Moving from hybrid IT to hybrid cloud
An excerpt from Transform to Better Perform, a global knowledge share initiative led by the BPI Network and sponsored by Dimension Data
Treb Ryan, Dimension Data’s Chief Strategy Officer for cloud, shared a small joke about how one could argue every American company already has hybrid systems.
“In the US, somewhere in every single company,” he said in an interview, “every single piece of corporate information sits somewhere on Dropbox.”
That may not sound funny to many CTOs because it demonstrates how business users aren’t necessarily waiting for their IT departments before signing up for storage and services in the cloud. The joke also serves as a springboard for Ryan to vent one of his ongoing frustrations – confusion over hybrid IT vs. hybrid cloud solutions.
“This is where people make so many mistakes on both sides,” he said. “We’ve seen way too much of it on the mislabeling of the cloud. We normally hear people calling something cloud that is really just a bunch of virtual servers sitting inside the data center. It doesn’t make it ‘cloud’ at all.”
Ryan said almost all companies now have hybrid IT that uses “at least Software-as-a-Service and storage solutions” even if they haven’t adopted it on a departmental level. “But that’s not the same as hybrid cloud,” he noted.
“What they have is an IT environment that they traditionally manage one way and a cloud environment that they manage another way,” he said. “It’s very difficult to move applications and workload and data and resources across those two environments.”
With a hybrid IT environment, users will find they can do some new things in the cloud through SaaS services and others through the applications on a traditional on-premise datacenter. But they can’t necessarily access the data they need in a SaaS tool or develop new apps in-house without time-sucking, laborious efforts. To do that, they’d have to use a hybrid cloud architecture that unifies the efforts.
“When we talk about the hybrid cloud, what we talk about is presenting a unified environment that may have on-site physical infrastructure, may have off-site public cloud capabilities and may even integrate with what they have already,” he said.
That means companies can take advantage of the investments they’ve already made in a traditional architecture but still get all the advantages of the cloud, including rapid application development that allows for an agile response to shifting competitive landscape while fostering innovation.
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