Ever wonder what the fuss is all about with hybrid IT? It seems like there’s always something new and exciting (and expensive and confusing) to consider with your IT environment. Buzz words abound, recommendations from various vendors flood in, but with so much to review, it can be difficult to discern what the right mix of cloud and on-premise storage should be for you. Read on!
Scalability and cost: on-premise versus cloud
A lot of organizations run all applications and servers on-premise, offering a sense of control and comfort because all of their assets are literally under the same roof. Conversely, some organizations prefer having their entire IT infrastructure on the cloud, as doing so provides agility and ensures the ability to quickly scale up or down depending on business need.
Scaling on-prem configurations can be challenging. When you need to expand your configuration, you need to acquire more disk than you need upfront and have it sitting idle, leading many to “hoard” space that they may not ultimately use. This can be wasteful and expensive. To expand your on-prem configuration you need to acquire more disk as you need it, meaning that you are buying, running and setting up as you go, all the while ensuring you have space available in your racks. This approach can hinder your ability to easily adapt based on the evolving needs of your business.
By contrast, scaling your cloud environment is easy and quick, but it can also be expensive. Often organizations are paying for more space than they actually need. As with online streaming services like Netflix, sometimes once you sign up and start paying you forget about it. Or in the cloud world, if you have added more storage here and there, you lose sight of what you have and what you’re spending. This can be a challenge to estimate or manage ongoing costs of your cloud, because there’s no capital expenditure at the onset like there is for on-premise environments.
Managing your IT infrastructure requires work regardless of whether you’re on-prem or the cloud. On-prem configurations can require a lot of time and resources to effectively manage – the administrative work to maintain the environment, ensuring all security patches are up to date, all equipment is running as it should, and that you have the capacity you need to support core business. And with your in-house IT team doing the heavy lifting for your on-prem, it can result in less bandwidth to support other business initiatives – like a new app or service the organization needs to deliver. When third-party providers are brought in to fulfill an immediate business need, it can sometimes lead to a mishmash of IT bits and pieces without appropriate corporate governance, oversight and security, ultimately putting the organization at risk.
Managing cloud environments can be equally labour-intensive and daunting for many organizations. Once you’re in the cloud it can be difficult to keep track of your costs and overall environment when you add a bit here and there, especially if you have a multi-cloud environment using multiple providers. Oftentimes the tools to understand your cloud environment and help ensure ongoing health and wellness of your configuration can be complicated. Indeed, many cloud providers have different tools so it can be difficult to get a holistic view of your overall cloud environment – and even more so if it’s hybrid, as you need to understand what is going on in the cloud and on-prem.
Hybrid IT offers the best of both worlds
Hybrid IT is a framework that offers the best of both worlds for on-premise and cloud configurations: you can shift various workloads to the cloud – those that require scalability, for example – while keeping the core business applications in-house or on-prem. The hybrid approach also provides agility within your IT infrastructure so you can react quickly to business needs. You can also automate core functions – like running scripts to ensure your patching is always updated – to free-up resources, and swiftly scale up or down your cloud storage based on what your organization needs today… and tomorrow.
Leveraging the cloud in combination with on-prem means your IT team can be more responsive and spend their time where it’s needed most (hint: it’s not on administrative tasks). They’re available to support staff and implement new apps or services that drive your business forward. It also means greater security and lower risk because you can automate patching and updating of your cloud applications, alleviating the heavy lifting from your IT resources while mitigating risk.
Because a hybrid model uses both cloud and on-prem, you don’t have to choose between keeping strategic data and workloads close by and the immediate scalability of cloud.