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Saturday, April 4, 2017

36 Shades of Hybrid IT

36 Shades of Hybrid IT
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Everyone has heard of the 50 Shades of Grey. But do you know the “36 Shades of Hybrid IT”? These shades are a new way of describing the 36 point solutions across a hybrid IT environment. Enterprises looking to transform the way information technology is leveraged should evaluate their options by analyzing a transition across three specific high-level domains and their relevant sub-domains, namely:
  • IT Implementation Model
    • Traditional
    • Managed Service Provider
    • Cloud Service Provider
  • Technology Service Model
    • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
    • Platform-as-a-Service
    • Software-as-a-Service
  • Deployment Model
    • Private
    • Hybrid
    • Community
    • Public

Combinatorically (3 IT Models x 3 Service Models x 4 Deployment Models = 36 options) these components are used to identify the “36 Shades of Hybrid IT”. These domains and sub-domain outline a structured decision process that aims to place the right workload into the most appropriate IT environment.  It is also important to note that this is not a static decision. As business goals, technology options and economic models changes, the relative value of these combinations to your organization may change as well. Another critical truth is that the single point solutions identified by this model are rarely sufficient to meet all enterprise needs so a mix of two, three or as many as 10 variations of these specific point solutions may be required.  This is why hybrid IT and cloud service brokerage are such important skillsets to the modern information technology team.

The IT Implementation domain addresses, at a high level, the three implementation strategy options most companies look at when digital transformation is the goal:
  • Continue a status quo strategy that uses a traditional enterprise data center to address requirements;
  • Select and contract with a managed service provider (MSP) by running a traditional acquisition that dictates requirements and operational processes through the RFP/bid process; or
  • Satisfy requirements through the use of standard offerings from one (or more) cloud service provider (CSP).

The primary drivers in an implementation model selection is enforcement of enterprise IT governance processes (status quo and MSP option) or acceptance of CSP IT governance processes (CSP option). These choices are also strongly influenced by capital investment plans and long-term business model changes. Decisions within the Technology Service Model domain should typically reflect staff skillsets and training targets. IaaS reflects the broadest range of skillsets and training requirements.  It also delivers the greatest amount of flexibility and choice. The other end of the spectrum is represented by SaaS which demands the minimum level of technical staff but may also act as guardrails to your business processes and models. Overall control of data security and technology choices are reflected by deployment model preferences. In the Private model, the organization retains absolute control over all aspects of the information technology platform. Choosing this option, however, would also lead to the highest levels of capital and staffing investments. Public sits at the other extreme, requiring strategic alignment with the cloud service provider in exchange for lower capital and staffing investment requirements. Hybrid and Community deployment options lie between these extremes and usually offer unique operational and economic capabilities.

Your digital transformation team should discuss and debate what these “36 Shades of Hybrid IT” mean for your company’s future. The team should also avoid leaving these important decisions to opinions and guesswork. Comparisons and options should be considered using real data. This is where tools like IBM Cloud Brokerage can be important to your digital transformation efforts. Organizations should carefully consider which business applications should be migrated to which “shade”. While some apps run best on traditional, physical servers, others are cloud-ready, but need the security of private clouds or enterprise-grade public clouds. There are even other applications where lower-priced commodity clouds will prove to be a viable and money-saving option.  In addition to migration plans and cloud choices, the best hybrid IT strategies also take into account provisioning of the necessary migration skills and technology management capabilities. After deciding the target environment for each of your business processes, the team may still need to do some application re-architecting.

If you and your team are dealing with Digital Transformation, a cloud brokerage platform can help by using real data to profile your workloads. It will also enable data-driven decisions on best-fit architectures, technology choices and deployment models. In addition, these platforms aid organizations in designing production solutions and in estimating costs before transformation even begins.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit ITBizAdvisor.

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