Modern glass high rise business building in clouds

The Pros and Cons of Enterprise Hybrid Cloud IT Solutions

7 Sep 2016 by Shay Moser

Forward-thinking Chief Information Officers (CIOs) were some of the first to see the value of cloud computing IT solutions when it first came to market almost a decade ago. And for a time, many pundits predicted cloud was the future; that it was only a matter of time before the traditional data center yielded to a brave new “cloud-only” world of IT.

Progressive CIOs were also among the first to identify the inherent complications of this new cloud model, including the risk of entrusting corporate resources to a public cloud, integration with existing infrastructure assets and design, and concerns with monitoring and operational requirements, among others.

That’s why we’re seeing these days that cloud is not entirely replacing on-premises infrastructure. Enterprise environments are typically so multifaceted that hybrid cloud business IT — where private, public and on-premises architecture supports a single application — is ideal.

Security, scalability and speed are top advantages of enterprise cloud IT solutions.

Most CIOs and organizations support cloud computing for their range of benefits. According to a study conducted by Clutch, “cloud infrastructure’s proactive monitoring and response systems are a boon when it comes to keeping data safe.” Other top advantages of cloud computing, include scalability, speed and increased efficiency.

Top 3 benefits of cloud computing

A 2015 Goldman Sachs report proves enterprises believe in these benefits and are investing in cloud IT solutions, as public cloud and software infrastructure seized 5% of enterprise IT spending last year. And it’s expected to take 11% in 2018. The firm projects cloud data center and platform investments increasing to $43 billion by 2018.

The Goldman report said, “The enterprise IT market is in year six or seven of a 20-plus year cloud computing cycle that will upend traditional suppliers of IT hardware and software. Server virtualization and Software as a Service (SaaS) have been the first two phases of the cycle. The third will be cloud platforms for enterprise computing.”

Cloud Disrupting Traditional IT

Cisco’s Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018 complements the Goldman report findings, predicting that by 2018, 28% of the total cloud workloads will be Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and 13% will be Platform as a Service (PaaS).

SaaS most highly deployed global cloud service by 2018

Resource and skill deficits are top disadvantages of enterprise cloud IT solutions.

While the cloud is obviously becoming an essential journey for enterprise IT leaders to undertake, the path can be unclear and strewn with pitfalls.

“Nearly 70% of large companies said network infrastructure — including moves into the cloud — needs to be improved,” according to our Insight Intelligent Technology Index, which surveyed more than 400 IT professionals with decision-making responsibilities.

A comprehensive Right Scale study found in their “2016 State of the Cloud Survey” that fund and talent shortages are the main reasons enterprises haven’t migrated to the cloud, followed by security apprehensions (27%) and compliance (26%), as well as several additional issues.

Cloud challenges 2016 vs 2015

Hybrid cloud allows enterprises to enjoy the best of public-private architectures.

These days, the cloud vision is more defined, and it has become increasingly clear that the optimized design is an integrated public-private cloud. That’s because hybrid clouds represent the best of both worlds: combining the immediate availability and elastic scalability of the public cloud with the security, compliance and control available in an on-premise, highly automated infrastructure.

"Numerous IDC surveys indicate growing interest among enterprise customers to cloud deployments across multiple IT domains," said Natalya Yezhkova, research director for IDC’s Storage Systems service. "End users often cite the agility of IT infrastructure and economic reasons as drivers for cloud adoption, but we also expect that the proliferation of next-generation applications born and run in the cloud will fuel its further growth."

IT infrastructure market forecast chart

“Building an app that spends its entire life in the same public cloud is the ideal cloud application model,” according to Forrester’s report “The State of the Cloud: Migration, Portability, and Interoperability, Q4 2015.” “Stepping outside of this model is more realistic, but it presents challenges for I&O [Infrastructure and Operations] professionals. The cloud conversation often centers on connectivity and movement of apps, increasing interest in open-source tooling to bypass aspects of vendor lock-in, excitement around containers or API management.”

The Forrester report scores the maturity of each interoperability and migration category so you can make the informed decision of whether to migrate apps to the cloud. However, the more important question should be, “What else will I gain besides security, compliance and protection of Internet Protocol (IP)?”

Enterprises get a bonus benefit from the hybrid cloud approach.

A hybrid approach also provides CIOs and IT leaders with an architectural foundation for becoming a Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB). According to Gartner, CSB “is an IT role and business model in which a company or other entity adds value to one or more (public or private) cloud services on behalf of one or more consumers of that service via three primary roles, including aggregation, integration and customization brokerage.”

Cloud services brokerage definition

Basically, the internal CSB role is an extension of the current enterprise IT department as it evolves to function similar to cloud providers and manage hybrid cloud. But the benefits of turning over management of the technical aspects of internal and external business IT both increases the perception of IT as a strategic partner and influences IT in the organization.

For instance, the internal CSB role allows the IT department to proactively address the needs that have driven the growth of shadow IT. This is done by building their own agility and self-service capabilities that are similar to the public cloud, thus reducing a primary driver for disparate business units’ need to consume public cloud services outside of approved channels.

Adopting a CSB strategy gives organizations the ability to orchestrate business processes across the enterprise as the single point of transparency, accountability, sourcing and governance control. This means unified security, auditing and policy enforcement for internal and external resource providers; license management; cost management; and a services catalog for private and public cloud services, to name a few.

Read our whitepaper, “7 Best Practices for the Hybrid Cloud Journey,” to learn more about how to fully benefit from a public-private infrastructure.