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CTOs, IT leaders and business executives face a variety of infrastructure options for cloud-based solutions. To gain some perspective into how business leaders envision the role of a hybrid cloud as they transform and embrace the needs of a digital economy, we spoke recently with Jo Peterson, Vice President of Cloud Services at Clarify360. Peterson’s company is a highly respected boutique consultancy, and one of its areas of specialty is cloud enablement.
Q: What are your clients asking you about hybrid cloud these days?
A: They want to know how they can use cloud in the most efficient way to help them compete. To answer that question, we begin by assessing where they are in their cloud journey. For many of them, hybrid cloud makes a lot of sense.
Q: For CTOs concerned about keeping their organizations competitive, what can hybrid cloud do for them?
A: It’s about the agility, flexibility and time to revenue cloud provides. As more companies embrace the needs of a digital economy, application development cycles are under intense pressure. Imagine if a big retail organization took months to update its global mobile app. It would see a hefty decline in revenue. And it’s not just organizations engaged in e-commerce. New business models are forcing companies of all kinds to move to a more agile methodology.
Hybrid cloud environments enable them to speed up the innovation process to meet new business demands. Many companies are adopting a cloud-forward strategy with a DevOps philosophy behind it. They realize that a hybrid cloud is the platform that will move their projects forward faster than ever.
Q: Many organizations see value in trusting their mission-critical applications and data to mainframe environments and are in fact expanding their use of those systems. What do you tell them?
A: That’s where hybrid cloud becomes an answer, because it allows organizations to use both cloud services and on-premises infrastructure at the same time. An organization can integrate systems of engagement on a public cloud with core mainframe applications and data on premises or in a mainframe private cloud. That integration allows the business to enhance and innovate using new cloud services while ensuring consistent high performance.
Q: Mainframes such as IBM z Systems are known for their strong security. How do you open mainframe applications and data to new services while preserving that security?
A: It comes down to providing the right level of trust for each situation. Businesses often have a web portal where you can look up information such as locations and business hours. That portal can go in the public cloud, but anything associated with viewing a customer’s account information, performing transactions or accessing medical records calls for a secure cloud environment; otherwise, that information might be better kept on premises. The organization can segment access to the data, providing different URLs depending on the customer activity and the security requirements associated with it. That’s the beauty of hybrid environments.
Q: Are multicloud environments a good option for companies? Are there any special considerations?
A: Companies typically have certain applications on certain clouds for specific reasons. I’ve been advising IT organizations to do three things: first, take an inventory of all the clouds being used in the company—the number may be more than they think. Second, get a tool for monitoring that multicloud environment. Depending on the tool, it enables them to handle anything from simple charge-back and show-back to optimizing the various clouds. And third, look for team members with cloud knowledge, and get them cloud-certified on the organization’s chosen platform.
Q: How can IT leaders smooth the way forward as their organization moves to a hybrid cloud environment, extends core data to new applications or otherwise implements digital transformation?
A: I remind my clients that these changes are not only technological shifts, they are also cultural transformations. The really visionary IT leaders are communicating their strategy through everything from group meetings to the company newsletter. They are getting buy-in from their peers across the organization and helping them see IT as a service broker rather than a bottleneck. To do that, IT leaders need to ask themselves what they are doing to automate processes and decrease bureaucracy. For example, as they move to hybrid cloud, they have an opportunity to make IT more self-service for the user.
Are you ready to make your organization a differentiator? Discover how using hybrid clouds on mainframe systems helps to rapidly introduce new apps and innovate services for partners, clients and employees.