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Facing the challenges of hybrid IT

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 Facing the Challenges of Hybrid IT

Bob Winter | Vice President, 451 Advisors

Guest blogger: Bob Winter | Vice President, 451 Advisors

IT leaders globally have embraced hybrid IT as ‘the new normal’ in optimising workload placement. However, as shown in a new 451 Research report commissioned by Dimension Data (Success factors for managing hybrid IT), the challenges of hybrid IT are anything but normal.

Already IT is hybrid IT

Think of hybrid IT as using multiple deployment models to deliver a single workload or application. These models can include some combination of on-premises and off-premises public and private clouds, as well as traditional non-cloud on- and off-premises platforms. IT leaders choose to confront this seemingly complex environment in the belief they’ll get greater flexibility, agility, reliability and security than going with a single deployment model.

According to our research, the top drivers of hybrid IT are end-user demand for new features and faster provisioning thereof, followed closely by a shortage of data centre capacity. Many of the 1,500 global respondents also cited the difficulties of keeping up with hardware refresh cycles as another driver of hybrid IT.

Hybrid IT challenges abound

But in IT as in other endeavours, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Hybrid IT is fraught with challenges. For one, most enterprises we surveyed plan on using multiple clouds, adding new complexities to managing the hybrid infrastructure. Also, IT leaders are finding data-migration challenges to be a time-consuming, often manual process.

The shape of hybrid is shifting

To address the cloud management challenge, organisations are turning to a wide variety of commercial and open source tools for performance management, automated load balancing and other functions. However, choosing the right ones in the right combinations takes skill and know-how that few IT leaders possess. This can be troubling because the survey results suggest that approximately two-thirds of all enterprise workloads will be migrated to the cloud in two years.

Turning to service providers

So not surprisingly, many organisations are turning to service providers for help and guidance with network services, data migration, automation, lifecycle management and, of course, security. In fact, our research shows that more than 60% of the cloud services that enterprises are buying today are managed or bundled services. Clearly, managed services have rapidly become a key component of service delivery across a range of infrastructure and application products in the hybrid IT world.

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Given the benefits of hybrid IT and the many challenges, it may well be worthwhile to engage with a professional services provider for development and implementation of an overall cloud strategy. In fact, nearly three in four of the enterprises surveyed will use multiple cloud service providers in the near future.

Finally, when evaluating the many cloud service providers that will vie for your business, ask detailed questions regarding their methods of communication, level of support, availability of skilled staff and security expertise.