There is a saying in golf that often accompanies an unexpected hole out; sometimes the hole just gets in the way of the ball. Whether self-deprecating or, in my case, accurate self-assessment, it doesn’t happen often enough.
This doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to hybrid cloud adoption. Projections from industry analysts and research findings for the uptake of hybrid computing models and rate of growth during 2015 and beyond are positively glowing. The approaches being taken by businesses to get there do vary, as do hybrid definitions of exactly where “there” is (private to public, private to public to public, virtual private vs. on-premise private, etc.). However, hybrid models are evolving into such obvious choices that they’re hard to miss. It’s as if the 4.5-inch cup is becoming as gaping as the green is large (just like in my dreams).
This is not to suggest that all the technology, policies, governance, standards and other hybrid cloud deployment issues are put to rest. They most definitely are not. But the progress being made within the industry on so many fronts, combined with the attention being paid by C-level management and companies’ boards of directors, make hybrid computing strategies and emerging infrastructures practically obligatory.
One of the many growth projections from industry experts comes from IDC. Like the others, it forecasts a steep trajectory: “More than 65 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies before 2016, vastly driving the rate and pace of change in IT organizations.”
Why? There are many recurring themes. A big one is the maturity of the industry, which is enabling cloud computing to play a strategic role in organizations, not simply a tactical one, and an ability to create revenue using the cloud, not simply cut costs.
With this cloud industry maturation comes a wealth of new options, applications, improvements, models and breakthroughs for applying cloud technology to drive competitive advantage and new revenue streams that are simply not addressable internally. Choosing the best from among them and getting the pieces to work together in a hybrid ecosystem necessitates better management tools, development of standards, selectable levels of security, availability and performance for individual workloads, and other speed bumps.
Incumbents and new industry players alike are staking their claims and making big investments to monetize these challenges. The hybrid cloud is being held up as a key differentiator between major cloud competitors and those who want to become one. This, in turn, has heated up acquisitions of niche players and technology innovators in order to build out hybrid cloud services portfolios.
Despite this frontier-like commotion in the industry, companies and organizations are not dissuaded from hybrid cloud adoption and the benefits it promises. Quite the contrary. According to a study conducted on behalf of Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, 69 percent of 1,000 C-level respondents believe that it should be one of the biggest areas of focus for their company in 2015. That makes sense because, if a businesses are to fully leverage current and future cloud resources to maximum advantage, hybrid infrastructures are the inevitable result.
This assumes that the business organization can transform itself around this new model and its inherent challenges – managerial, behavioral, cultural, legal, procedural, etc. These issues may well present bigger challenges to successful hybrid cloud implementations than technical ones. These, and finding cloud service providers worthy of trust and capable of helping businesses, make the many connections they’ll need to make their hybrid clouds reality. FORE!