Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Larry Alton, Shelly Palmer

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

The Future Is Hybrid: Seven Paths to Get to the Cloud By @GerardoDada | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Hybrid IT means connecting cloud – whether SaaS or cloud native – with anything on-premises

If you work in IT, you're likely bombarded with vendor messaging about the cloud. Yes, understanding the cloud is a requirement for all technology professionals, but it may seem that the cloud is all anyone is talking about these days. And right or wrong, many IT departments are even adopting a cloud-first mentality.

Now, we do believe the cloud is the future of IT, but - and this is a big but - it's not for everything. The cloud is like using a rental car: quick and cheap, but a Hertz is not the ideal mode of transportation to get to the office every day. In other words, the cloud isn't the best solution for all workloads.

On the other hand, there is the fact that what we today call "on-premises" often refers to a virtualized environment in a colocation facility, which actually sounds very cloudy to me. Furthermore, Amazon and Rackspace now offer dedicated servers by the minute. The fact they are not shared violates one of the essential characteristics of a cloud service according to the NIST definition.

My point is that it's highly unlikely the majority of IT organizations will move entirely to the cloud, and that the lines between what is and what is not cloud are blurring.

The fact is, the future of IT is hybrid.

Defining Hybrid IT
There are various definitions for hybrid IT, but for our purposes here, we'll use Forrester's simple definition: Hybrid IT means connecting cloud - whether SaaS or cloud native - with anything on-premises; even if the connection is simply for verifying credentials or transferring business data.

With this definition in hand, you can see that nearly every business today is hybrid to at least some degree, and regardless of where they're at in cloud adoption, more is coming. The key question is how that happens - the term cloud describes a group of technologies that can be used in different ways. Let's explore the seven ways an IT organization can progress down the cloud pathway.

The Seven Models of Hybrid IT Adoption

  • Do nothing: Even if you "do nothing," you will still have a hybrid IT environment. Nearly every organization uses SaaS applications such as DropBox, Salesforce, Confluence, Office 365 or HubSpot. In fact, most marketing departments alone use 30 to 70 SaaS cloud applications, and most can be monitored by services such as Pingdom from the cloud.
  • Private cloud: Most organizations will transform their internal IT departments to look like a private cloud - an elastic, software provisioned and measured service. Some companies will go the virtualization route, while others will implement an actual private cloud platform like OpenStack. The difference between these will be very small to none when it comes to how much they resemble a true cloud.
  • Test/Dev in the cloud: Test/QA and development environments are notorious for their infrastructure requirements and ephemeral nature, which make them a natural fit for the cloud. This is usually the first step in taking advantage of the cloud because it's limited risk and high in benefits. It's also a great way for development teams to build experience with cloud technologies.
  • Cloudify existing applications: Cloudifying means moving components of applications or workloads to the cloud. For example, most Web applications should be storing images, large files and videos in the cloud where they can enjoy the benefits of a CDN and get the load of Web servers. Another common practice is to move DR/HA sites to the cloud where they can be remotely activated in minutes and deployed in multiple geographies without having to deal with multiple datacenters or colocation facilities.
  • Lift and shift: Once an application has been developed and tested in the cloud, and perhaps its DR site also hosted in the cloud, it might make sense to move the main application to the cloud, too. The term lift and shift implies there are no major architectural changes, and that the cloud is being used almost as an extension of hosting. During this process, it's not uncommon to also cloudify some components of a workload, such as using a CDN, as explained before, or using a Database as a service (DBaaS) instead of a full database instance on a dedicated cloud server.
  • New project in the cloud: Often times, IT needs to replace an application with a new one. During this process, it's a good idea to think about starting the new application in the cloud. Let's say an IT department is replacing an internal portal and collaboration tool with the latest version of SharePoint. It would be smart to evaluate how such a workload could run in the cloud. These projects are usually line of business applications that maintain their traditional architecture. In this sense, they are similar to lift and shift applications, except there is no migration process; it's a new application replacing an existing one.
  • Cloud first apps: Cloud-first applications are those developed specifically to run in the cloud and architected to take advantage of cloud services. They embrace service orientation, APIs, software-provisioned hardware and built-in redundancy. These often use "modern" languages and frameworks, such as JavaScript/HTML5, NGINX, Perl, etc., and open source components, such as NoSQL databases. The development teams behind them usually embrace DevOps principles and implement continuous development and continuous integration. An example is a SaaS company with a system that dynamically provisions servers based on customer load. These servers can be provisioned on a public or private cloud based on resource availability and cost in seconds without any human intervention.

What Is the Right Path for Your Organization?
There is no one-size-fits-all path to the cloud for every IT organization. The decision will need to be made based on the specific requirements, variability and growth forecast of each workload. Most likely, the average IT department will end up with a mix of these seven deployment models. However, there are a couple things that apply across the board:

  • Have a hybrid cloud mindset: Independently of the architecture of the application and the logo outside the building where one's servers reside, a cloud mindset is important. DevOps and the cloud have implemented new practices, tools and processes that bring benefits to development and IT operations in general. These can be defined as a cloud mindset, which can be summarized in seven key principles, as defined in detail here.
  • Build a roadmap: The smart thing to do for any IT department is to build a roadmap to develop the knowledge needed to make smart decisions when it comes to cloud, even if the decision is to do nothing. For IT management, it is important to build a roadmap to build knowledge, to implement some of these principles of cloudy thinking and then to build a cloud adoption roadmap based on a workload by workload evaluation that considers requirements, potential upside, costs and urgency.

Welcome to the world of Hybrid IT.

More Stories By Gerardo A Dada

Gerardo A Dada is Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy for SolarWinds’ database and applications business globally. He is a technologist who has been at the center of the Web, mobile, social and cloud revolutions at companies like Rackspace, Microsoft, Motorola, Vignette and Bazaarvoice. He has been involved with database technologies from dBase to BTrieve to SQL Server and NoSQL and DBaaS in the cloud.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
Cloud-based disaster recovery is critical to any production environment and is a high priority for many enterprise organizations today. Nearly 40% of organizations have had to execute their BCDR plan due to a service disruption in the past two years. Zerto on IBM Cloud offer VMware and Microsoft customers simple, automated recovery of on-premise VMware and Microsoft workloads to IBM Cloud data centers.
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
Your clients expect transactions to never fail, cloud access to be fast and always on, and their data to be protected - no exceptions. Hear about how Secure Service Container (SSC), an IBM-exclusive open technology, enables secure building and hosting of next-generation applications, both cloud and on-premises. SSC protects the full stack from external and insider threats, allows automatic encryption of data in-flight and at-rest, and is tamper-resistant during installation and runtime – with no...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. B2Cloud specializes in IoT devices for preventive and predictive maintenance in any kind of equipment retrieving data like Energy consumption, working time, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp em...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Suzuki Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Suzuki Inc. is a semiconductor-related business, including sales of consuming parts, parts repair, and maintenance for semiconductor manufacturing machines, etc. It is also a health care business providing experimental research for...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...