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Written By

Jim VanderMey

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September 26, 2018

It's not infrastructure.
It's Hybrid IT.

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 webinar available for The Five Pillars of a Successful Hybrid IT Strategy.

Viewers will learn the five areas you will want to address in your plans as well as insights from other Hybrid efforts we’ve been a part of throughout the years.

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About the Author

Jim VanderMey is the Chief Innovation Officer for OST. Jim has provided the technical leadership and product strategic planning for the organization since the very beginning. Jim is a technology visionary who sets the long and short-term direction for OST. He specializes in seeing the “big picture” of technology, the computer industry, and the business objectives supported by IT. As OST has gained an international reputation, Jim has taught and spoken at conferences in Europe, Japan, and throughout North America.

Jim attended the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music as a pastoral ministries major, and went on to manage significant scale applications and infrastructures in the healthcare, manufacturing, and insurance industries. He has served as a consultant to many large organizations such as Herman Miller, Boeing, Priority Health, Magna-Donnelly Corporation, Hewlett Packard, Amway, Meijer, Komatsu, Mercedes, Navistar (International Truck), Flextronics, the US Navy and many hospital systems including Spectrum Health, Bronson Hospital, and HealthEast.

Jim has senior level data center skills in performance analysis and systems architecture, enterprise UNIX, reliability engineering, SAN design and implementation. He is a voracious learner and has held many technical certifications ranging from UNIX and Cisco administration through cloud architecture and design. As OST has grown and diversified, Jim has engaged with clients on product strategy, IT transformation, cloud enablement, CIO-level organizational change management, DevOps and IoT program leadership. Creating value by connecting the Data Center disciplines of the past to the Design-centric disciplines to help businesses leverage technology more effectively is a place of special focus for Jim in his recent engagements.

Jim has been heavily involved in OST’s healthcare initiatives where he has leveraged his decades of experience in healthcare, enterprise applications and systems architecture to design high performance infrastructures for the Epic EHR application and the client systems such as VDI for the access tier. He has also been directly engaged with the OST analytics team on assisting customers in the adoption of analytics to create substantial value and new revenue opportunities leveraging Big Data. In this space the combination of architecture, data visualization and design can be used to develop important new actionable insights.

Jim sits on the advisory board for the computer science/IS departments of Calvin College and Grand Valley State University Computer Science. He is an avid reader of all types of non-fiction and literature and most mornings can be found paddling a kayak, canoe or SUP before work. On the weekends, family and serving with his wife Ann at their church is a major focus.

Lastly, we must confess that some of OST’s peculiar culture is a direct derivation of Jim’s unorthodox style.