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Written By

Jim VanderMey

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September 26, 2018

It's not Infrastructure.
It's Hybrid IT.

"Run AND grow." 2-pronged plug-like cloud hovering above an outlet-like silos.

The state of the data center is in flux. What should stay on-premise and what can be stored in the cloud? The reality is that many businesses require both environments, keeping the security and predictability of their existing models while also leveraging the agile and elastic nature of the cloud.

So, why Hybrid IT?

At OST we define Hybrid IT as a cross-functional approach, aligning business and technology, by modernizing the enterprise with platforms, products and services that are optimized for the results your business values most.

As we looked to redefine our Data Center Solutions to reflect that changing environment, we considered terms like ‘Modern IT’ or ‘Datacenters of the Future’. But those terms really ignore the value businesses find in the on-premise architecture they have today. And just as any great IT decision, it is made to solve for business values and desired outcomes, not just to have the latest and greatest technology.

Hybrid Lessons

In 2018, the term ‘hybrid’ brings to mind the combination of gas and electric, often in an automobile.  But after visiting the Voight House in Grand Rapids, I was reminded that in 1895, ‘hybrid’ also referred to lighting. These fixtures were designed to use the best of the existing, reliable natural gas infrastructure while leveraging the new (but not yet reliable) electric  technology. This allowed these early adopters to experience the new possibilities and safety afforded to them by electricity while still making sure they had light in their house every day.

The automobile market in 2018 has parallels.  Travelling across remote portions of North America with an electric-only vehicle requires extraordinarily detailed planning and the time to allow for full charging of the vehicle. Within certain use cases like an urban commute in California, there are compelling advantages. Alternatively, a hybrid vehicle offers some of the fuel economy advantages of an electric one and decreases the emission footprint. But more importantly, it allows for confidence in moving to the future since it can leverage the dominant infrastructure of the present.

Similarly, Hybrid IT leads with the business use cases, its desired outcomes, and designs a plan to solve for the future state while leveraging the deep values of the installed infrastructure.

Considerations in a Hybrid Model

While moving to the cloud seems pretty straightforward, the organizational changes required to support that move are often underappreciated. Organizational governance, security, and organizational silos have evolved in enterprise IT for decades and must be fundamentally reinvented to support the cloud-native models we use in digital experiences or IoT projects.

 

Over time, the on-premise infrastructure should have service levels that appear to be cloud-like, and the cloud services should be delivered with the reliability and predictability enterprise IT disciplines help to deliver.

 

Just relabeling the on-premise model to ‘private cloud’ is not enough.  For more on this, I recommend the book Visible Ops: Private Cloud – on page 95 it accurately indicates that we are, “Designing Services, not Systems.”

As organizations plan for this shift, they need to take into consideration these organizational changes and include them in their roadmap, just as they would technical shifts.

It’s not infrastructure. It’s Hybrid IT.

OST has worked with several enterprises to make this transition. To help you move forward successfully, we have a whitepaper available for The Five Pillars of a Successful Hybrid IT Strategy.

In it, you will learn more about the 5 areas of consideration in your Hybrid Cloud strategy.

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About the Author

Jim VanderMey, Chief Innovation Officer, has been with OST since the very beginning. Throughout his career, Jim has taught and spoken at international conferences; acquired a wide range of technical certifications; consulted for enterprises in manufacturing, healthcare and many other industries; and accomplished much more. Outside of OST, Jim is a commissioner for the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services HIT Commission, sits on multiple advisory boards at universities and pursues other community involvement activities. Outside of work, you’ll often find Jim reading, paddle-boarding, spending time with his family (including six grandkids) and serving with his wife Ann at their church.