“Hybrid IT is not a future issue, but a reality issue”. With this and other similar statements, the youngest – corona-related virtual – IDG roundtable on the topic of “Hybrid IT Management” drew a quite unanimous opinion compared to other main topics. According to the industry insiders present via Zoom, there are certainly speed differences, especially between medium-sized and enterprise levels, but hardly anyone at the decision-maker level seems to doubt the importance of a cloud strategy.
“Decision-makers in small and medium-sized companies are ready to take the path towards hybrid IT because they see the concrete benefits in simplification and flexibility,” says Niels Kallies from Dell, describing the current situation.
Hybrit IT is therefore the connection of two virtues: the simplicity of public clouds or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions with the independence that operation in local data centers guarantees. In theory, both virtues are essential for companies of all industries and sizes if they want to benefit from the opportunities of digitalization without losing their digital sovereignty. For this reason, there are hardly any companies that rely on a really complete outsourcing of their IT.
At this point, the only question is: Which relationship between public cloud and local operation is the right one? And can “Hybrid IT” ever be defined clearly? The short answer is: No! There are too many variables in every company that influence the cloud strategy.
Of course, this includes existing business-critical applications, data protection regulations or similar factors that lead to companies having to leave at least some of the processes in local data centers and not being able to switch completely to cloud-based IT. In other cases, for example, a high level of complexity in the legacy architecture means that the actual costs for operating applications in the cloud would be more expensive than a local setup.
- Niels Kallies, Dell
“In the past few years we have made significant progress in the SME sector, especially in the area of automation. This is the most important factor in deployment, operation and also in lifecycle management.”
- Dirk Pfefferle, DXC
“The increased orientation towards the actual added value of a cloud infrastructure also requires new consumption models. It is up to the consulting firms to develop these. They are the ones who have to combine the technology with the business benefits.”
- Benjamin Bachmann, Exxeta
“The topic of security is still underrepresented in many companies with a view to modernizing the IT infrastructure. In many cases, the right people who put security on the agenda at an early stage are simply missing.”
- Oliver Ehrmann, Microfocus
“Especially in a hybrid world, it is all the more important to look at applications and business services end-to-end and not just to build individual stand-alone solutions that are operated in isolation from each other.”
- Thomas Huber, Nutanix
“‘The cloud’ is now losing its abstract character, and that’s a good thing. It is no longer just about hosting data in an Amsterdam data center, but rather about answering the positive question of which operating model I want to represent countless possibilities depending on the goal, and the cloud is a partial aspect in achieving these goals. “
- Thomas Sandner, Veeam
“Accompanying change management is extremely important in terms of human resources. Employees who have had a specific task for decades cannot” transform “overnight.”
The right strategy and above all a consistent implementation cannot be replaced by anything. After all, there are enough examples in which an ambitious or pragmatic change to the cloud can initially lead to a deterioration, as Thomas Sandner from software developer Veeam notes: “With regard to the cost optimization potential, many companies are starting to disillusion because the first lift-and-shift euphoria is followed by the realization that this does not bring the hoped-for savings ad hoc. “
In his experience, the uncompromising change to the public cloud always has a price. This can be seen either in monetary form or in the form of an increased dependency on the provider: “Strategic integration, which provides for the sensible use of PaaS services, can very well achieve significant cost savings – but these often go hand in hand with greater dependence on the cloud provider along. “
Information on the partner packages of the ‘Hybrid IT Management’ study
In addition to the security or data protection argument, it is above all that of independence that can be heard again and again in the context of the roundtable discussion. For many companies, local operations represent a bargaining chip that not only maintains the data sovereignty of a company, but also indirectly ensures that the public cloud market itself becomes more flexible. Because if you are facing a customer structure that maintains its own independence through strategically sensible hybrid cloud architectures, you can only establish your platform if you also integrate this flexibility into your own service catalog. This happens, for example, by enabling data to be migrated as required – and above all re-migrated. In this way, hybrid IT management also leads to a harmonization of the provider market and thus to an improvement in the offer of public cloud services. Less vendor lock-in, more competition – this is also a prognosis that creates the discussion.
So it is important for every company – regardless of industry and size – to keep the book in hand. The Roundtable experts advise prudence, a structured approach and, above all, the necessary calm to develop an infrastructure step by step, to design it and only to migrate the components that really make sense.
And anyway: isn’t the question “public or local” anyway superfluous if one only asks about the concrete benefit of a measure?
“The topic of hybrid IT is important, but in many places it may be overestimated. In the end, it is the user-friendliness and above all the quality of the services that decides,” notes Benjamin Bachmann from Exxeta. “Where and in what setup an infrastructure is operated is ultimately not a game changer.”
“Every company has to design the trip to the cloud individually,” says Oliver Ehrmann from Microfocus. “A certain strategic orientation is essential. It is important to consider at every point: what makes sense in the cloud?”
Security and data protection should, of course, have a high priority within the strategy right from the start, but should never be a “show stopper”, as Dirk Pfefferle from DXC Technology observes with a view to the public sector and data protection-intensive industries: “Regulated industries such as the insurance industry are not less sustainable per se. There is always a solution to make an infrastructure compliant with the authorities. Hybrid IT plays a key role here. It is much more important that the management team sets a clear direction and does not constantly seek reasons against modernization. “
“Hybrid IT Management” study: You can still participate!
COMPUTERWOCHE is currently conducting a multi-client study among IT decision-makers on the subject of hybrid IT management. If you have any questions about this study or if you want to become a partner, Ms. Regina Hermann (firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 089 36086 384) and Ms. Nicole Bruder (email@example.com, phone: 089 360 86 137) will be happy to help . Information on the Hybrid IT Management Study can also be downloaded here (PDF).
So is everything in butter the most often branded as a tentative cloud location in Germany? Not at all: Although 2019 offered some reason for optimism, and after years of planning, many companies were finally ready to make the necessary investments, but it would be a misjudgment of the reality that the decision-maker level would automatically come back in the pre-corona mood drops. Apart from trend topics such as remote work or other pandemic-related reactions, it is foreseeable that large migration and modernization projects will be put on hold again or postponed indefinitely.
The budgets will be tighter, and against this background it is now the task of the consulting companies to promote the right concepts and to focus even more consistently on the benefits, as Pfefferle concludes: “We always have to be aware that we no longer live in 2019. With regard to the budget, we are faced with changed conditions across the board. For many projects that made perfect sense under ‘normal conditions’, there is simply no money. Our task is to get the ‘cloudification train’ back getting started by pointing out such necessities and restoring the mood of the previous year. “
Information on the partner packages of the ‘Hybrid IT Management’ study