Today we talk about Hybrid IT as the new normal – 79% of IT decision-makers believe it is the inevitable future of corporate IT infrastructure, according to a Hybrid Hive report.

Yet more than a third (37%) said they don’t know what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to this approach, while 62% said they need more help to understand Hybrid IT and its implications.

Sometimes the best way to get to grips with something is to take a step back and look at how and why it came about in the first place.

On that note, I thought I’d give you a whistle-stop tour of Hybrid IT: where we are now, how we got here and where we’re headed.

The birth of the cloud

We could of course go really far back and talk about the evolution of computing in general and how that led to the Hybrid IT landscape of today.

But I think in this case (and to keep this very brief as the headline suggests) it makes sense to jump right to where the birth of Hybrid IT began: with the rise of cloud computing.

The concept for cloud computing was born in the 1950s, when for the first time multiple users could gain physical access to the same computer via a number of different terminals.

But it wasn’t until the dot-com bubble burst five decades later that cloud computing as we know it came to the fore.

Those companies lucky enough to survive those turbulent times had to rethink their IT infrastructure. They needed something more efficient and easy to scale. And with the amount of data fast ballooning, they had to find somewhere to store it.

Cloud was the answer.

Cloud became much more than just another buzzword, paving the way for the Hybrid IT approach that’s becoming increasingly popular today, with companies like Netflix and Amazon building huge businesses off the back of it.

Going Hybrid

As businesses raced to adapt to this new cloud-driven world, many turned to outsourced services to fulfil their needs. To avoid relinquishing too much control, however, companies deployed a combination of public and private clouds. Hence: Hybrid cloud.

But not everything belongs in a virtual environment. Organisations found you can achieve greater efficiencies and tighter security by integrating cloud services with existing, on-premise IT infrastructure.

Thus, the Hybrid IT environment was born – an overarching philosophy based on the idea that you can bring in cloud-based services to support and run in parallel to your existing IT hardware rather than replacing that hardware altogether.

The result is a much more secure and cost-effective way of achieving the kind of agility and efficiency the cloud affords – traits few companies can live without these days.

As of last year, 40% of companies across the globe already have a Hybrid IT environment in place. And based on our research we expect that figure to grow significantly in the coming years.

Where we’re headed next

As I mentioned earlier, the vast majority of IT leaders believe Hybrid is the inevitable future of corporate computing.

But where will this approach take us next?

As I mentioned in my Hybrid IT predictions blog post earlier this year, real-time, always-on services will inevitably drive prolific data growth.

And as an increasing number of applications are hosted in the cloud, more companies will begin to consolidate their data centres to save on costs and reclaim office real estate.

On that note, security will become a huge concern as the Hybrid approach continues to expand its reach. What happens if the internet goes down and 80% of your business is run on the cloud? Preparing for these worst-case security scenarios is going to be top of the list for business leaders everywhere.

But while Hybrid IT may bring more security concerns in future, the potential opportunities are equally abundant.

With developments like artificial intelligence-defined infrastructure and the rise of ‘serverless computing’ on the horizon, it’s safe to say there’s never been a more exciting time to work in IT!

Download our Hybrid Habits report for lots more insight on the global Hybrid IT landscape

Brad Mallard

Words by

An innovative and influential leader with over 20 years in a wide variety of technology roles working with and for some of the largest organisations in the UK, Brad is currently CTO End User Services, Digital Workplace, Cloud & Hybrid IT, Fujitsu EMEIA.

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