Adding cloud infrastructure to existing internal computing resources has made it easier to experiment with new computing approaches and reduce some maintenance tasks.
Managing hybrid IT optimization is complicated because of the resulting mix of systems and tasks. Cloud promises speed, flexibility, and cost benefits, but organizations have no understanding of the total costs, no methods to forecast cloud spending, and no chargeback mechanisms to drive accountability—and are unsure of the trade-offs and duplicate capacity in a hybrid IT ecosystem.
CIOs get ahead of the issues and bring better control to their computing environment by reevaluating their infrastructure with an eye to enterprise business imperatives that drove adoption of each component, then adjusting as necessary.
Cloud-based infrastructure may be different from legacy computing environments in many ways, but just like their older counterparts cloud environments evolve and become increasingly complex. CIOs who see their computing budgets being squeezed by growing cloud provider costs should look at these three areas as opportunities to bring expenses under control while better serving the enterprise’s needs.
Challenges with hybrid IT optimization
- Existing processes like buying, depreciating, and allocating server costs don’t scale to the cloud world of per-second billing, thousands of services, and multiple buying options.
- Cloud Centers of Excellence (CCOE) spend too much time attempting to translate complex billing details directly from cloud providers into a view of cloud costs that is easy to understand and communicate.
- CCOE lacks effective cost allocation techniques, which prevents them from holding cloud users accountable for their consumption.
Opportunities for hybrid IT optimization
#1 Mission-critical operations
Major enterprise applications are either the first to be cloud-based or the last. The difference usually depends on the age of the company and when the application was first initiated. Legacy systems that run operations tend to be slow to migrate because the risk of having any downtime could be disruptive and expensive.
Companies that began their operations using cloud-based options are likely to expand operations there as well, eschewing locally installed applications for lack of experience. The point is that those apps that are most important to day to day operations tend to stay resident on the platform they were initially installed.
But things change. As the business changes its needs can change, and decisions that guided how and where those applications were hosted may no longer be valid. That doesn’t mean the original decision was wrong, or even that a change is necessary, but good management dictates that hybrid IT optimization should be reviewed based on current conditions and evaluated against factors that may have changed. This includes business imperatives, product offerings, market forces, and changes to technology.
About technology, CIOs need to view current application and data deployment with regard to the emergence of hybrid cloud infrastructure and evaluate whether some or all of a locally installed application could better serve its purpose deployed to cloud infrastructure. Conversely, would it benefit the business to internalize some or all an application that currently exists only as a cloud-based system? These kinds of decisions can make significant differences to company operations, but the transition may cause disruption, and that possibility must be considered along with possible benefits expected from a change.
#2 Stakeholder concerns
Changes in IT ripple through the enterprise and even the best intended and most thoroughly planned, and tested transitions can cause concern from all levels of the enterprise and its customers. One of the best, but most difficult to obtain advantages in making changes is the assistance of stakeholders as champions of change.
CIOs should have ongoing relationships with top-level executives and business unit leaders and actively enlist them as they begin investigating transitions. It’s important that changes to computing environments are endorsed and promoted at as many levels of the company as possible so that questions about them can be addressed within business units and promoted as part of a unified plan.
As part of the planning process, be sure to assist business managers as they prepare those who will be affected by the changes. Work with them to develop the reasoning and explanations they can use to announce changes.
#3 Business performance
Effective management of the variety of platform options that make up hybrid cloud environments can impact business performance in many ways. When changes are done right, CIOs can positively impact both financial performance and application response times. But additional if less obvious performance impact can be seen in better data management and increased security.
CIOs who want to impact overall business performance can take advantage of analytic tools that help them determine optimal uses of the various platforms and application combinations and point them to recommended changes. And applying the best in class security practices based on data content and location can make a difference in protecting company assets.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure delivers application deployment flexibility, but it doesn’t come for free. Pay-as-you-go billing and poor optimization serve up an out of control bill of cloud.
Hybrid IT optimization: why now?
Many organizations look at their existing cloud spend and see a small problem not (yet) needing a solution. IT budgets are huge. If the cloud portion of that spend is small, the consequences of poor optimization are negligible. But benign neglect only works if that cloud spend stays small. And that’s not realistic.
The biggest consequence of cloud solutions is the luxury of choice. Most organizations aren’t making a binary choice between cloud and on-premises solutions. Cherry-picking the most appropriate solution based on business need is the new default—hybrid IT is the ecosystem you are working in.
Still unsure if hybrid IT optimization should be top of mind? You are ready for hybrid optimization when you have:
- A “cloud-first” mandate.
- $300k+ in cloud spend.
- More than one cloud service provider.
- Forecasted increases in cloud spend in next 6-12 months.
- Over-provisioned workloads.
- Spiraling cloud costs.
- Uninformed cross-cloud provider migrations.
- Pain shaping demand for consumption.
- Lack of accountability for cloud consumption.
- Ongoing commitment for existing on-premises footprint.
Without a focus (and a tool) on hybrid IT optimization, CIOs are ill-prepared to reap the rewards from public cloud innovation and will over-pay, and under-utilize, in their bill of cloud.
»Download these eBooks to optimize hybrid and cloud by right-sizing legacy spend, shifting savings to innovation and efficiently embracing cloud:
- Eliminate cloud sprawl
- The essential guide to building a cloud center of excellence
- Forrester report: Build a pragmatic cloud strategy that delivers real value to your organization
»Read next, on Emerge:
- Here's what's exciting us about cloud in 2019
- Benefits and challenges of multi-cloud strategies
- Making the most of your cloud infrastructure