As cloud services grow in popularity among organizations in practically every sector, many teams lift and shift applications or build entirely new ones in the cloud. However, not all companies can fully integrate the public and private cloud storage services with their existing environments. They often struggle to make adjustments in their IT teams and structures.
If you want to take advantage of the flexibility of cloud services but don't want a complete migration to the public cloud, a hybrid cloud solution could be the right fit for you.
Read this article to learn the essentials of hybrid IT solutions and use this knowledge to build a competitive advantage for your business.
Table of contents:
- What is hybrid IT? Explanation
- Benefits of hybrid IT solutions
- Challenges of hybrid IT
- Hybrid IT – wrap up
What is hybrid IT? Explanation
Hybrid IT is an approach to enterprise computing where an organization manages some information technology (IT) resources in-house but uses cloud-based services for others. A hybrid approach allows companies to maintain a centralized approach to IT governance while reaping the benefits of cloud computing.
A hybrid cloud architecture combines private or public cloud services with on-premises infrastructures. Hybrid IT is a system that uses private and public resources simultaneously. It has significant advantages over its standalone counterparts but is challenging to manage effectively without the proper enterprise management toolset.
Enterprises often use multiple public clouds along with private clouds and on-prem resources but fail to create systems that bridge those boundaries. This is where modern IT services, environments, resources, and their associated management toolsets come to the rescue.
What are the typical hybrid IT solutions?
This model of cloud computing provides applications and storage space on demand. Since the software runs on servers in the cloud, users don't have to buy their own hardware or software licenses. Enterprises use SaaS applications to boost their teams with new capabilities without worrying about maintaining and updating these solutions.
IaaS solutions allow teams to store data, host applications, and run business processes remotely. IaaS vendors usually deliver servers, networking, storage, and a data layer as virtual machines over a wide area network connection, accessible through a local connection as if it were run locally in a file or computing server. They also typically incorporate monitoring functionality, audit logs, security protocols, node clustering, and backup and recovery features.
Pricing for hosted applications can be tricky. Sometimes they're organized by user amounts while depending on server provisioning. A combination of both may be required for organizations with varying demands that require frequent optimization.
PaaS vendors provide both tools and infrastructure. These offerings are typically sought after by organizations that want to develop and host their own applications and need to maximize efficiency in their software development lifecycles.
Payment terms can vary but are often set up in a pay-as-you-go model, and some solutions may veer more toward subscription pricing.
How to implement hybrid IT
It all starts with an adoption plan. Before implementing a cloud solution, you need to evaluate costs, including labor, security, disaster recovery procedures, and the time required for its implementation.
You need to decide which services to use and what data or functionality to transfer and your method of migration. Access restrictions, user training, and security policies will all need to be determined here as well. When reviewing the provider contract, clarify the general and Service Level Agreement (SLA) terms to ensure you aren't paying for a service you won't receive or get stuck with a service you can't use.
Another critical area to address is IT data security. To secure your hybrid IT environment fully, start with a comprehensive security audit, including endpoint accessibility. You should evaluate current users and their permissions to verify that they are correct and that credentials are secure.
Make sure that you include end-user training in your plan since a lack of familiarity with cloud-based processes can create liabilities. To ensure that your entire configuration is secure, use a centralized logging and monitoring solution with alert functionality.
Implementing hybrid cloud environments isn't the end of your job. Next, you need to monitor and optimize it. Once you have a hybrid environment set up, you must continue to monitor and manage your configuration to ensure no gaps in security or performance.
It would be best if you had policies in place dictating how frequently your IT environment is evaluated, who is doing the evaluation, and what measures are considered. When assessing the efficiency of spending and resources, compare performance and usage metrics and use them to inform what adjustments might be beneficial.
As existing technical debt expires or software outlives its usefulness, research what options are available to you and ensure that the ones you select integrate smoothly with your existing environments.
Benefits of hybrid IT solutions
Hybrid IT blends two or more technological approaches, such as the control and security of on-premises solutions, with the cost-effectiveness of cloud services. As a result, businesses can keep sensitive or regulated data in their on-premises infrastructure and achieve compliance. At the same time, they can leverage cloud resources to distribute apps, workloads, and data that aren't subject to cybersecurity regulations.
Optimizing costs in a hybrid environment requires some fine-tuning but can produce significant long-term cost savings. When managed well, modernization via a hybrid infrastructure delivers great ROI – not just by reducing costs but by streamlining operations and increasing the efficiency of business processes.
For example, many hybrid cloud architectures allow users to pay for services when they need them, while legacy systems usually require higher upfront costs and have set limits before expensive upgrades are required. This is helpful for both startup use cases and enterprises looking to increase the utilization of their IT budgets.
Hybrid infrastructure offers a reasonable degree of flexibility to an IT team. For example, managed cloud service providers handle cloud infrastructure maintenance and updates, which often includes handling downtime for users. This allows IT professionals to optimize their infrastructure, provide end-user support, and develop new features and applications.
In addition, the hybrid setup allows IT teams to maintain legacy applications that are too deeply embedded for complete cloud migration. A hybrid cloud environment provides the added reliability and availability of an on-premises data center while still allowing teams to enjoy the benefits of cloud solutions.
Challenges of hybrid IT
A hybrid implementation may increase the friction in user interactions with IT. Also, services must meet compliance, security, and cost controls — regardless of their delivery model.
Business teams demand rapid provisioning, and if IT is slow to respond, the likelihood of using external services increases. This may limit the visibility and context while decreasing the funding available to IT.
Unless IT commits to a hybrid-capable toolset, it will be difficult for the team to take advantage of the cost efficiencies offered by each environment or offer business-tuned hybrid systems. That's why IT departments need a central resource control system that directs the design, fulfillment, and day-two management of all IT environments, regardless of target.
Hybrid IT – wrap up
A hybrid IT management approach automates vital functional areas within IT operations while giving teams the autonomy to retain their current tools that work well. Broad, end-to-end process automation enhances the IT team's ability to respond and deliver faster, supporting any hybrid environment. By doing this, IT can free up experienced employees from overseeing tools so they can focus on higher-value activities.
Using a hybrid-capable toolset enables the IT team to become more service-driven by using common analytics and automation to accelerate business transformation initiatives. Hybrid IT management is an excellent approach to enhancing IT's ability to support business dynamics in a multi-cloud and hybrid IT world.
Are you looking for a hybrid solution? Get in touch with us. Our experts have the know-how to implement and manage hybrid IT to bring organizations maximum benefits.