Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Don MacVittie

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, @DXWorldExpo

@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
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix 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. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.