The right IT infrastructure is hybrid

By | 3 minute read | March 4, 2020

From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders to share their opinions and insights on current technology trends on the IBM Systems IT Infrastructure blog. The opinions in these posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM.

Gartner forecasts worldwide public cloud revenue will grow 17 percent in 2020[1]. While it’s clear that cloud is still being rapidly adopted, on premises and private cloud are growing as well. My team and I see this on a daily basis as we visit with enterprise clients.

To quantify this information and measure its impact, IBM recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate how organizations develop and implement their IT infrastructure strategies. Forrester conducted an online survey of 350 global enterprise IT decision makers across industries to explore this topic.

There are several key findings in The Key to Enterprise Hybrid Multicloud Strategy study which Forrester Consulting produced on behalf of IBM. One finding is that “on-premises infrastructure is key to enterprise hybrid cloud strategy. Enterprises are making strategic decisions about what types of IT infrastructure to use for which purposes — and on premises continues to play a key role, with 90 percent of IT decision makers agreeing that on-premises infrastructure is a critical part of their hybrid cloud strategies.”

What this data is telling us is that there is a business case for a solid hybrid cloud strategy. Every cloud journey is a bit different, but the common thread is that the business needs to continue to operate without a glitch.

Foundationally where they start in the journey is important.  Oftentimes, the starting point is an assessment of the existing on-premises infrastructure.  Why is that?  Because the foundation matters. On-premises infrastructure continues to play a key role in decisions. The Forrester study found that 90% of IT decision makers agreed that on-premises infrastructure represented a critical party of their hybrid cloud strategy. At the end of the day, it’s important to find the right environment for the workload.  A hybrid approach often represents a solution that allows the IT team to work with a known system while gaining the scaling and flexibility that adding cloud services can bring.

In parallel, the demands on existing infrastructure continue to grow as organizations implement hybrid multicloud solutions. It’s important to critically examine the timeline around infrastructure refresh intervals. Too often, there are delays in that refresh cycle of mission-critical infrastructure which exposes the organization to unnecessary risk. The risk of not refreshing that infrastructure includes security vulnerabilities, interoperability and compatibility issues. The impacts end up affecting the bottom line by way of lost or diminished employee productivity as well as diminished performance per the study. Learn more about critical infrastructure refreshes in the Forrester study.

Lack of vision when it comes to hybrid cloud strategy and lack of spend when it comes to the infrastructure has a cascading effect not only for the infrastructure but also for the organization’s health and well-being.

Another key finding tells us that IT decisions makers select the right IT infrastructure strategy according to the job to be done. Technology professionals consider workload, security needs, and time-to-value when designing IT infrastructure strategies. When it comes to workloads, IT decision makers anticipate that more than half of mission-critical workloads and 47 percent of data-intensive workloads will be run either on premises or in an internal private cloud in two years.

It’s important to remember that every hybrid cloud strategy looks a little different. The range of choices to optimize IT may seem overwhelming. Making a choice between a public cloud provider, an on-premises private cloud, a hybrid solution or moving the application to a SaaS provider are options that are all in play. What works best is an alignment of your IT strategy to your business strategy. Understand your application portfolio. Take a look at what others in your industry and vertical are doing. The market and customer demand great products and great service, but racing to the cloud without a solid plan can only lead to shortcuts and potential errors. Cloud is a journey, not a race, and one size does not fit all. Discover more about IBM hybrid multicloud infrastructure for your enterprise strategy.

[1] https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-11-13-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-public-cloud-revenue-to-grow-17-percent-in-2020