How — and how quickly — will cloud delivery models become an essential part of IT infrastructure, and what should IT management do to manage through the transition from traditional to hybrid environments? InsightaaS.com has published an HP-sponsored whitepaper that combines a long-term forecast of infrastructure spending in Canada with five tactical steps that will help IT managers to move into the highly-agile, lower-cost future of hybrid cloud.
The Hybrid Momentum: Trends in IT Infrastructure in Canada, 2012-2020 — and what they mean to your IT strategy whitepaper begins with the premise that we are in the midst of a fundamental shift in how computing services are delivered to corporate users, citing application level trends towards renting and orchestrating SaaS offerings and platform migrations arising from IT management’s desire to build from an approach centred on dedicated on-premise hosts to a flexible, responsive compute infrastructure that includes private cloud servers and public cloud IaaS services. To substantiate the momentum towards hybrid, the whitepaper includes a long-term forecast illustrating overall infrastructure spending in Canada, and the extent to which it is shifting to include expenditures on cloud-based resources.
The fundamental drivers of cloud: the competing demands that IT ‘do more with less’ while responding quickly to new requirements — are well understood. What is perhaps less clear is the pace at which this trend is evolving, and the directions that it is taking. The forecast shows how quickly cloud is taking root within IT budgets, while making a second, critical point: cloud is not an ‘on/off’ proposition, but rather, a path that delivers new and different platform options (public, private, and hybrid) to corporate information and technology environments that are becoming more complex, and which will continue to evolve (and increase in complexity) over time.
Research sourced from a landmark December, 2013 survey of Canadian IT and business decision makers by California-based research firm Techaisle adds context to this discussion. One set of findings from the research illustrates the current penetration of private, public, and hybrid cloud — and combinations of public, private and hybrid — within Canadian businesses with 1-999 employees. A second set of findings illustrates the projected penetration of these platforms based on current build-out plans. Results show that all of public, private and hybrid infrastructure will increase, but that configurations will morph over time as businesses look to connect resources to optimize cost and agility benefits. One important implication of the findings is that IT management will make workload-specific determinations on hosting strategies: nearly 20% of Canadian firms will combine multiple cloud hosting strategies within their infrastructures. As Randy Milthorpe of whitepaper sponsor HP says, "Our customers are embedding private cloud in their delivery strategy, and connecting it with on-premise, public and hybrid resources." The research findings substantiate this perspective, with the report stating that while "the dominant cloud deployment model today is private cloud…hybrid penetration [integrating private and public cloud resources] is expected to more than double as a result of current buildout plans, from 19% today to a projected 40% of Canadian businesses with 1-999 employees.
The concluding section of the whitepaper presents "five keys to managing the transition to cloud." The advice offered to IT managers looking to incorporate cloud-based infrastructure into a hybrid environment includes:
- Identify management policies and objectives: understand the extent to which cloud will permeate business operations, the implications of widespread cloud use, and how/where data, applications and users need support in a hybrid world.
- Start within your infrastructure: driving better performance from existing equipment is critical to ‘doing more with less,’ and private cloud allows for enhanced performance from current gear.
- Adopt SaaS within IT: experiment with tools designed to support IT operations (software development, migration/version management, software provisioning/licensing, website management, backup/recovery, IT asset management, scheduling and project management, security, and user experience management) to gain first-hand experience with the benefits and constraints associated with SaaS.
- Expand support for business user activities: work with business managers to identify areas in which automation can provide real dividends, and use the experience gained through internal IT department SaaS deployments to help guide business partners through the selection, deployment and governance associated with new SaaS applications.
- Ensure that management — business unit managers and executives — appreciate the value that IT brings to the cloud: instead of attempting to manage cloud through dictates and support policies, provide value in the form of meaningful guidance throughout the cloud journey.
Hybrid Momentum: Trends in IT Infrastructure in Canada, 2012-2020 — and what they mean to your IT strategy is available at no charge to members of the InsightaaS Preferred Professionals© program. To join the program and obtain a copy of the whitepaper, please click here.