A new special report series, sponsored by Panduit, explores hybrid IT and the colocation industry, and this entry highlights the impacts and evolving relationship between the cloud and the data center.
During the 2019 Data Center World conference, there was a particular question and concern around the impacts of cloud on the enterprise data center. Although the cloud will continue to play a critical role in how we deliver core applications and services, it will not replace data center solutions. This is evident by the types of investments that major cloud providers are making so that their solutions run within your on-premises data center. This is the cloud telling all of us that data locality, application performance, and working with local resources is still significant.
In the most recent AFCOM State of the Data Center report, we saw a significant trend in how organizations are leveraging cloud solutions. Trends are showing that cloud now has a broader meaning that goes beyond just public cloud solutions.
Three in four respondents (72%) report noticing a trend for organizations to move away from public cloud and looking to colocation or private data centers. As mentioned earlier, the definition of private and hybrid cloud is becoming increasingly blurred as major cloud providers (AWS Outposts, for example) are offering their native solutions directly on-premises at a data center site. Currently, 52% of respondents have implanted some type of private cloud solution, and 48% are leveraging some sort of public cloud solution.
The cloud trends with the most impact on respondent organizations include IoT (Internet of Things) growth resulting in more big data (47%), data center operations management (DCOM) tools (42%), and integration with AI, data-driven services, and machine learning (39%).
All of this translates to a better understanding of cloud, and where Hybrid IT makes sense.
Hybrid IT and Cloud — Playing Nicely Together
With a greater understanding of cloud computing, there will also be better integration around Hybrid IT. It’s important to examine where cloud and Hybrid IT join forces to make a difference:
- Both cloud computing and Hybrid IT will leverage multiple geographical disbursements of IT services and resources. This means in a Hybrid IT model, you can leverage on-premise resources as well as cloud to distribute your critical services. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the cloud either. You can specifically focus on delivering cloud-like services from a controlled colocation or data center resource.
- There are a few driving forces when it comes to the adoption of Hybrid IT. One of those is the need to create cost-effectiveness of cloud components such as software-as-a-service and storage-as-a-service. Working with a combination of both cloud and Hybrid IT, you’ll be able to reduce costs while still increasing the flexibility and agility of your organization.
In a Hybrid IT scenario, you can leverage cloud-like delivery models to accomplish data security.
- Another critical driver around Hybrid IT is the need to maintain control of data. Hybrid IT aims explicitly at giving you the most amount of control over where data is being stored. In a Hybrid IT scenario, you can leverage cloud-like delivery models to accomplish data security. So, think of a colocation service that has cloud data services running within. You’re still leveraging a private cloud, but have access to a few cloud data resources you can use. This allows you to keep all of your data internally while using cloud-like services for data optimization.
- A robust Hybrid IT deployment alongside the cloud will simply allow you to respond more quickly to the ever-quickening pace of a digital economy. This means giving your IT department the ability to respond as soon as possible to rapidly changing business needs.
- Hybrid IT, alongside cloud, introduces new cost structures into the enterprise that offer budgetary advantages and allow for greater control of costs.
In a Hybrid IT environment, enterprises can continue to get value out of their existing infrastructure (sometimes legacy) until a technology or business event makes it worthwhile or necessary to replace it with a cloud-based alternative. This can include significant hardware or software upgrades, the need to decommission or consolidate a part of a data center, a fundamental change in business processes, or even a merger and acquisition.
If you’re working with a capable data center partner and you have a good Hybrid IT strategy in place, allowing some of those systems to continue to operate while still being economically feasible can make all the sense in the world. Hybrid IT can act as your gateway into new and emerging technologies by allowing you to adopt those systems at your own pace. And there are significant benefits to making this happen. This includes:
- Security, data integrity, and control: Maintaining control of your data is extremely important. It can become a bit more challenging when the cloud is involved. You will still need to secure your applications, ensure your databases are encrypted, and lock down access. Believe it or not, some of these security practices are not turned on by default when it comes to the cloud. According to statistics by security firm Skyhigh Networks,, as many as 7% of all Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 servers are entirely publicly accessible without any authentication, and 35% are unencrypted. This means administrators need to go into their S3 buckets and enable encryption. Working with Hybrid IT allows you to know what needs to live in the cloud and what doesn’t. This means keeping tabs on all of your applications and the flow of data between cloud and on-premises resources.
- You are bridging legacy into next-generation: In some cases, migrating legacy applications to the cloud may be so daunting that the decision is made to leave them be. It’s in these situations that you may find that the app is still bringing you value, it’s still operating quickly, and it can even help you be agile. Just because it can move to the cloud doesn’t mean it always should. However, Hybrid IT allows you to be on the ready for the time that your business and tech landscape evolve and need to push that resource into the cloud.
- Efficiency, latency sensitivity, and end-user productivity: Not everything belongs in the cloud. This is a big reason why technologies around the edge and distributed computing are proliferating. A good Hybrid IT strategy will take the edge, your data center, your colocation partner, and the cloud all into consideration. Most of all, it’ll allow you to ease into new concepts like edge without having to dump all of your workloads there all at once.
- Compliance, governance, and risk mitigation: Hybrid IT models allow you to move data, whether legacy or modern, at your own pace. Geopolitical challenges, as well as geographical distribution of resources, can all prove to be challenging with working with a cloud-only model. However, Hybrid IT allows you to leverage existing systems, even if they’re legacy, alongside more modern solutions. Again, unlike a hybrid cloud scenario, Hybrid IT will enable you to leverage cloud-like services to continue to use your existing systems while still planning for the future.
To get started, many organizations are turning to providers of retail colocation data centers, hosted colocation data centers, and cloud-based facilities.
To create a Hybrid IT approach, you have to take a step back and understand how it applies to your business. And you’ll need to understand:
- How you can achieve better control costs
- How you can improve service level agreements
- What an actual Hybrid IT model looks like
To get started, many organizations are turning to providers of retail colocation data centers, hosted colocation data centers, and cloud-based facilities. Most of all, they’re turning to partners that are both cloud and edge-ready. To that extent, here’s what you need to know to develop a Hybrid IT mindset.
Catch up on the first entry in the special report series, and over the next few weeks, we will also explore the following topics:
- Designing Your Own Hybrid IT Approach
- What’s New? How Data Centers are Leveraging Hybrid IT
- Hybrid IT Partners Aim to Improve Cloud, Edge, Data Center Deployments
Download the full report, Hybrid IT – Supporting Critical Initiatives During a Journey to Digital Modernization,” to explore further how hybrid computing is fueling the data center industry.