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Buying hybrid cloud

How will the enterprise be buying hybrid in future?

You won't need me to reiterate the reasons why hybrid cloud makes sense for enough enterprises for it to have become a major trend in cloud computing now, and looks to remain so for the foreseeable future. This mix of private and public clouds to deliver a service is compelling from the points of view of both business benefits as well as - ultimately - cost reduction.

Among those benefits are faster time to service delivery, the ability to support both traditional and modern applications, and improved and more flexible deployment and scale. Implementation may not be so simple.

Blending public and private clouds is a complex operation that generates a range of challenges. Applications may need to be re-designed, the systems integration architecture will need to be revisited, and data will probably require re-configuration. System tools will probably need to be updated if not replaced to enable visibility and management at all levels of the new architecture.

It is also likely that enterprises will take the opportunity to bring their datacentres up to date with today's east-west information flows, which will then influence a range of people, procedures and processes outside the technology stack. These include IT teams, who may need to re-configure their silos and skillsets, while compliance and security policies will need to be updated to match the new environment.

While companies with strong DevOps teams may well have encountered and surmounted some or all of these obstacles, this is unlikely to be the case for most enterprises.

Buying hybrid: challenge or opportunity?

Such are the challenges associated with moving some or most of your data and applications into a public cloud. However, the underlying assumption here is that the enterprise will want to do most or all of the heavy lifting itself. This key challenge is to source the additional resources and knowledge needed to make the switch - but the opportunity thus created is vast.

At this point, a cohesive, integrated approach to hybrid cloud is clearly required, one that demands a range of skills and experience that are likely to lie outside the skillset and experience of the IT department. Consequently, a number of third parties offer services backed by just this kind of experience, at levels for enterprises and organisations of all sizes.

Expect to be provided with a service that optimises the delivery of your application portfolio, and locates applications where they are best suited depending on policy, compliance and performance criteria, and procures infrastructure optimised for the workload. Perhaps most valuably, such services should include the tools, built with experience from the service provider's previous such operations baked in, to make the migration as smooth and painless as possible.

Ultimately, you should be in a position to build and run applications wherever is appropriate across all platforms, monitor and manage applications and infrastructure as necessary, scaling and bursting on demand - all without having to expend the management time and effort making it so.

With the enhanced agility that a hybrid cloud provides, you should be well positioned to accelerate business capabilities, capitalise on cloud economics, create new customer value propositions and exploit new markets.