As enterprises have begun marching to the cloud over the last few years, IT and business managers have discovered a new reality. While the technology rewards and business benefits are overwhelmingly positive, there is one area that isn't so sweet: keeping track of it all.
You see, for most firms (with a complex footprint involving multiple pillars), the transition to cloud is just that; a multi-phase, multi-year journey. It's not someone in the IT control room flipping a switch labeled Cloud and it's complete. The truth is, most enterprises choose a hybrid approach to cloud using solutions that combine on-premises and cloud tools. Even within cloud, companies have the option of public versus private cloud models and the ability to mix-and-match legacy applications with cloud-native apps. A key driver for hybrid cloud comes from the desire to keep applications enabling key competitive differentiators on-premise, while moving traditional back office applications to a public cloud. I discussed these trends in a recent Database Trends and Applications article, “Accelerating Oracle’s Ecosystem: Ever Faster Into the Real-Time Enterprise”and look forward to presenting them in a TCS client panel session at Oracle OpenWorld.
Cloud variations pose difficult choices for global CIOs and business leaders. They like the cost efficiency, scalability and simplicity of public clouds, but also the control, flexibility, reliability and confidence of on-premise or private cloud environments.And so the decision to go hybrid was born.
And with that decision, suddenly a new capability is needed, what Tata Consultancy Services calls Hybrid Cloud Management Services (HCMS). This means managing the growing tangle of contracts, agreements, and licenses that collide in a hybrid environment, particularly when there is a complex application portfolio with a demanding business to manage. But it's not just about paperwork. The technologies themselves have to be integrated and synchronized across hybrid environments, as do business processes.
Several key factors need to be considered by a CIO and business managers when considering management of a hybrid environment, including:
- Security and data protection: These efforts must be spread across on-premises or private cloud to public cloud environments.
- Workload balancing and performance: Business processes need to be integrated across all environments.
- Application release cycle and regression testing: Application release cycles must be synchronized.
- Automation of IT services: Provisioning self-service that provide actionable insights into the health and performance of applications.
- Agility and scalability: Both of these are required for organizations active in M&A and divestures, where rapid development and deployment of complex application blueprints are essential.
- Availability and disaster recovery: Options and service level agreements must be drawn for the complete hybrid architecture.
- Cost management and reporting: The OPEX financial model associated with public cloud and the CAPEX model associated with on-premises call for optimization of total cost of ownership.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Management Services
Enterprises can choose to try and manage hybrid cloud complexity in-house, perhaps by outsourcing some of the components to vendors, but there are strong benefits for those who decide to work with a partner such as a consultant or systems integrator in creating an end-to-end solution.
One of the benefits is speed to innovation. A unified hybrid architecture that is tailored for the customer's ecosystem and dynamically managed delivers automated infrastructure services across private and public clouds with greater speed, agility and scalability while optimizing costs and addressing the risk elements. In such a converged system, workflows and application blueprints transform manual processes into on-demand, automated infrastructure provisioning with management insights and cost transparency.
Without HCMS there is likely a greater risk of agreements lost in the shuffle, integration services not implemented properly or maintenance requirements not enforced. HCMS is essential to delivering all the benefits you should expect.
Finding a HCMS Partner
Hybrid management is a new and quickly evolving discipline, so my first recommendation is to identify partners with a track record. Have they managed multiple heterogeneous hybrid architectures, and for whom? Do they possess the necessary technology skills, people, methodology, and tools? Do they have the ability to extend your current ecosystem with new applications? Is their solution flexible and agile enough to scale up or down as needed by acquisitions or rightsizing?
Hybrid cloud is here to stay
Although the totally cloud-based enterprise might be with us someday, today the reality is that the IT world is not that black and white. Hybrid implementations are still the most popular way for companies to start realizing the benefits of cloud and that situation is not changing anytime soon. That's why hybrid cloud management services will becoming increasingly essential for many years to come.
I will continue to share insights here that take a closer look at the ways we work with companies to help them create speed, agility, and competitive advantage with cloud. I look forward to talking with you in San Francisco at Oracle Open World. Schedule time to meet with TCS' experts at OOW and please share your comments and questions here.