What Do Hybrid-Forward Businesses Struggle With?
Opting for a Hybrid IT Strategy: Does it Make Things More Complicated?
Digital transformation isn’t just about adopting a digital strategy and integrating mobility into business. Defined by IDC, digital transformation is “…a set of practices and disciplines used to leverage new business, technology and operating models to disrupt businesses, customers and markets in pursuit of business performance and growth.” DX is triggering a total revolution of the way business is done, a large component of which is technology. Digital initiatives are running rampant, designed to deliver a better customer experience, increase cost efficiency, drive competitive advantages and rouse industry disruption, Dell EMC explained.
Hybrid IT is part and parcel with adopting digital transformation initiatives, as it’s important to choose the right environments to optimize the functionality of your applications. Hybrid IT could mean combining cloud with colocation, cloud with your on-premise data center or a combination. IT today is about flexibility and freedom of choice, but taking the leap often begs the question: will operating disparate environments add unmanageable complexity to IT operations?
Hybrid IT does introduce multiple environments into the mix, which means more to manage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be more difficult. The key is to embark on the journey with a strategic mindset and review all of the potential obstacles and solutions.
Top 3 Challenges in Hybrid IT (and Their Solutions)
Complexity overall is a good descriptor for the challenges businesses feel they may face in using hybrid IT. In Peak 10 + ViaWest’s 2017 Hybrid IT Study: A Solid Business Case for Mixed Infrastructure, respondents cited a range of perceived challenges they associated with hybrid IT. Here are the most prevalent responses:
Security and Compliance: 31% of study respondents
Here’s the thing: hybrid IT involves taking on a larger security surface to manage by virtue of running multiple environments, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be harder. Whether you’re planning on taking on the job internally or looking to a reliable partner, there are both tools and experts available to get it done.
Compliance tells a similar story. Unless in introducing hybrid IT into your organization, you’re also taking on new business ventures subject to different compliance mandates, your requirements stay the same; they just apply to more assets. If particular assets being moved off-site introduce potential compliance issues, there are experts available to help address concerns. There’s also always the option of keeping such assets on-premise. Compliance is a manageable endeavor with the right tools and resources.
Arguably, security can be considered a benefit of hybrid IT from a broad perspective. Because hybrid IT enables organizations to choose the systems they prefer to keep on-premise, and house others in the cloud or a colocated data center facility, security can come into play for critical systems, applications and data that are kept in house.
Managing More Systems: 30% of respondents
This certainly could be a concern for companies with limited internal resources. Some businesses worry about securing various environments and consistency of management, as well as potential cloud silos.
“Consistently applying security, patches and upgrades, group policy, etc., across the entire environment is challenging. Also, containing the rogue proliferation of on-premise servers. On the other hand, we find there are still some applications, like CAD, that are very latency-sensitive and not well suited to a cloud or hosted environment.”
– Peak 10 + ViaWest survey respondent
Regardless of the associated complexity, in the digital world, it’s difficult to get away with keeping resources all in one place. Even in the absence of the complexities associated with hybrid IT, businesses limited to one environment may have to deal with the limitations of running applications that would work better in the cloud—there’s hardly a new application running today that wasn’t born there.
A managed services provider can help you simplify the complexity through virtualization, integration and automation strategies. New products and services also are available to help.
Budget and Cost: 65% of respondents
It’s worth noting that 65% of organizations believe that a hybrid IT infrastructure contributes to cost savings. More than 20% of organizations actually choose hybrid IT because of cost control benefits. It’s all in how you set up your environment, who administrates it and how, and what sort of tools you use to secure and manage it. A properly designed hybrid infrastructure can actually generate return on an upfront investment expeditiously.
65% of organizations believe that a hybrid IT infrastructure contributes to cost savings, and 21% choose hybrid IT specifically for cost control benefits.
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. …50% of the workforce has been working here for 25+ years. Moving fast comes with a lot of resistance.”
– Peak 10 + ViaWest survey respondent
Hybrid IT Benefits
Hybrid IT is for sure the path toward accommodating the diverse technology goals of businesses of all sizes, and it reinforces the many objectives of digital transformation that all decision makers are grappling with, as reported by Microsoft. IT wants the best of both worlds, and that’s what hybrid IT truly delivers. You might want to keep certain workloads on-premise while others might work well in the cloud or a colocated environment. A hybrid IT strategy makes that fully possible.
If you’re wondering what hybrid can do for you, here are just a few benefits, listed by Dell EMC:
- High levels of security
- Excellent performance
- Enables adherence to compliance requirements
- Flexibility and agility
The possibilities are endless when you choose the best environment for your applications. With a strong hybrid IT strategy in place, it’s possible to keep pace with digitalization and enable the effective, efficient delivery of IT services. Lightning fast time to value is attainable, and a major competitive edge is within reach.
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 + ViaWest survey respondent
Don’t Go Solo
Like every big technology move, hybrid IT has its potential challenges, but they’re nothing you can’t handle with the right plan, resources and partnerships. According to our study participants, almost all businesses feel strongly that hybrid expertise is essential in an IT partner, and most said that IT partners have a high level of influence when it comes to their IT decisions.
Nearly 100% of businesses feel that hybrid expertise is essential in an IT partner.
“When you have 100+ systems, the necessity of integration and connectivity, it’s important to have a partner. Anything more than five systems and you’ll need a partner.”
– Peak 10 + ViaWest survey respondent
Partnering with a reliable, expert provider with cloud and colocation services is a great move for businesses with limited IT resources. A hybrid partnership makes it possible to offload particular infrastructure responsibilities so IT specialists can place their focus on initiatives that will contribute to business.
As hybrid IT becomes the strategy of choice, working with IT partners with extensive hybrid expertise and a consultative approach becomes increasingly important. Going hybrid involves a multifaceted process: application and workloads have to be evaluated, as well as performance optimization, security and compliance requirements, and the best migration processes to employ during any moves that may need to be made.
The Peak 10 + ViaWest Hybrid IT Study: A Solid Business Case for Mixed Infrastructure generated a great deal of insight from industry peers on challenges associated with hybrid IT, business benefits and how they’re making the most of their infrastructures. Check out the Peak 10 + ViaWest Industry Spotlight: Hybrid IT to learn more. If you’re facing your own hybrid hurdles, contact us at www.peak10.com/contact-us or (866) 473-2510 to speak with one of our experts today—we’ve got you covered.