As enterprise leaders look to the future, their focus should be on the workload and the data required to create competitive advantage. As this comes into focus, every cloud permutation will be in play. The challenge will be making it all work together.

I remember when the idea of the “cloud” burst onto the world of IT.

Those were the days when it was still this simple, singular idea. It may have all been marketing hype, but at least we could struggle to make sense of just a single term.

We’re not quite as lucky anymore.

Today, there are private clouds, public clouds, multi-cloud, and who knows what other clouds. Many vendors talk about the different clouds they operate and have started using the term “hybrid cloud” very liberally.

It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

The kicker is that most of it is just people coming up with different names that merely represent shades of the same thing. Even more frustrating is the fact that almost all of it misses the real point. Our focus shouldn’t be on the medium (the cloud), where it lives (private, public, etc.) or how they’re connected (multi-, etc.).

Instead, as enterprise leaders look forward to the future, the focus should be on the workload and the data required to respond to business demands and resource availability to create competitive advantage and business agility. As this comes into focus, it becomes clear that every cloud permutation will be in play. The challenge will be making it all work together.

Will the Real Hybrid Cloud Please Stand Up?

Of all the cloud-terms, hybrid cloud is my favorite.

Maybe it’s because it conjures up images of some crazy experiment, or perhaps because it sounds progressive and futuristic.

Or it could be because it’s the term that most closely represents the real future – and opportunity – for enterprise leaders.

Despite all the wrangling over definitions and terminology, if you talk to enterprise IT executives there is surprising agreement about what the future of the enterprise technology stack will look like: a patchwork that includes on-premise resources and resources in the cloud – basically a little bit of everything.

Part of the reason there are all these terms surrounding the cloud is because as cloud computing has gone mainstream, a wide variety of use cases has emerged. Each of them has a place in the modern IT organization.

Moreover, even the most ardent cloud supporters have realized that it does not make sense to move everything to the cloud. There are any number of business and technical reasons why legacy and on-premises technology assets will remain in production for the foreseeable future.

The focus within enterprise IT teams, therefore, has shifted to making all these different technologies work together in a way that is simple, supportable and manageable — no easy task, given that the co-existence of all these different technologies has, in fact, increased the complexity of the enterprise IT stack.

This highly integrated and interconnected patchwork of technologies that includes traditional legacy architectures and the flavor(s) of new cloud-based ones that are right for any given organization is what we consider a hybrid IT architecture. The component of that architecture that connects on-premises, private clouds (and legacy architectures retrofitted with cloud-like capabilities) with other cloud form-factors is what we consider a hybrid cloud.

And we believe this architectural model is the present reality and future of IT.

Workloads & Data: The Power Couple

There’s a challenge, however, that many IT organizations face as they begin thinking in terms of a hybrid IT architecture and deploying hybrid cloud models — the systems-based architectural perspectives of the past are holding them back.

For most of IT’s history, we organized and managed the technology stack by form factor. Over there is the mainframe team, this is the mid-range group, and those folks handle the distributed computing platforms.

We then organized teams around the database, middleware, and so on. It made sense when those systems operated mostly independently. But that’s no longer the case.

In the hybrid world, form factor becomes much less critical. Instead, the management paradigm for the new IT architectural model is the workload and the data that support them.

IT organizations must now embrace workload centricity, driven by business criticality and priority, rather than systems centricity as the core of their restructured management approaches in this hybrid world.

With speed and agility now the driving forces behind IT’s operating model, it is essential that IT is able to intelligently manage workloads independent of their underlying architectural elements and to connect those workloads to the data they require.

The Intellyx Take

Making the transition from traditional, siloed architectures and management models to a new hybrid approach is more difficult than it sounds.

IT leaders must grapple with both organizational and cultural challenges as they attempt to make such a transition. Moreover, the technical difficulties of making legacy elements of their technology stack peacefully co-exist with their new cloud architectures can consume resources and distract teams from the more significant business objectives.

Nevertheless, progressive IT leaders understand that they must complete this transition and are, therefore, turning to a wide range of technology providers, such as Pivot3, that help with various elements of intelligently managing complex hybrid cloud environments in a way that is efficient and simplified.

Essential to these new management approaches is the ability to manage these modern hybrid environments from a business, workload, and data perspective.

The complexity of the enterprise technology stack will only continue to increase. It will, therefore, be vital that enterprise leaders embrace these new hybrid approaches and seek out ways to break through the terminology conundrum and focus on how these new architectures can deliver competitive advantage to the organization.

The question is how to do so? In the next two articles in this three-part series, we will examine how things like policy-based management and deploying an intelligent hybrid cloud architecture will be essential as enterprise leaders seek to make hybrid cloud really work. Stay tuned.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Pivot3 is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Superb article, and the corollary is: Hybrid IT will be with us for decades to come.
    In 1991, Stewart Alsop predicted the mainframe to be dead by 1996. He famously ate his own words (quite literally) in 2002.
    These days, many predict that on-premise will be dead, for example devops.com in 2015. Let’s see when they will eat their words as well.

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