Hybrid IT isn’t an all-or-nothing strategy. It simply means you are going to use some kind of off-premise IT environment in addition to your on-site data center and/or private cloud. You don’t have to move everything. In fact, starting small is the best way to move into a hybrid IT approach.
Consider launching a pilot project that allows you to get comfortable with “letting go” of control of some aspects of your IT assets. This can also give you a good feel for how different IT environments work. If you’re not comfortable going with a “do-it-yourself” cloud service, find a cloud services provider that can help you through the process.
Choose a cloud services provider (or a colocation provider if your first foray into another environment will be an off-site data center) that offers a consultative approach. The provider should walk you through the application/workload evaluation process, and offer information and insights on the issues involved. That includes performance optimization, compliance, security and the best migration processes to employ.
As you plan your pilot, make scalability a priority. Your pilot will be small in terms of its scope. However, you want the infrastructure to be capable of accommodating growth and delivering an ROI within a specific time frame.
Select a low-risk or cloud-ready application for migrating to a new environment, the kind with minimal customer data or other sensitive information. Or, select an application that can take advantage of the cloud’s elasticity if that’s what you’re trying out. Good ones to consider are:
- Applications used by mobile workers to manage their time and activities, but don’t contribute much information to your company’s broad management information databases
- Service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications
If possible, conduct a pilot for multiple types of applications. Test thoroughly, and gather feedback so you can make improvements before going live.
A good hybrid IT use case to start with is the development and testing of new applications in a public cloud where the necessary resources can easily be scaled on demand. Once the prototype applications are ready, they can be moved back to your production environment in your on-premise data center, colocation deployment or private cloud. You get the fast, on-demand capacity needed without having to invest in additional resources for your in-house IT environment that may not be needed once the project is done.
For more information on hybrid IT strategies, take advantage of these free Peak 10 resources: