Horizon scanning in the IT sector is an unenviable task. The rapid pace of technological development means innovative software and services can appear from nowhere, often with disruptive effect.
Even with established providers, the regularity of new product introductions can keep C-suite executives on their toes. Take Amazon, for example: it has been a prolific developer of new products, while regularly upgrading its existing portfolio. Keeping abreast of that level of advancement can be quite a challenge when there are a host of other more pressing business issues that invariably fill the day.
The dynamic nature of the IT sector goes some way to explaining the burgeoning popularity of hybrid cloud, which joins together a public and private cloud with an encrypted connection and technology that makes data portable. As technologies change, and business needs evolve, companies can benefit from a secure cloud environment on which to build and test new software without having to re-organise their IT departments and infrastructure. Hybrid cloud can also be scaled up and down in a quick and efficient manner, ensuring that companies use only the resources that are required at any given time, increasing operational efficiencies and, in some cases, lowering cost.
This flexibility is recognised by senior executives responsible for IT functions and budgets. A recent survey from multinational data management specialist NetApp found that 47% of respondents cited scalability as a primary motivation for cloud adoption. Businesses need to be flexible if they want to be truly customer-centric, and that can prove to be difficult when using on-premise IT alone.
But using hybrid cloud to ensure that you are a future-ready enterprise takes knowledge and planning, and the most reliable means of executing an effective strategy is to employ expert help. More and more companies see the value of forming strong relationships with trusted cloud service partners who can scale operations using the latest technologies; secure data across the hybrid infrastructure; and get the best competitive advantage from the hybrid cloud. An experienced cloud services provider will be able to assist with the processes of coordinating existing and new platforms, designing and delivering company-wide training, and solving any potential implementation problems. These are all crucial factors in successful hybrid cloud deployment.
Understanding the costs associated with hybrid cloud adoption presents another challenge. Within a multi-cloud journey, spanning on-premise, private and public clouds, companies often have difficulty defining the cost of their current service and the cost of adopting a new set-up. There are cloud calculators that will help organisations understand what it might cost if they leave their workloads as they are, or choose to optimise them in some way. What’s less easy to define is the return on investment when changes are made.
Companies also need to factor in things like service contracts and connectivity changes. It is often difficult for firms to gain clarity in this area, but these are crucial considerations over the long-term.
In short, hybrid cloud isn’t just a technology matter. It is about understanding the business case for a cloud-based journey, getting the best out of it financially, and ensuring that you are primed to make the most of new technologies that are coming down the track.
For further information, please click the button below to visit Clear in the Cloud: NetApp & CDW and discover our Hybrid Cloud Infographic and the Future CIO Raconteur Report.
By Colin Kilpatrick, Data Centre Technology Specialist, CDW.