A new special report series explores hybrid IT and the colo industry. This entry in the series provides a clear step-by-step approach to a hybrid IT approach “done right”.
- Partner with a company that will drive digital transformation and IT modernization. You’re not looking for a technology vendor or a manufacturer that can promise you the stars. You want a partner that deeply understands both your technology and your business goals. Some partners will scoff at Hybrid IT models and will want to simply “rip off the bandage” – in some cases forcing you into an ecosystem you might not be ready for. A good technology partner can help you build a reliable and efficient physical infrastructure that delivers service reliability and cost-effective solutions for your Hybrid IT initiatives.
- Map out your entire business, technology systems, and all. One of the biggest downfalls of Hybrid IT is hidden pieces of the technology landscape or a misaligned business initiative. If you have a Hybrid IT ecosystem or want to deploy one, ensure that all stakeholders are at the table when you discuss the solution. Skeptics and people who don’t support your approach may not understand what you’re trying to do or what their role would be in a Hybrid IT state. Business champions will be just as crucial in creating a Hybrid IT approach as the technologies supporting it all.
- Legacy is not your enemy, but you need to be aware of it and plan around it. There’s a reason why IBM AS400 systems are still in operation. They work, they don’t break, and they support large organizations and vast use cases. In many cases, they’re seen as legacy solutions, but this doesn’t make them your mortal enemy. You can have a legacy system that’s still operating and bringing you value, but there may come a time when you need to move off of these systems. Hybrid IT is specifically designed to make that transition much more manageable. Leveraging cloud-ready Hybrid IT partners help you create a roadmap to the future and how to work with legacy systems effectively.
- Small steps into the future include incorporating converged systems, higher levels of density, and cloud utilization. A Hybrid IT design must continuously look at ways to optimize operations and improve overall efficiency. This is why leaders must regularly examine architectural pieces that will help them get ahead. For example, you may work with a technology partner that offers a family of converged infrastructure solutions for colocation and cloud hosting providers that include hardware, software, and services. When it comes to Hybrid IT, this can help you develop a positive path forward for your business to cost-effectively support and adapt to evolving technologies and changing business demands. Further, these solutions can help improve productivity by accelerating data center deployment tasks and enabling intelligent management of data center assets; for both legacy and modern systems.
- Geography and distributed users will play a role in how you deploy Hybrid IT. Your data, applications, and services are more dispersed than ever before. This is why you need to work with a partner who can help you address common edge issues like consistency between deployments, reliability, remote installation, monitoring and management, and security. Hybrid IT does not have to slow down edge deployments. If anything, your partner can provide both a Hybrid IT framework while still supporting edge deployments.
- Create a data management and migration plan. Outside of mapping out your applications and services, you need to understand your data requirements, how they’ll be growing, and how you leverage data today. A significant driver around Hybrid IT is maintaining control of your data and how it gets distributed. The underlying physical infrastructure can have a significant impact on the performance, efficiency, and reliability of your data center and the information it processes. As you take on your Hybrid IT and future initiatives, take into consideration essential infrastructure elements, how the information will be processed and stored, and what your partner can do to increase both security and resiliency of your data.
- It’s not all about the cloud, but you’ll need to plan for the journey. The cool part about Hybrid IT is the ability to work with the environment that just right for your apps and services. That said, even if the cloud isn’t an option for you today, there’s a chance that it might be soon. Hybrid IT is about the freedom to select the right environment based on your specific requirements. Need to stay on-premise because of data sovereignty? Or, maybe scaling out a particular service or application just doesn’t make sense in the cloud? Working with a good partner that understands both Hybrid IT and the underlying physical ecosystem is essential. Look for partners that offer a comprehensive portfolio of cloud computing solutions and advisory services that take aim at the key physical infrastructure characteristics that impact cloud performance. This enables organizations to focus on the intricacies of growing their business instead of the complexity of their cloud infrastructure while minimizing risk.
- Work to minimize risk, security issues, and complexity. The last thing you want to do is introduce higher levels of complexity and fragmentation into your existing environment. If what you’re doing feels complex, or is making you spend more time manually managing systems, pause for a second and take a step back. Hybrid IT, when done right, is an enabler for digital transformation, not an inhibitor. A good partner can help you create a design as well as a pathway into the future where your existing operations remain smooth and uncluttered.
- Always involve your people. The best Hybrid IT approaches will include champions from all parts of the company. This can include someone in marketing using a specific application (possibly running on a legacy part of your business) to your facility operations teams that monitor and manage your cloud-ready ecosystem. They’ll all have a say in how to make the deployment and management of your Hybrid IT platform far more efficient.
- Challenge your partners and suppliers to ensure they can help you grow and evolve. When working with Hybrid IT, you can run into challenges and issues. If you’re working with a partner, be sure to challenge their capabilities and ensure they can meet your demands. This means working with a partner who can help you facilitate the journey to a cloud-enabled data center, depending on your focus. Are they able to better help you with asset tracking in a Hybrid IT ecosystem? Ask them for a use case. Or, maybe they promise you a reduction around deployment times. Be sure to ask them for some real-world metrics and examples. Working on modernization projects can be challenging enough. A good partner can make that entire process far more straightforward. But, it’ll be up to you to ensure your partner can meet your technology and business goals.
Hybrid IT doesn’t have to be complicated unless you somehow design it that way.
Finally, you’ll need to put this all together. There is no single blueprint for becoming a Hybrid IT environment. However, there are good approaches and best practices. One crucial factor to consider is that Hybrid IT acts as a bridge into the future. However, you never really want to stop on the bridge and admire the view. It’ll get old pretty quickly. The goal of Hybrid IT is to help you create that bridge into cloud and modernization and also to help you cross it.
Hybrid IT doesn’t have to be complicated unless you somehow design it that way. But, to make sure you get it right, working with a good partner that is experienced in Hybrid IT strategies that encompass edge, cloud, colocation, and on-premises solutions can go a long way. It’s these types of partners that help facilitate your journey into the cloud, while still providing underlying systems capable of handling a wide variety of Hybrid IT requirements.
- What’s New? How Data Centers are Leveraging Hybrid IT
- Hybrid IT Partners Aim to Improve Cloud, Edge, Data Center Deployments
Download the full report, Hybrid IT – Supporting Critical Initiatives During a Journey to Digital Modernization,“ to explore further how hybrid computing is fueling the data center industry.