With cloud computing, many IT services can be introduced quickly and with a manageable investment of time and money, and they can also be managed relatively easily. These are the main reasons why the cloud continues to enjoy unbroken popularity. Anyone who starts the journey into cloud computing always starts with very small steps. After all, no CIO will move all of their IT to a public cloud overnight. As a result, everyone starts with a hybrid cloud. That means that in your own IT area everything stays the same for the time being. Only uncritical areas are outsourced to a specially selected public cloud platform.
The latter can be a development platform for developers on an IaaS platform or the use of a SaaS offer directly within a specialist department, for example for CRM or HR. This initial experimentation is then gradually expanded and so cloud usage continues to pick up speed. The operation of cloud infrastructures in your own data center plus external resources of the public cloud leads to a constellation that, according to IDC, belongs to the future. “Hybrid cloud is practically the norm that is used today to connect manufacturing as well as customers and suppliers,” reports Tobias Regenfuß, Head of Cloud and Infrastructure for DACH at the Accenture consulting firm.
However, the originally hoped for easy administration can quickly turn into the opposite in a hybrid cloud. For example, data is suddenly copied and no longer kept up to date at the same time. Frequently, applications are not just moved back and forth, but also duplicated and no longer uniformly patched.
This can quickly lead to chaos for the entire IT operation, as we at Accenture know. “Many IT departments did not manage to achieve the hoped-for benefits of a hybrid cloud because they by far underestimated the complexity involved,” is the devastating realization of Regenfuß.
So how do successful CIOs deal with this problem? We asked around and found out a wide range of possible solutions. Christian Grotowsky, CIO at the Lekkerland trading company, sees a methodological problem as one of the reasons why the cloud goals are not achieved. “Doing one thing without abandoning the other is an expression of a lack of consistency when introducing the cloud,” is his analysis of the parallel operation of both areas.
According to Grotowsky, the operation of multi-cloud environments with services from several public cloud providers is often an obstacle. “At first glance it seems attractive to keep individual solutions and also to operate standardized cloud solutions. But the consequence of this is that the advantages of the cloud are not used to the full and the individual solutions regain all of their advantages due to increasing complexity destroy. “
Other CIOs see the problem less in the methods or the technologies, but more on the structural and personnel level. “The most important step towards simplifying a hybrid cloud is to give the IT staff a chance to deal with this issue appropriately and at the same time to involve the departments in all decisions with their competence and responsibility”, is the conviction of Frank Liptow, CIO at Jenoptik.
Gerd Niehage, CIO at the pharmaceutical company B. Braun Melsungen, goes a few steps further. “We want to achieve a change in the mindset of our employees. The goal is a significantly stronger service-oriented thinking. This then goes hand in hand with breaking up old hierarchies, because this is the only way to achieve the necessary agility across different teams,” he says most important CIO task.
Despite all efforts to get the complexity under control, some CIOs seem to be on the decline again from multi-cloud constellations. “There is currently a trend towards saying goodbye to multi-cloud environments in order to reduce complexity,” is the assessment of Peter Janze, Managing Director and CIO digital @ M. Janze also thinks it is a mistake to avoid lock-in through multi-cloud environments. “With multi-cloud, IT has only captured new dependencies on multiple providers plus higher maintenance costs,” he says of the disappointment of many CIOs.
But before you decide to take such a radical step back, you should perhaps first sound out the experiences and possibilities of cloud-pro
ven partners, recommends Tobias Regenfuß from Accenture. For example, his employer relied on HPE as an experienced partner very early on on his cloud journey. “HPE’s Hybrid Cloud is an immediately usable and very elastic platform with which even the most critical applications such as SAP or Oracle can be used immediately,” he says about his approach with which he has mastered the hybrid cloud complexity.