Stamping Out the #1 Misconception About Hybrid IT: It’s Not Just a Transitional Strategy
Let’s make two things loud and clear upfront:
The definition of hybrid IT (used for the purposes of The Peak 10 Hybrid IT Study: A Solid Business Case for Mixed Infrastructure):
Utilizing a combination of on-premise IT services and cloud or colocation.
- Hybrid IT is not a transitional state—it’s a calculated technology decision that makes logical business sense.
Here’s the thing about hybrid IT: it’s commonly considered an awkward stage rather than a preferred choice. Just the word “hybrid” can provoke mental imagery of uninformed organizations on a desperate journey to a cloud-only infrastructure, with one reason for having on-premise or colocated environments: to allow themselves to take baby steps toward their utopian IT state.
Sure, some businesses may choose a hybrid environment as a way to move toward the cloud gradually; it’s not unheard of, but it’s also not as common as people may think.
Only 16% of businesses have a hybrid environment because of a transition, according to the Peak 10 2017 Hybrid IT study.
It’s Not About Transition. It’s About Maintaining an IT State that Makes Business Sense.
“One size does not fit all, from an infrastructure management perspective, nor from a PaaS or SaaS perspective. Hybrid allows us to choose when it is appropriate to host resources in-house, versus farm it out to our cloud platform such as Azure, or to allow the software vendor to be the service provider (SaaS).”
– Peak 10 survey respondent
The reality is, hybrid IT is a story of choice. Organizations are choosing hybrid IT deliberately, for a variety of unique reasons, but ultimately, they’re doing it because it makes business sense. Not only that, but because it offers flexibility. In fact, throughout the Peak 10 Hybrid IT study, the phrase “the best of both worlds” was used more often than any other descriptor for reasons to choose a hybrid environment. So, what are those reasons?
Top 10 Reasons for Having Hybrid IT
65% of organizations believe that a hybrid IT infrastructure contributes to cost savings.
Over half of organizations feel that a hybrid IT infrastructure contributes to cost savings in their organizations. Conversely, according to IBM, a recent analysis of how businesses are using both virtualization and public cloud revealed that some IT decision makers are actually dissuaded from hybrid IT due to cost hesitation. These kind of hesitations are misguided, though; a properly designed hybrid infrastructure can generate return on an upfront investment expeditiously. Organizations using hybrid IT are 38% more likely to achieve a decrease in IT expenditure overall.
48% of ITDMs think that public cloud is the best infrastructure choice for saving money. 29% believe that an on-premise environment is best. Ultimately, cloud, on-premise, or colocated environments could theoretically bring cost savings. Budgetary end results are dependent on the requirements of a given organization, and their emphasis on achieving their specific technology goals versus meeting savings requirements.
“IaaS is a little easier to swallow. We bump up OpEx costs and take CapEx down a little bit. At [our company], 50% of the workforce has been working here for 25+ years. Moving fast comes with a lot of resistance.”
– Peak 10 survey respondent
19% of businesses opt for hybrid because of resilience and reliability benefits. A hybrid colocation model allows organizations to further customize technical services to meet their exact needs. In terms of reliability, platforms are typically chosen based on the best fit for the purpose, so it wouldn’t be necessary, for instance, to keep a latency-sensitive application running in a public cloud, or be concerned with the availability or uptime of an in-house, customer-facing CRM.
Security and compliance are also major incentives to opt for a hybrid environment, but “security” should be thought of as something of a catch-all term in this context. Hybrid IT allows businesses to pick and choose the systems they’d like to keep on premise and those they’d like to either colocate or put into the cloud; the security benefit typically comes into play for the critical systems and applications that businesses prefer to keep on premise.
- For some IT decision makers, “security” may mean something as simple as being able to maintain the most control when keeping a particular IT asset on-site; add to that, some assets moved off-site may bring coinciding compliance issues.
- It’s not necessarily about what the most secure cloud provider can offer; it’s the peace of mind that comes from keeping critical applications and sensitive data within physical reach of the CIO.
Scalability can be a benefit in on-premise, colocated, and cloud environments. Keeping part of an environment on premise or in a colocated facility would enable the ability to add resources and make changes to accommodate higher demands fairly quickly. Administrators remain in complete control if management duties haven’t been outsourced.
Cloud resources are always available, and also deliver scalability in that resources can be provisioned on demand; faster than on premise, or in a colocated environment.
Flexibility is a hybrid benefit across the board. IT organizations have the power to configure the platform and resources required for the unique needs of each asset without limitations. Hybrid IT allows businesses to maintain legacy systems or critical applications on premise, but place other systems in a colocated or cloud environment when it makes sense.
“Our infrastructure has had to scale dramatically. We have seasonal fluctuations. We have to be available and perform around the clock.”
–Peak 10 survey respondent
Here’s the hybrid environment incentive that’s a bit of a slippery slope: the “transitioning state.” This is not the #1 reason to use hybrid IT by any means; most organizations are using hybrid IT deliberately and strategically on an ongoing basis. However, the possibility of using hybrid IT as a gradual path toward the cloud is not unheard of, and it can work well for businesses who truly operate an infrastructure that will do fine in the cloud.
First off, it’s rarely possible to simply cut the cord to the internal data center. Applications and processes are tied to it, and they can’t easily be picked up and moved. It is necessary to use both on-premise and cloud services for a period of time until some level of operational transition to the cloud is complete.
Which raises the question—who wants all of their IT systems in the cloud? It’s not an arrangement that works for everyone, which is why it’s not the end-all impetus for hybrid IT. However, small organizations who can’t afford the upfront costs of colocation are often a good fit for a total cloud environment.
Easier or more efficient
The right mix of on-premise, cloud, and colocated IT can actually make life easier and more efficient. That mix looks different for every business, but ultimately, a hybrid environment can optimize systems per their unique requirements, ultimately accelerating the delivery of services and applications.
There are some applications that just can’t run in a cloud; usually legacy applications. Or perhaps they could, in theory, but it would require more resources and tedious workarounds. These sorts of systems and applications are just easier to host in-house, while applications that are written for the cloud can run in the cloud.
Better to have some systems on-premise
This one speaks for itself—there are some systems that are just better off on premise, and a number of scenarios that justify keeping them there:
- Legacy applications
- Security concerns
- Budgetary constraints
Services are something of a given when it comes to hybrid environments. Hybrid IT definitely delivers the wherewithal to pick and choose the best platforms for supporting various systems, but having IT assets in disparate locations can make monitoring and management tricky. This is where partnering with an experienced hybrid IT partner will optimize the benefits of the environment itself.
The right hybrid IT partner will provide:
- Managed infrastructure services
Hybrid IT is a flexible method for accommodating the diverse technology goals of businesses of all sizes, and it reinforces the multifaceted objectives of digital transformation that all decision makers are grappling with, as reported by Microsoft. Innovation is a primary focus, and generating business value through new ideas and continuous delivery of services are critical for achieving a competitive edge. Overall, hybrid IT is about calculated choice, and it delivers a wide range of options for IT decision makers who are trying to support the accelerating pace of innovation, while also delivering stability and security.
See #6—legacy systems are often left on premise. It is often very difficult, if not impossible, to make a legacy system work in the cloud, and it isn’t worth the time or resources, yet the system is critical to business operations, so it has to stay up and running through end of life.
You Know Your Business. What Are Your Reasons for Hybrid?
61% of organizations would intentionally choose a hybrid environment if starting from scratch.
We know it’s not just because you’re on your way to the cloud. There are so many strategic incentives for building a hybrid environment that can better accommodate a wider range of technology initiatives. It’s clear that the business dynamics of today are creating the need for a major overhaul to traditional IT infrastructure, and failure to adapt could leave some organizations behind. That’s not to say that businesses who haven’t gone hybrid should hurry up and upend their systems just for the sake of the cutting edge, but it also shouldn’t be overlooked that speed and agility have to be fostered. Hybrid IT should be harnessed for total business benefit—not just greater convenience for IT.
The Peak 10 Hybrid IT Study: A Solid Business Case for Mixed Infrastructure brought to light a number of surprising ideologies and trends behind hybrid information technology, and we want to share what we found with you. Check out Peak 10’s Industry Spotlight: Hybrid IT to learn more about what your peers are focusing on and how they’re innovating, or contact us at www.peak10.com/contact-us or (866) 473-2510 to speak with one of our experts today.