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Implementing a Hybrid-Cloud Infrastructure


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Public cloud adoption continues to grow rapidly. It’s anticipated that by 2021 about 35% of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based. According to a McKinsey’s & Company 2018 IT-is-a-service survey titled “Transforming infrastructure operations for a hybrid-cloud world,” 40% of enterprises will use two or more infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or software as a service (SaaS) options. This also means that 65% of workloads will remain in private data centers, producing a hybrid-cloud solution, and impacting both unified communications and contact center operations.
Why Hybrid-Cloud?
There are several reasons why a hybrid-cloud solution is advantageous to enterprises, including:
  • An improved total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • The requirement to protect intellectual property
  • Privacy, security, and compliance requirements
  • International public cloud providers may not be available
  • Internal staff reduction
  • Avoiding the cost of refreshing the data center hardware and software
  • The ability to scale rapidly (up or down) as markets change
With a hybrid-cloud structure, IT organizations need to stop thinking about themselves in a traditional structure, and they need to start thinking more collaboratively with cloud service providers (partners). Additionally, they might need to adapt their governance talents and performance to the new environment. This might include modifying management systems to better serve this hybrid cloud structure. When a new platform is introduced, IT teams also have to configure it, so it delivers the right performance at the right cost and improves overall resource utilization.
The McKinsey report proposes that “each data-center site should be managed as a separate profit-and-loss center with internal charge-back mechanisms introduced to drive visibility and accountability.” This will create billing to business units, which demonstrate cloud-based costs. The report continued by stating that “performance management needs to evolve similarly. Digital systems and dashboards can instill consistent measurement across the organization.” There should be periodic scheduled reviews to ensure the business unit and customer requirements are fully understood and are being consistently met.
Attracting the Talent
The cloud providers have the talent, but do you? You will need to encourage IT infrastructure teams to plan and design differently. Assuming that you will be operating in a multi-cloud environment, infrastructure teams will have to design, engineer, and architect. The internal staff will help the business units redesign the selected workloads for the public-cloud support. This leads to capacity planning by data scientists and operations-research practitioners. Responsibilities and authority across the internal and cloud partners must be defined.
Don’t assume that all the talent must be new hires. New hires don’t know the internal business operations and goals. Think about complementing existing IT staff with new hires that have the missing knowledge and skills that might be outside traditional pools of talents.
Hybrid-cloud Delivers
The benefits of hybrid-cloud solutions include about 75% reduction in complexity and an estimated 50% improvement in reliability and availability. One impact to the IT infrastructure team will be that 50% of improvement in qualification of new technologies with four times faster capacity deployment. Efficiency will improve about 20% within approximately 12 to 18 months of the implementation of a hybrid-cloud solution.
The single most advantageous factor is scalability, which allows the solution to scale capacity up or down without building too much capacity in advance (costly) and being able to respond to business unit changes rapidly. The infrastructure team, which has had more time in the past to implement projects, is now expected to deliver services much faster with improved service quality.
Strategic Sourcing
It’s quite common that infrastructure organization’s budgets cover a large number of suppliers and vendors. This can make it hard to rapidly and effectively respond to business unit requirements. The IT team should consolidate suppliers by reducing the number of vendors that provide small amounts of support. This will improve the response to the business needs. This also leads to a stronger negotiating position with larger suppliers, which can produce better pricing, response to market fluctuations, and benefit from reduced computer and storage costs.
Sourcing should be as strategic as the planning and design efforts. Strategic sourcing can also shorten the capacity deployment lead times by as much as half, which may also eliminate redundant costs and lower capacity requirements.