implementing a monitoring system that provides a comprehensive view across the entire hybrid IT environment. Such a system will allow IT staff to make informed decisions about what workloads belong on-premises or in the cloud. It will also show, at any given moment in time, when an application's performance is slowing down or underperforming, whether in the cloud or on-premises, and compare relative performance between these two to make informed decisions. By mastering hybrid IT monitoring tools, IT professionals will be able to understand of how their applications change over time, and track the actual requirements of that application and its workload.
A recent example is the Amazon® S3™ outage, which disrupted many websites and web applications that used AWS S3 region for storage. Even though organizations around the country had applications running on their servers, the IT professionals were still responsible for making sure their applications worked. This is why it's critical for IT teams to properly architect applications across various cloud services providers: it lowers the risk of downtime and poor performance. Of course, the tradeoff is that this also adds more variables and complexity into the hybrid IT environment.
IT teams should also consider their level of experience with security before migrating applications to the cloud, especially a public cloud. They should start with a non-mission critical application and graduate to migrating more critical applications. To ensure data is appropriately protected in the cloud, IT organizations must be very clear about risk mitigation when working with their cloud services provider, and take steps to deploy careful use of security monitoring and management tools.
If an organization hasn't started migrating to the cloud, chances are it's coming very soon. IT professionals need to set expectations with management when it comes to hybrid IT, and communicating those expectations and realities will be vital to prove the success of any deployment. As the IT environment becomes more complex, IT professionals need to continue mastering new skillsets and cloud-proof their jobs for the future.
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