Avoid Hybrid Cloud Gotchas: Change in IT Mind Set

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According to Information Week’s article, 5 Hybrid Cloud Gotchas, any IT organization harnessing the hybrid cloud should reexamine not only its infrastructure, but its entire role in the enterprise. Author Kurt Marko recommends that IT change its entire mindset from infrastructure operator to trusted adviser, service provider and business enabler.

I would take his point even further: Any smart CIO knows his or her role is evolving into the organization’s Master of Innovation, collaborating closely with the business units to develop and implement brand new ways of doing business via the Web, mobile, social media, cloud or whatever the next empowering technology is. A deep understanding of emerging technologies and their potential impact (positive and negative) on the business is now as valuable as an IT organization’s knowledge of networking concepts, hardware configuration and keeping the lights on. Without this awareness, IT risks irrelevancy.

To stay relevant, today’s IT departments must embrace their new master innovator role within a virtualized cloud world. This means converging IT systems, storage, networking and security silos into a single perspective geared to the business processes, applications and workloads, and determining where they fit in a hybrid cloud.

The key to the hybrid cloud is realizing that the application drives the cloud deployment strategy, not the physical infrastructure. That means building application profiles that take into account scale, data types and volumes, network requirements, integration, security, data protection and budget ̶ then using this information to mix and match the private and public cloud services that best fit the profile. It also means having an element of savvy in negotiating the contracts and service levels with providers that match your applications’ scale, performance and capability needs.

In deploying hybrid cloud applications, IT will have to implement sensible migration plans that minimize the business impact on employees, customers and the rest of the organization, while meeting capital expense goals and optimizing IT budgets to keep ahead of technology shifts. And CIOs will need to ensure adequate resources for supporting new applications and processes once all the hybrid cloud puzzle pieces are in place.

Fortunately, hybrid cloud adoption brings in real-time asset allocation and helps to remove the nuances of Moore’s Law. Real-time service automation and eliminating legacy equipment in the corp-net will help businesses grow and expand into new markets through greater innovation and thought leadership.

Much of that innovation and thought leadership in adopting cloud service capabilities has come directly from end users, (aka “shadow IT”). For these IT organizations, taking on the role of shadow IT’s expert cloud broker and helping them choose the public and private cloud services that both empower them with new capabilities and provide the enterprise the security and management capabilities its needs.

Many IT departments will benefit from bringing in outside cloud expertise to help them match the workload and user requirements to the right combination of services. Or, benefit from help with testing different services and service combinations before they take the leap with any new provider.

The new IT mantra is innovation and empowerment. CIOs and IT organizations that repeat these practices and successfully embrace the hybrid cloud world will minimize risk and succeed for many generations of IT to come.

Learn more about taking the first steps toward designing, deploying and configuring hybrid clouds.