Hybrid

Hybrid cloud is here (and its future is dynamic)

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Sometimes, hybrid cloud just happens. A brand manager buys a new price optimization app that’s delivered as a service. Sales deploys a new mobile app – hosted by a cloud service provider. The IT department builds a private cloud to house a new data warehouse. And without really intending to do so, the organization has gone hybrid. I’m not saying that’s good, but sometimes “things happen.”

As cloud adoption grows, companies have more and more resources—applications, data and services—residing on different platforms. These days, it’s not public versus private. It’s both. It’s cloud and conventional IT.

Hybrid is the new normal. According to IBM Center for Applied Insights research, 61% of surveyed enterprises will have a hybrid environment by the end of this year.

(Click the image below to view the full infographic: The future of cloud is dynamic)

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.34.33 AM

What will businesses make of this new reality?

Some might view this kind of mixed environment as a challenge – more platforms, more complicated, right? (In a recent global survey, 44% of cloud decision makers and users reported that cloud computing introduced greater complexity into their organizations.)

But what if you approached hybrid cloud differently? Not as a challenge, but as a potential source of competitive advantage—a way to use the best resources for the task at hand, a way to connect data and applications to drive new value, a way to respond faster to market changes.

We call this dynamic cloud. It’s having the strategic agility to dynamically consume and deliver cloud-based capabilities  in all forms to adapt to rapidly changing business conditions. For IT managers, it’s a new way of designing and orchestrating IT resources. For business leaders, it opens a new—and growing—set of options for innovation.

Why dynamic cloud trumps hybrid happenstance

A dynamic cloud provides choice and flexibility. Businesses can pick the best application for the job, regardless of delivery platform. Data can be located wherever regulatory or security requirements dictate—while still remaining accessible. Computing workloads are placed where they fit best based on resource availability, operational costs, data location and a host of other factors. And they move when situations change.

A hybrid environment that’s dynamic offers greater capacity and efficiency. At peak usage times, companies can mix dedicated resources with public clouds to provide extra capacity – they don’t have to buy more on one platform when there’s some already paid for on another. For example, businesses may want to quickly tap temporary capacity for big data analytics processing or other high-performance computing needs. Users aren’t aware where the computing happens; they just know their results are coming back faster. Organizations have the same level of visibility, control and automation whether that computing happens on- or off-premises.

Dynamic cloud also brings a new level of integration and composability. Data can be shared seamlessly across platforms. Enterprises can more easily integrate next-generation application platforms—for mobile phones and all sorts of intelligent devices—with their existing systems. By assembling ready-to-use services, on various cloud platforms, enterprises will be able to innovate more rapidly. Launch new digital products and services. Build new apps to engage customers. Capitalize on big data. Even implement new business models. In effect, dynamic cloud powers a composable business—one characterized by restless reinvention, analytics-driven decisions, and speed.

Think strategically

Organizations are rapidly accumulating a diverse portfolio of cloud services – some running on public clouds, others on private. But as they do so, each company faces a strategic question: Will we let hybrid cloud just happen or will we design it to be dynamic?

Hybrid cloud environments offer tremendous potential for business innovation—but that’s unlikely to happen by accident. It requires intentional design. A thoughtful approach. A dynamic cloud.

Director, Portfolio Marketing Strategy, IBM Systems

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