Organizations have traditionally looked to public cloud as a means to reduce IT complexity. In fact, ease of management remains the number one driver of public cloud use, cited by 68% of respondents to a survey by IDC.
However, the expansion of multi-cloud environments is changing the picture. With organizations using cloud services from different providers—to avoid vendor lock-in or use best-of-breed solutions—public cloud is not a simple matter of choosing a service and swiping a credit card.
In reality, the notion of public cloud simplicity is becoming something of an oxymoron in today’s multi-cloud environments—in which IT teams face growing complexity in cost management, governance, app and data portability, performance, security, compliance and data sovereignty.
None of those challenges is simple. Yet, they can be addressed with hybrid cloud solutions that allow IT teams to use consistent tools, processes and procedures that stretch across all platforms, including multiple public clouds, on-premises data centers and edge locations.
With hybrid cloud, IT teams can reduce complexity through centralized management, increased automation, hardened security, and consistent tools, technologies and processes. IDC says hybrid cloud is becoming the “de facto architecture for enterprise cloud adoption.”
Addressing multi-cloud complexity
The shift to multi-cloud environments has been an ad hoc transition for many organizations, often born out of necessity rather than strategy. The simplicity of buying and utilizing public cloud services led many line-of-business managers, development teams and others to go to the public cloud and get what they wanted, without necessarily including IT.
These “shadow IT” initiatives may have been fine as quick stop-gap solutions to specific business needs, but they create huge organizational challenges, the most common being increased complexity, silos of information and applications, plus increased security risk.
In today’s highly competitive, digitally transforming business world, an ad hoc cloud public strategy is no strategy at all. IT must take control or else face too much complexity and uncertainty. IDC describes a range of huge potential challenges, including:
- Legacy IT infrastructure with no planned approach for modernization.
- An ad hoc collection of point tools for managing cloud environments.
- Management is in-house; there is no external assistance.
- IT investments are heavily weighted to capital expenditures.
- A project-based approach creates silos and inconsistent usage.
Hybrid cloud benefits
Hybrid cloud can address these challenges by providing consistent tools and policies across all clouds, data centers and edge locations. Organizations can leverage pervasive automation and intelligence to reduce the burden on IT teams in handling day-to-day operations, freeing time to work on initiatives that support digital transformation and other innovations.
Additionally, organizations benefit from total visibility across their entire infrastructure, enabling workload optimization. Consistency helps integrate public and private cloud environments, enabling a single application deployment pipeline with unified lifecycle management, according to IDC.
These capabilities cumulatively deliver lower total cost of ownership, higher operational efficiency and faster application deployment cycles—without incremental training or fragmentation of IT infrastructure assets and operations. Specifically, IDC says this results in:
- Better security: A majority of hybrid cloud customers achieve an average improvement of 13% in security and risk reduction.
- Operating cost improvements: A majority of enterprises benefit from lower operating expenses—an average of 11%—as a result of hybrid cloud investments.
- Speed and agility increase: The median enterprise reported a 15% or more reduction in time to market as a result of hybrid cloud investments.
Guidance for IT decision-makers
IDC offers guidance for IT decision-makers on several levels. One level is in how to make the transition to a consistent hybrid cloud model. That is:
- Make a conscious effort to minimize the footprint of traditional IT on-premises infrastructure and instead seek to build a modernized private cloud.
- Design IT infrastructure for scalability, agility and elasticity with a focus on delivering resources instead of products.
- Implement a system to measure investments in modernizing IT for consistent hybrid cloud readiness via metrics related to business outcomes.
- Think beyond the initial investment to organizational and process preparedness and changes.
- Constantly examine IT investments for business suitability and course correction as needed.
The second level is in choosing the right partners to guide you on this journey. IDC encourages IT teams to consider Dell Technologies and VMware to "implement a consistent hybrid cloud and realize their vision for innovation." As described by IDC, the combination of VMware cloud tools and Dell EMC infrastructure "empowers organizations to focus on innovation by cutting costs, increasing employee productivity, delivering innovative products, and enhancing customer experiences all while reducing the complexity of managing multiple clouds."