A recent report from Forrester Research pulls no punches: “Hybrid cloud is not the future: It’s here today.”1
The rapid pace of innovation in both public and private cloud platforms is driving strong adoption of each by enterprises building and modernizing the software that drives competitive advantage. Most companies today already use multiple public and private clouds to meet different service, performance, or security needs.
Leading companies go further and create a hybrid cloud by integrating public and on-premises apps, services, and platforms for a consistent cloud both on- and off-premises. So at this point it’s fair to ask: What are the top ways in which hybrid cloud is helping to accelerate innovation?
That’s the question that was posed recently to members of the IDG Influencer Network, a community of industry analysts, IT professionals, and journalists. While their answers were varied, a clear consensus emerged: Hybrid cloud is an excellent starting point to break out of “business as usual IT.”
Consider this story about how a major company overcame the growing pains associated with embracing DevOps.
“Although they felt they had enabled their product development teams, at best it was superficial: Their work was hampered right at the beginning as the teams were asked to work within the confines of the traditional infrastructure—with only a few new resources at their disposal,” explained Amanda Hendley (@amanda_hendley), managing director and president of Computer Measurement Group Inc.
“A hybrid cloud infrastructure and new guidelines for the development teams accelerated the path to innovation,” she continued. “For instance, teams were able to take ownership of their work, try out new technology features, and deploy faster with heightened security.”
That promise of heightened security offered by hybrid cloud was a theme that resonated with numerous influencers.
“Hybrid cloud solutions can help organizations deploy cybersecurity solutions faster, without deploying additional infrastructure or spending staff hours on software and platform updates,” said Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), director of information security services at Integral Partners. “This will help organizations to deploy innovative solutions rapidly such as deception technologies, which can reduce the ‘dwell time’ associated with breaches.”
Technology journalist Jeff Cutler (@JeffCutler) agreed. “Not to beat a dead horse, but the advantages of a hybrid cloud solution offer organizations the best of both worlds,” he said. “That is, it allows the use of the best facets of a public cloud and the security aspects of a private cloud simultaneously. This allows teams that rely on data availability and its security to concentrate on productivity, accomplish their mission(s), and often balance unexpected workloads across their enterprise. It’s a solid solution with few drawbacks.”
“From a security perspective, a hybrid cloud gives businesses the benefits of the public cloud, with the security benefit of having complete sovereignty over their data,” noted Ben Rothke
(@benrothke), senior security consultant at Nettitude. “That ensures there is no ambiguity as to the security, data encryption, regulatory controls, and more.”
Evolving data regulations, speed, flexibility
With countries increasingly tightening up data regulations (think GDPR), hybrid cloud provides the data sovereignty necessary to support innovation for multinational companies, observed Nicole Scalese (@nicolescalese), senior partner development manager at Intermedia.
“Moving between on-prem and cloud servers allows organizations the ability to have data where they need it, when they need it, all while maintaining regulatory and compliance standards,” she said.
The speed and flexibility associated with hybrid cloud appealed to several influencers.
“Hybrid clouds tend to have better uptime, be more reliable, and appear faster to the user,” said Brent Kirkpatrick (@BrentKirkpatri3), computer security researcher and consultant at Intrepid Net Computing. “These properties support innovation in other areas of computing.”
“Hybrid cloud accelerates innovation by reducing friction associated with business-model change,” added Kevin L. Jackson (@Kevin_Jackson), founder of the GovCloud Network. “Hybrid cloud and IT platforms provide readily available options that can be used to overcome the roadblocks that naysayers will always throw up.”
“The efficiency of a hybrid cloud frees up resources for priorities like product development, instead of tying up money and staff in infrastructure maintenance,” said B2B technology communications consultant Rachel Tracy (@rachelbtracy). “And with more scalable computing and data storage, companies can flexibly respond to changing needs without sacrificing security or their focus on innovation.”
“Hybrid cloud can help IT and business leaders who may be holding back their innovation initiatives,” said technical writer Will Kelly (@willkelly). “Breaking down traditional operational barriers such as the provisioning of servers can help organizations experiment with new technologies like IoT. A hybrid cloud can also help companies enter a new market because it doesn’t require the capital expenditures of past projects.”
Right workload, right place
Ultimately, hybrid cloud is the logical infrastructure for the modern business strategy of “right workload, right place.”
Sally Eaves (@sallyeaves), CEO of Sustainable Asset Exchange, said enterprises are embracing hybrid cloud “to enable personalized, flexible, balanced, and intelligent” infrastructures.
“As a core part of digital strategy, this approach can raise efficiency, enhance consistency, elevate customer services, provide deeper business insights, and support exploration of emerging technologies,” she said. “There are also notable benefits for application development innovation in terms of enhanced speed to deploy, fault resilience, and capacity to scale.”
Observed Fred McClimans (@fredmcclimans), tech/equity analyst at Futurum Research: “We live in a world of hype and reality, forcing enterprises to strike a balance between emerging tech and leveraging existing infrastructure. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the cloud. Hybrid isn’t just a migration step but a way to maintain what works today and focus on innovating processes that don’t.”
Technology journalist David Geer (@geercom) was succinct: “Hybrid cloud enables digital transformation, the disruption that uses digital technologies to innovate better versions of existing business applications, processes, and services.”
To learn more about hybrid cloud, go here.
1 “Unlock the Value of Cloud,” Forrester Research, August 2017