Embrace hybrid cloud transformation: Insights from an expert

By: Aaron Purcell

Cloud computing has grown up. Your competitors are already using it as an integral business capability and likely enjoying the transformational benefits it brings. The question now facing your company is this: Do you have a strategy to actively participate and capitalize on the evolution of the hybrid cloud?

In the early days, enterprises used cloud computing as a point solution. It was perfect for spinning up ad hoc development environments and creating small proof-of-concept projects. It brought the flexibility to handle extra workloads and test nascent ideas without waiting weeks for IT to order, install and provision extra resources.

Today, cloud computing is becoming a more integral part of the enterprise computing function. Companies are baking it into the heart of their IT operation for a more competitive advantage. They’re using it to gather oceans of data, developing analytic models and leveraging machine learning to create insights that they couldn’t have achieved before.

As enterprise cloud usage matures, deployment patterns are changing. We no longer expect to use only a single public cloud service. IDC’s CloudView 2017 survey shows that most companies (87 percent) have introduced some capabilities for a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 40 percent of organizations are all-in on the cloud, describing themselves as “cloud-first.” They’ve undergone a Copernican revolution, in which the cloud has moved from the periphery to the center, driving their business and changing everything.

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Design a strategy

Where is your company in this transition? The first step in this evolution is to develop a plan for a mature hybrid cloud environment. At the heart of any road map is a simple question: What goals are you hoping to meet by moving to a hybrid cloud environment? How will the cloud drive your business?

In the early days of cloud computing, cost reduction was the primary driver. Companies hoped to marry the benefits of virtualization with features like automated service provisioning and workload balancing. Now, our customer surveys tell us the focus is shifting towards more profound strategic benefits, such as decreasing time to market for new or enhanced applications or complete business processes.

The drivers may not even be the same across the whole company. Different lines of business may have different goals, and it’s essential to document and evaluate all stakeholder expectations. Integrating the business and technical sides of the company will help you manage another crucial part of your hybrid cloud strategy: your legacy IT infrastructure. A comprehensive cloud strategy includes a way forward for the entire IT infrastructure, including software and hardware systems that have developed over decades.

Legacy planning is a challenging task for IT departments. Different departments create disparate IT systems that must work together. The result is a tangled digital knot. Pulling on one strand affects another, somewhere else.

To migrate enterprise infrastructure to the cloud, designers must understand how these legacy IT components interconnect. Then, they must learn how they underpin business applications. Only with this insight can the IT department transform legacy resources into a mature cloud-based platform supporting a range of services in a format that makes sense to the rest of the business.

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Bring in expert help

If this sounds daunting, rest assured you’re not the only IT professional to feel that way. IBM has served many customers who don’t want to tackle this alone. Our Global Technology Services portfolio includes targeted hybrid cloud offerings to help you develop a capable and flexible cloud platform that will serve your organization’s needs.

Our cloud migration service can help you to plan and transition your legacy software to a cloud environment. We pride ourselves on our ability to assess any legacy resource, including mainframe and iSeries workloads, to determine the correct migration strategy.

Our cloud brokerage managed service can help to plan, buy and coordinate cloud-based services from multiple suppliers. Our network design and assessment service can help you ensure your connectivity infrastructure will support your hybrid cloud environment’s different bandwidth, security and latency requirements.

To learn more about these hybrid cloud services, or for any questions you may have on related topics, schedule a one-on-one consultation with an IBM expert.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a consultation with an IBM Network Services expert.

Related topic: Software-defined Networking (SDN)

In depth: Software defined (SD) network topics:

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IBM Managed Network Services

IBM Hybrid SD-WAN Services

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About The Author

Aaron Purcell

IBM Global Technology Services Offering Manager