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By Gary Thome
According to a recent Gartner.com article, a typical enterprise CIO will likely choose hybrid cloud solutions to address the challenges of their disparate IT environments. “Hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds — the cost optimization, agility, flexibility, scalability and elasticity benefits of public cloud, in conjunction with the control, compliance, security and reliability of private cloud.” The analyst firm predicts that by 2020, 90% of organizations will embrace hybrid cloud.
Yet implementing a hybrid cloud strategy into your business can also create some hurdles for you to overcome. If not addressed, these challenges can slow you down or even stall your adoption. And all four of these challenges have one thing in common; they all stem from a general lack of expertise in implementing and operating in a public cloud. Let’s face it – until you can clear that hurdle, a successful hybrid cloud deployment is in jeopardy.
4 common challenges to hybrid cloud adoption caused by lack of experience
Since successful hybrid cloud adoption is the ultimate goal, IT leaders need to identify trouble spots and put a plan into place to remedy those obstacles. I’ve identified 4 common challenges below:
Managing costs is a key challenge because it takes different skills when using public cloud than what IT has typically dealt with using on-premises resources. Because public cloud allows you to easily consume resources, your team could end up spending more than they realize if they aren’t careful. Public cloud also forces users to predict capacity, sizing virtual machines in advance. It’s not uncommon to oversize capacity, which adds unneeded expenses. Managing cost is an important element in successfully using public cloud resources. And it’s one that can be achieved, but only when you have the right safeguards in place.
Securityis also a challenge with public cloud because it is different than traditional on-premises model. In the public cloud, security is typically driven directly by APIs, which means developers set it up instead of your IT operations team. Because not all developers are used to setting up the right security, their lack of experience can cause some problems if not addressed in advance.
Compliancein following regulations that govern the use of sensitive business data is another cloud challenge to the enterprise, again due to inexperience. In this scenario (like security issues), developers are not experienced in this new compliance role because it was typically handled by the IT ops team. Because the IT organization is fully responsible for all compliance-related issues, this is an area where additional training and tooling are probably needed. The cost of not being compliant could be catastrophic in terms of fees, lawsuits, and business reputation.
Historically,governancefor IT in an enterprise was based on gates, designed to provide oversight and direction. The goal of governance is to foster standardization and improve quality, yet it also tends to slow down the development process. Using public cloud, the governance process is completely different. And it tends to be faster – which can be a good thing, as it lets developers move as quickly as they want. But without expertise in this area, it can also cause problems.
Two ways to overcome these challenges and succeed in a hybrid cloud deployment strategy
How do you solve the problems mentioned above? It’s pretty simple. You have two choices: you either learn to do these new things yourself, or you bring in outside experts to help you.
For most organizations, the first option (growing expertise organically) may not get you results fast enough. It takes time to get your employees up to speed. And as you try to speed past your competitors, time is probably a resource you don’t have much of. Of course, you can hire new employees with expertise in these areas, but the needed skills are scarce. Many businesses are seeking the same new set of skills, and prospective employees with these skills are hard to find. And when they are available, they are snapped up quickly.
Most enterprises are finding that hiring outside experts is a better solution. You obtain the required skills quickly, and you get a variety of experts working with you for as long as you need them.
Hybrid cloud consultants – what to look for
When hiring hybrid cloud consultants, the most important thing to look for is experience. Your consultant needs to have a long history in deploying hybrid cloud solutions, without a bias toward one particular public cloud offering. Remember, your business is unique and will require solutions tailored to your specific needs, so you want all options on the table.
Also, make sure you hire someone who has a pure hybrid cloud mindset – not someone who pushes you to go all-in on either public cloud or private cloud. As I mentioned at the start of this article, experts believe hybrid cloud is the future of the enterprise. Make sure your consultant agrees with that philosophy, or you may find yourself moving backward instead of the direction you need to take.
You should also look for industry experts that have experience using the right tools to solve each of the four challenges I outlined above: cost, security, compliance, and governance. Tools are available to help solve these issues, but again, you need to make certain your industry expert has experience deploying and using each of these tools.
Lastly, when talking with hybrid cloud consultants, ask about the future – where hybrid cloud is going and what your business needs for success as your enterprise grows. This conversation should include edge computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Your consultant needs to be knowledgeable about your past, yet also have insights and suggestions for helping you meet future goals. New technologies will undoubtedly introduce new challenges to your business. Make sure you have an experienced partner to guide you expertly through the hazards along the way. For example, HPE Right Mix Advisor is an industry-first service offering that delivers data-driven guidance to help IT leaders quickly and confidently move workloads to the right hybrid cloud platforms.
Gary Thome is the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). He is responsible for the technical and architectural directions of converged datacenter products and technologies. Over his extensive career in the computer industry, Gary has authored 50 patents. To read more articles from Gary, check out the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blog.