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By Lauren Whitehouse
Digital transformation is ushering in a new era of hybrid IT– a combination of both public and private cloud – that allows businesses to innovate while meeting their own unique organizational needs. Yet, a hybrid IT environment can create complexity and operational friction that can slow a business down and hold them back.
As businesses seek ways to remove IT friction, streamline operations, and accelerate business innovation across their hybrid environment, it’s important for them to think about the needs of three particular groups – IT operations, developers, and line of business (LOB) executives. What challenges do each face? What opportunities do they see?
To answer these questions, IDC conducted in-depth interviews with IT operations staff and line of business individuals at Fortune 100 enterprises. The results can be found in a comprehensive research report – The Future of Hybrid IT Made Simple.
IT ops: Where’s my automation for deployment and management?
A hybrid IT environment is definitely more challenging for IT operations than a single, virtualized compute infrastructure located on premises. A lack of automation in a hybrid IT environment means deployment and management of siloed resources must be managed separately.
Other concerns with hybrid IT include IT interoperability and integration, application certification, change management/tracking, and complexity of the overall infrastructure. In addition, extensive training is needed for operations and development personnel as IT shifts to a service broker model.
As these challenges mount, IT can no longer be treated as a back-office function. Instead, IT ops is expected to drive new sources of competitive differentiation, while still supporting legacy infrastructure and processes.
As one IT ops executive explains in the report, “Hybrid IT is more complex when it comes to deployment and ongoing management. The initial setup of the process takes some time, and training people how to use the different portals further extends deployment timelines. Every time something new comes up, it’s always a challenge because people don’t necessarily like to learn anything new. There’s always a learning curve, and they are usually not too happy about it. Change management is always a headache.”
Application Developers: Where are my developer services and ease of use?
Hybrid IT is also challenging for application developers, but for completely different reasons. Developer services, such as infrastructure APIs, workflow, and automation tools, are not consistently available across private and public clouds. And a lack of unified provision tools means that IT must serialize much of public and private cloud service delivery, which leads to bottlenecks.
Developers feel that a complex hybrid IT infrastructure is difficult to interact with, slowing down their ability to quickly roll out new services on new platforms. Interoperability between development, test/QA, and production environments is also a problem, along with the learning curve on available tools that manage cloud resources. Integration and version control between their on-prem and cloud environments is also lacking, which slows them down and increases complexity.
The report quotes one application developer as saying, “Our major concern is with deploying third-party applications across multiple clouds. A big issue is the proprietary nature of each of these clouds. I can’t just take the virtual image of the machine and deploy it across multiple clouds without tweaking it.”
Line-of-Business (LOB) Executives: Where’s my visibility and cost controls?
LOB executives have very different concerns. They are frustrated by the slow response for new private cloud services. Although public cloud services are fast, executives feel that they also carry risk. They wonder if using public cloud exposes their business to the outside world. They also are concerned that they will be locked into a specific public cloud service. Adherence to SLAs, transparency, privacy, consistency across clouds, overall performance, and cost—all these issues weigh heavily on a LOB executive’s mind.
According to one LOB executive quoted in the report, “Application integration with on-premises data management layers like file systems is a problem when developing in the cloud. With hybrid IT, our goal is to ensure that data is available across all locations, using some kind of a secure message broker integrated with a database and a distributed file system.”
Reducing hybrid IT complexity – is it possible?
So what’s the solution? Is it possible to operate a hybrid IT environment without the headaches associated with it?
According to IDC, the answer is yes—but only if a multi-cloud strategy is bound together with an overarching hybrid IT strategy. And this is where companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) can help. HPE software-defined infrastructure and hybrid cloud solutions lets businesses reduce complexity so they can innovate with confidence.
For IT operations staff, using composable and hyperconverged software-defined infrastructure means that they will be able to move quickly. They can easily deploy and redeploy resources for all workloads. Plus, automating and streamlining processes frees up resources so IT can focus on what matters most. Developers can drive innovation using multi-cloud management software, rapidlyaccessing the tools and resources required to quickly develop and deploy apps. Lastly, multi-cloud management options let LOB executives gain insights across public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises environments, providing the visibility needed to optimize spending.
By delivering solutions that make hybrid IT simple to manage and control across on-premises and off-premises estates, a business can better meet the needs of IT operations, developers, and LOB executives. A hybrid IT strategy combined with multi-cloud management empowers everyone to move faster, increase competitiveness, and accelerate innovation.
Lauren Whitehouse is the marketing director for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). She is a serial start-up marketer with over 30 years in the software industry, joining HPE from the SimpliVity acquisition in February 2017. Lauren brings extensive experience from a number of executive leadership roles in software development, product management, product marketing, channel marketing, and marketing communications at market-leading global enterprises. She also spent several years as an industry analyst, speaker and blogger, serving as a popular resource for IT vendors and the media, as well as a contributing writer at TechTarget on storage topics.