Hyperscale cloud is often considered the ultimate solution to meet all IT needs, owing to its ability to conveniently and rapidly scale but a hybrid IT solution may actually be optimal for many businesses. There is a definite place for hyperscale computing and cloud but that place will be different for each organisation and businesses therefore need to understand how these solutions fit within their overall IT strategy.
“Many IT strategies have come of age in a ‘cloud first’ environment,” says Pete Hulme, Data Centre Technical Lead at Dimension Data. “That has served many companies well, and has certainly cemented the position of cloud and hyperscale computing as effective ways of meeting many cost and efficiency challenges. Now, with burgeoning data and applications, companies need to take a wider approach to cloud and their overall IT infrastructures.”
In many cases, a balance is found within a hybrid IT environment of hyperscale, private infrastructure, enterprise cloud, managed services, IT outsourcing, software/platform as a service and infrastructure such as converged and/or hyperconverged platforms. Hybrid cloud solutions combine the best of public and hyperscale cloud with private cloud.
Such a pick-and-mix of technologies can ensure the IT strategy supports the way the business needs to operate but only if companies achieve interconnectivity across all platforms and services. In the hybrid environment, everything needs to work together seamlessly.
“Companies need to remember that technology alone doesn’t advance the business,” explains Hulme. “Processes and operational models must be aligned to business strategy and, enabling this, the hybrid IT solution must interoperate at all levels and not just link disparate technology stacks.”
Cometh the hour, cometh the cloud
The rise of cloud has been inexorable. Worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to reach over $122 billion this year and to grow to over $200 billion by 2020. Cloud has supported the rise of mobile working, big data and the demand for IT cost efficiencies.
Cloud’s suitability for storing larger volumes of data perpetuated the need for self-scaling solutions and hyperscale cloud was born. In the age of big data and with the advent of versatile data storage solutions, businesses began to work more effectively with their data to generate new business opportunities.
Hyperscale cloud meets a number of important challenges, such as the need for speed, the ability to respond rapidly to changing environments and the avoidance of long-drawn out scoping, designing, procurement and implementation processes. It has supported businesses in their drive to improve operational agility and to gain higher levels of visibility into their data.
Not surprisingly, hyperscale service providers are now the driving force behind the growth in global cloud IT infrastructure spend - an expected increase of over 16 percent last year against 2015 according to IDC, and over 62 percent of overall 2016 IT infrastructure spend.
To satisfy new demands on data management, hyperscale’s capabilities of automatically increasing capacity and processing as needs dictate has made for efficient and flexible IT environments. This has been integral to the stratospheric rise of mass data sharing platforms, including those of social media and intelligent search engines and online shopping platforms.
In this way, hyperscale provides a perfect example of technology innovations driving new operations and opening up new possibilities to business. In turn, hybrid IT makes these possibilities available by linking the latest operations into the overall process.
Hybrid IT for highly customised demands
We are entering a post-hyperscale world and it is one where hybrid is quietly establishing its place. Dimension Data reveals that hybrid IT is becoming a standard enterprise model. Kevin Leahy, Senior Vice-president of Dimension Data’s Data Centre Business Unit says: “There’s growing acceptance that technology is hybrid. And it’s not a future state. Hybrid IT has arrived.”
Hyperscale cloud is often assumed to be the most cost-effective solution but this isn’t always the case in every situation. Organisations today have a better understanding of the costs and performance associated with cloud solutions and this is leading them to refine their expectations. Hulme adds: “With the drive to new platforms and new ways of doing business in the digital age, the importance of not only managing cost but also reducing risk and promoting business efficiency and effectiveness is becoming paramount in the CIO/CEO’s agenda.”
Jason Goodall, Dimension Data’s CEO concurs: “With data and processes shifting across multiple cloud and non-cloud environments, a new approach to management is called for. IT managers are under tremendous pressure to seek new ways to manage and secure multiple IT environments in an effective manner.”
Within hybrid infrastructures, private cloud deployments can accommodate specific security needs and individualised response characteristics according to demand, while also setting service levels appropriate to user and application. The pick-and-mix approach of a hybrid IT solution is ideally suited to meet highly customised demands with operational processes supported across all elements of internal and external infrastructure. This is the possibility that truly hybrid IT brings.
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