The truth about hybrid cloud – where we are, where we want to be

For several years now industry analysts, technology vendors, and service providers alike have hyped the adoption of cloud computing. And the latest conversations are saturated with talk of hybrid cloud models, platforms, tools, API’s, etc. While the growth in cloud has been tremendous, adoption is not universal within IT in large and mid-size organizations. Specifically, enterprises have frequently been slow to migrate business critical applications to cloud. Furthermore, research indicates the cloud adoption maturity-level is often simply overstated. The use of core cloud technologies, namely virtualization, has matured for most; however, using virtualization in the data center does not mean a company has truly deployed a (private) cloud. So to help us understand where we really are on the path to hybrid cloud we should first carefully examine where we are today.

where are we now?

We can clearly say select business processes and IT workloads are readily being enabled by the cloud, and cloud adoption is no longer just about consumer driven apps or relegated to test and development platforms. Nonetheless, it’s important we recognize that for most companies the journey to fully embracing and harnessing the power of the cloud paradigm has only just begun. 72 percent of CIOs report that they are not realizing the full business potential of cloud nor have their most business critical apps migrated to the cloud. 

Recent research by a leading analyst firm found that only 13 percent of enterprise organizations that claim to have a private cloud actually have a “true” private cloud – the big majority, the remaining 87 percent, don’t include key elements like an end-user self-service portal, integrated infrastructure orchestration & automation, or metered usage for chargeback/showback for example. What this means in practice is that the vast majority of IT departments are still working to deploy a cloud model; they are looking to move beyond the use of cloud-enabling technologies to truly implementing private cloud services.

With the private cloud deployment still in a maturing state for most, the hybrid cloud aspirations for unified management across multiple cloud platforms and services are still just that…aspirational.

where do we want to be?

What is also changing rapidly is the type of cloud enablement that business needs. Just 3 percent of CIO’s say that critical apps are sourced via the cloud today – but this will grow rapidly to 55 percent by 2020. Organizations need more flexible computing solutions that give them the necessary agility to thrive but that also deliver security sufficient for peace of mind and safety of sensitive data – meeting their corporate governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) requirements. 

Most IT decision-makers are embracing the hybrid cloud value proposition; a service model that brings together the benefits of both public and private cloud services. Hybrid cloud represents the solution framework that is more than just a compromise, it is the proverbial win-win scenario that delivers on the needs to meet business demands and yet allows IT to maintain the GRC controls they are required to support.

Gartner forecasts that nearly 50 percent of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud in place by the end of 2017, while Forrester maintains, “there will likely be very few private clouds that don't have a hybrid component”. The reality is that most IT departments are working to implement a hybrid cloud model at some level; and those that have not yet started this phase of their cloud journey will soon join the club.

so what?

Ultimately, the intent of this blog is about encouraging a shift in thinking. The 87 percent of companies that currently “think” they have a private cloud need to make the move to actually having a private cloud. The next step from there is to continue the evolution – moving into policy-based automation, delivering cross platform operational consistency, enabling data and workload portability, and more; all to the point where IT is enabling their customers in an ITaaS model. It’s no longer merely about building and buying cloud computing platforms, system, and applications; but about bringing it all together – unifying and simplifying – under a hybrid model. 

The reality is that every enterprise should be actively looking to move towards the hybrid cloud ITaaS model…it is quickly becoming the de facto ‘new normal’ for IT. So, where are you on this journey to hybrid cloud?

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Jay Stephens
Jay Stephens

Jay is the IoT practice lead for Orange Business Americas and has been bringing business-enabling technology solutions to some of the world’s largest enterprises for over 25 years. His focus for the past seven years has been servicing the automotive sector and the connected products market. Outside of work, Jay is a devoted husband and father and enjoys spending time with his wife and six children.