With the benefits of cloud undeniable, enterprises are moving more aggressively toward growing cloud investments. Cloud migration mostly started with smaller businesses, who are naturally less complex and have fewer barriers to adoption, but with significant improvements over time the cloud has worked its way up to the enterprise level.
However, the cloud journey for an enterprise raises an array of issues – from re-architecting existing applications to protecting massive stores of sensitive data, and maintaining compliance and security mandates. As a result, many enterprises are still very sceptical about moving big workloads and applications to the cloud.
As a panellist at last year’s CIO Summit in Sydney said, “Software as a Service and infrastructure into the cloud are no-brainers for the enterprise, but for industries such as logistics and manufacturing that are operating machinery and equipment, milliseconds matter. Enterprises in these sectors especially cannot afford for their systems to be in the cloud. We’re at least a decade away from that being a possibility.”
The fact that enterprises are made up of highly complex ecosystems also makes the public cloud unsuitable. While the cloud may make sense for some workloads, it’s a different story at the application level. It’s difficult to find a cloud product that can handle the complexity of an enterprise’s needs. For processes such as customer relationship management and payroll, cloud apps can be a suitable option, but core areas that differentiate the business, like pricing and logistics, in most cases cannot be moved to cloud – and nor are organisations want them to be.
Hybrid cloud: the best of both worlds
However, just because fully migrating to the cloud isn’t an option for most enterprises doesn’t mean they have to miss out. Hybrid cloud is slated to be the ultimate end-state for the enterprise – it provides maximum benefits for minimal costs, and can be integrated with current cloud environments. In a recent EMC study, over 70% of CIOs said that IT will need to build and operate a well-run hybrid cloud in order to balance needs for innovating and growing the business. And as UK-based survey found, nearly half of IT leaders already believe that the hybrid cloud is the optimal solution for their enterprise.
Budget concerns are also playing heavily on the minds of IT leaders, as they have to justify their purchasing decisions to the C-suite. Whatever is deployed today often must remain relevant for five years or more – it can’t simply be replaced in a year’s time.
The hybrid cloud allows customers to purchase equipment in line with their current business needs, whilst also being able to scale as needed. And unlike the public cloud, which has been known to produce hidden costs, IT leaders are already well informed about the costs of hybrid cloud. In the same UK-based survey, 71% of CIOs said that the costs of running a hybrid cloud were the same as they had anticipated. This means that with the hybrid cloud, it’s possible stay within budget whilst also providing a future-ready solution.
The hybrid cloud brings all the good aspects of the public cloud: access to massive public cloud resources to test out new capabilities and try out new technologies without investments that hang around taking up floor space and budget. In this way, the hybrid model acts as a facilitator of innovation. Developers can focus on developing instead of provisioning. With ready-made compute power and full integration into existing infrastructure, new system enhancements or application updates get through the software lifecycle faster, and enterprises can get products to market faster.
A winning combination
Many start-ups and SMEs have had the benefit of beginning their IT journey in the cloud era, making adoption of new cloud technologies a standard part of their long term IT strategy. For the established enterprise, there are many more things to consider and many more hurdles to overcome.
Clearly, it’s not realistic to expect the enterprise to go ‘all cloud’ anytime soon. Fortunately, a hybrid model enables larger organisations to find the right combination of cloud and existing resources to do the job. The modern enterprise wants to be agile and flexible, and to do so their IT infrastructure must be the same. This can be achieved with the hybrid cloud.
IT leaders are invited to download our complimentary ebook on cloud migration, which provides more information on the different models and how to determine which is best suited to your organisation.