Cloud. In its most basic form, it drives innovation and harnesses intelligence for the organisation. It is the delivery of computing services, servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and so much more, all over the Internet, all flexible and all offering economies of scale.
It is also evolving, allowing for the organisation to scale within cost and expand without limitation. The use of cloud should be determined by the need of the organisation. The business opting into the infrastructure that allows it to function most efficiently and adapting this investment as business needs change. Everything has become a service.
Hybrid cloud is gaining traction as it provides the availability of off-premise services that allow the business to achieve elastic computing while leaving control of the infrastructure in the hands of the business. This shift can be seen across the company and strategic market. Microsoft isn’t a software organisation anymore, it’s a services company with everything being offered as a service. Most organisations are evolving to meet this demand and the infrastructure must be in place so that the business can provide the service.
Hybrid is set to become the dominant strategy over the next few years and it is predicted that 90% of organisations will commit to a multi-cloud strategy within the next two years. It heralds the need for IT and business to stop forcing impossible choices on one another and instead to select partners that can coordinate multiple clouds and optimise according to changing business decisions.
There are significant cost benefits in the shift to hybrid as the business can match cost patterns to revenue and demand patterns, and transition from a capital-intensive cost model to an opex-based model. It is now possible to run the business in near-simultaneous environments without the cost of deploying expensive infrastructure.
Hybrid provides a fit-for-purpose solution that allows for sensitive data to stay on site on dedicated hardware while simultaneously benefiting from the efficiency and demand scalability of the public cloud. The delicate data remains on a dedicated server while front-end applications run in the public cloud to create a seamless, agile and secure environment.
Of course, the advantage of hybrid also extends into innovation and the ability to future-proof IT infrastructure and investment. When the IT department is too focused on keeping the lights on it doesn’t have time to innovate. Hybrid allows the business to take advantage of emerging cloud technologies while retaining legacy applications within corporate data centres. Hybrid is scalable, allowing for on-demand services at the click of a button and, in the same vein, it allows for the business to only use what is needed when it is needed. It reduces the cost of internal IT platforms by using out of band infrastructure with seamless availability that mitigates system downtime. These further drives down time to market thanks to faster development times — IT can spin solutions out in hybrid to test and develop without impacting on the system.
Cloud is here to stay and hybrid cloud is allowing for its elegant evolution within business dictate and demand. It is a crisply strategic solution that provides the business with the platform of the future that respects the investment of the past.
- Jon Tullett is research manager for IT services at International Data Corp in South Africa