Peter Grant

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With 20 years’ experience as a consultant, architect and technologist in global banking, government and technology organisations, Peter is recognised as a passionate, top-flight subject matter expert on IT best practices. At the leading edge of the Xtravirt consulting organisation since 2008, Peter also has a keen interest in cybersecurity and still finds time to teach Karate in his spare time.

Hybrid cloud has a huge role to play within the hybrid IT ecosystem.

Over the last couple of years, as the technology has matured, hybrid cloud has become prevalent.

While there isn’t always a desire among organisations’ IT departments to move to a full cloud offering, the most appropriate use of cloud is to augment the existing internal environment.

Many organisations favour extending internal environments through seamless integration to an off-premise infrastructure, rather than moving completely to the cloud.

A survey conducted by Xtravirt showed the majority of organisations are investigating, conducting trials or implementing cloud solutions. On top of this, many already have some form of cloud service, official or otherwise.

In this context we think CIOs and IT managers have to consider their cloud approach carefully. The ultimate goal should be to develop a cloud IT strategy aligned with the Hybrid IT mind-set, where on-premise and off-premise hardware, as well as software and service requirements are balanced in harmony for economy and agility.

We suggest a 4-step approach to increase the chances of success:

1) Analyse the environment

Conduct a detailed audit using toolsets designed for the job. What an organisation believes they have is often different from the reality. Once a detailed audit has been conducted you will have a better idea of what is in place and what needs to be achieved. This will also provide a clear understanding of the challenges and their root causes, some of which may be resolved by an off-premise cloud solution. Increasingly, it is a mix, a hybrid that best suits modern organisations.

2) Select the appropriate technology elements

Following a detailed analysis of the environment, it’s time to choose the right set of solutions and combine them to produce an ideally-suited stack. Often this doesn’t equate to selecting the “best” single technology stack, but instead means choosing the mix that produces the “most integrated” stack. Then step back to consider how well this fits within the broader Hybrid IT approach.

3) Consolidate and rationalise before adoption of hybrid cloud

You can’t migrate your IT systems to the cloud and expect problems relating to a complex, sprawling system to disappear. You have to get your house in order by first enacting a plan to consolidate assets, and then rationalise component parts. It is well worth devoting time and resource to this analysis before embarking on next steps, whether internally or externally sourced skills are deployed to the task.

4) Set your game plan and implement hybrid cloud

In our experience, the success of large and complex IT transformations depends on setting clear deliverables at the outset. This is how to avoid ‘scope creep’ during the project. Projects can span months or even years, and it’s easy to end up chasing new technology updates and ever-changing demands of the business throughout the implementation. While some change in scope is often inevitable, it’s important to ensure the urge to have the latest solution and updates doesn’t overtake a completed project. Going for the 80/20 approach can, and in many cases will, deliver a good and well-implemented solution. This is in contrast to having a gold solution that is poorly implemented and never fully completed.

Whatever form they may take, hybrid cloud solutions present organisations with tremendous opportunities for modernisation and innovation.

However, we must be careful to understand the challenges we are trying to resolve and strive to adopt the services whilst reducing complexity.

This is a guest blog, published by Xtravirt

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