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In the last few years, cloud computing has evolved considerably, motivating CTOs and other IT leaders to rethink their enterprise cloud strategy. They want to modernize their IT environment and shepherd their organizations along a path to digital transformation. Besides reducing costs, they also need to consider whether a cloud infrastructure is efficient and flexible, that it speeds development and deployment of modern applications and that it enables reimagining processes to foster innovation and business opportunities.
We all know that achieving digital transformation isn’t easy. In addition to the quest for speed, flexibility and time to value, many IT leaders see hybrid environments as a means of simultaneously modernizing traditional IT investments while bringing new workloads to market. And enterprises taking this path are beginning to gain momentum. We see that they are mixing public and private clouds as well as leveraging cognitive and cloud technologies to get greater insights. We also see that this traction in hybrid environments is giving employees more opportunities to make business innovation and transformation a reality.
New ways to deliver on business objectives
Deploying a hybrid cloud isn’t just about IT. It is a powerful business enabler. Many organizations are integrating cloud services, open communities and emerging technologies such as cognitive computing, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to maximize business opportunity. They can combine their own on-premises data and processes with public cloud sources of information and services and position themselves to capitalize on deeper insight from cognitive analytics.
As your organization moves forward on its path to digital transformation, one factor in your success will likely be how you use hybrid cloud technology and how you manage your hybrid IT environment. We believe understanding where you’ve come from—and where you are heading—is vital to being competitive and capitalizing on business opportunities.
Five levels for assessing hybrid cloud management
Hybrid cloud is still evolving even as enterprises continue to progress on their hybrid cloud journey. To help organizations gauge their progress, we recommend they assess where they are when it comes to deploying and managing their hybrid cloud based on these five levels:
- Entry: Traditional data center platforms predominate over cloud platforms at the entry level. Management is often ad hoc and involves multiple manual steps. Limited consistency among teams can hinder efficiency. Governance consists of operator-driven backup and recovery.
- Fundamental: At this second level, the organization moves from traditional data center platforms to on-premises clouds. Repeatable management steps or custom team approaches help improve management efficiency, and governance is automated. IT services are catalog-driven with standardized application builds and infrastructure templates.
- Advanced: Hybrid cloud environments with partial self-service capabilities characterize the third level. A self-service catalog of applications and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) enables automated fulfillment across on-premises and public clouds, with governance tiers available as self-service options. Application lifecycle management is based on patterns that work across clouds, and operations are automated through the use of unified tools.
- Optimized: Self-service, automation and consistency across clouds are features of this fourth level. Here, organizations have high visibility into operations with analytics reports, dashboards and accurate chargeback capabilities. Governance is automated and integrated into operational processes, and hybrid DevOps spans public and private clouds.
- Cognitive: Proactive, artificial intelligence (AI)–fueled decision support and automation characterize this top level of hybrid cloud management maturity. Application and infrastructure management is based on cognitive patterns. Cognitive workload placement ensures applications run on optimum cloud-based resources. Operations, DevOps and governance are all cognitive, enhancing service delivery and innovation while reducing risk in complex cloud environments.
Next steps to take in the evolution
Once you have determined what your organization needs to move ahead on your hybrid cloud journey, take the next step by ensuring you have the right infrastructure to reach your goals. Learn why IBM servers deliver the speed and business agility you need for your cloud solutions. And discover how IBM software-defined infrastructure (SDI) solutions are designed to help ensure workloads are serviced automatically by the most appropriate resource running locally, in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment.