Paradigm shift to hybrid cloud: The new enterprise IT model

By: Mohammed Farooq


Enterprise infrastructure is quickly transitioning to a multiprovider hybrid cloud model as it searches for the best way to support emerging technology initiatives like digital customer engagement, the Internet of Things, online marketing and blockchain.

But while the goals are clear, the transition is anything but. With new technologies emerging almost daily, many organizations find themselves caught in a sea of acronyms and service offerings that usually end up increasing data isolation and silo-based infrastructure instead of producing the agile data environment that is crucial to successful digital outcomes. This is why the enterprise must devise a clear-cut strategy for the transition to hybrid, multicloud environments and the ongoing management of the eventual operating model it supports.

The first step in this process is to recognize that today’s IT is no longer responsive to modern business requirements — it’s just too slow. While a typical IT-led development cycle unfolds over a year or more, emerging DevOps models allow applications to be designed, built, tested and deployed within 30 days or less, with user-requested add-ons ready for global distribution in a week, if not the same day. Many business units have already put their CIOs on notice that internal IT must change, or they’ll stop using it altogether.

Model choices

This leaves the enterprise with two basic choices: Either extend the existing operating model by making incremental changes to technology, skills and processes, or create an entirely new model in which IT is consumed as a service and the enterprise shifts its focus away from infrastructure toward performance-based outcomes.

Although these models follow different transition paths, they are built around the same set of core principles:

  • Self-service IT: This is what some people call the app store experience. It allows users to take command of service discovery, provisioning and monitoring.
  • Technology federation: This will support end-to-end DevOps and self-service continuous integration and delivery, which will ultimately merge into continuous operations.
  • Multiprovider ecosystem: Whether on-premises or in the cloud, multiple vendor and provider solutions deliver the flexibility demanded of modern workloads.
  • Data, artificial intelligence and automation: These must become the new core engine of the data-driven model, particularly when it comes to service management.
  • Outcome-driven metrics: Encapsulated within a new continuous performance management stack.

Few enterprises have the knowledge or internal skill sets to manage this change completely on their own, which is why they need a relationship with an experienced technology partner. Whether the goal is to leverage legacy systems or build an all-new services platform in the cloud, a hybrid, multicloud environment will require in-depth system integration, changes to key processes and new skills among the knowledge workforce.

The right hybrid cloud

But how will the enterprise know it’s on the right track? With so many elements in play, what’s the best way to avoid the false starts and dead ends that hinder the normal technology initiative — let alone something as far-reaching as an entirely new operational paradigm?

Enterprise adoption of this new model is a phased approach. The chief milestones are:

  • Basic governance and visibility: Bring existing multicloud assets under control.
  • Standardized DevOps consumption: Design uniform pipelines for basic DevOps, workload deployment, cloud management, security and operations.
  • Standardized DevOps management: Track users, manage changes to systems and assets, monitor applications and infrastructure across multiple clouds, create a single operations management system for design, policies and control.
  • Autonomic multicloud: Integrate DevOps and legacy infrastructure, optimize costs, operations and resource utilization.

Going forward, demand for digital services will be so high and data volumes so vast that not even the largest corporations will be able to host the necessary resources within their own data centers. Only hybrid, multicloud architectures offer the scale and agility to compete in the next-generation economy.

The first to make this change will be in the best position to tap emerging digital markets with cutting-edge consumer experiences, and from there maintain the brand loyalty that is essential to compete in a rapidly evolving, data-driven economy.


Learn more about IBM Hybrid Cloud Services.

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About The Author

Mohammed Farooq

General Manager Brokerage Services, IBM

Mohammed Farooq is a co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Gravitant, a leading Enterprise Cloud Services Broker software company acquired by IBM. He has been in the IT industry for more than 18 years, with experience both as a buyer, operator and a provider of enterprise IT software and services.