Why hybrid IT is the new reality
What would be your answer if asked to summarise business IT today with a single word? We think that ‘hybrid’ would be a good bet – and here’s why.
What do we mean by hybrid IT?
First, it’s important to make a distinction between hybrid cloud and hybrid IT. The terms are sometimes used a little too interchangeably, though they do refer to slightly different things.
A hybrid cloud infrastructure is one that combines two or more distinct types of cloud – usually public and private. For example, a company might use a public cloud service such as Microsoft Azure to host certain applications, while also running a private cloud to store particularly high-value or business-critical data.
Hybrid IT is a slightly broader concept. In years gone by, it referred to the division of IT resources between an in-house IT department and third-party suppliers – in essence, outsourcing some aspects of IT management. Now, the term has evolved to refer specifically to the IT infrastructure underpinning a particular organisation, and where that infrastructure is hosted. Hybrid IT, in this sense, means using a mixture of different IT infrastructure platforms – which might include hybrid clouds as well as legacy on premise hardware – to host servers, databases, applications and so on. Hybrid IT, then, combines elements of both cloud-based and on-premise IT infrastructures in one.
According to Gartner, by 2020, 90% of organisations will have adopted ‘hybrid infrastructure management’ – another name for the same setup. ‘Cloud, hosting and traditional infrastructure services will come in more or less at par in terms of spending’, the analyst stated. That certainly sounds like the new reality – but why?
Harnessing the benefits
First, hybrid IT offers a diverse range of benefits to organisations, enabling them to reap the rewards of both cloud and on-premise technologies while minimising the drawbacks. Cloud computing models are cost-effective to deploy and rapid to scale, with little in the way of upfront investment. On premise models offer tighter visibility and control.
By combining both, organisations can ensure that specific application, workloads and datasets within their infrastructure are supported with the most appropriate technology platform, rather than attempting to deliver a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In turn, this can generate substantial cost savings, by removing unnecessary hardware needs, and also improve overall resilience and reliability, thanks the outsourcing of critical hosting to specialists.
Meeting the challenges
Hybrid IT is not, of course, without its challenges. Most obviously, a hybrid infrastructure introduces complexity for IT managers, by combining multiple different services and therefore, likely, multiple different third parties. At the same time, hybrid IT tends to facilitate initiatives like bring-your-own-device and the Internet of Things (IoT), which dramatically increase the number of endpoints to integrate into an organisation’s IT infrastructure.
These complexities, are, however, gradually subsiding as a result of improved interoperability between different vendors and suppliers, and more universal technical standards. An integrated, unified approach to enterprise IT, built on combining multiple different technologies seamlessly rather than sticking religiously to a single vendor, has gained a great deal of traction, and it is perhaps this above all else that is powering the rise and rise of hybrid IT for businesses.
The halfway house has become the destination
Hybrid IT was at one point seen as a kind of halfway house, a stop on the journey between a fully on premise and a fully cloud-based infrastructure. Yet as more and more organisations realise the benefits to be reaped by remaining at that stopping point for a little longer – and, indeed, making it the destination in itself – so hybrid IT has become normalised among organisations across a wide range of sectors and sizes. This really is the new reality – are you ready for it?