By: Kong Yang
IT runs the world and without it the well-behaved, functional technological ecosystem would come to a screeching halt. But the agile, dynamic nature of the tech world provides businesses with many services to consume to meet the bottom-line goals, which means that IT needs to constantly keep up with the latest trends while balancing the people, process and budget equations. Cutting costs, encouraging work flexibility or improving efficiency are the objectives of an investment in technology. It’s part of IT’s responsibility to maximize the ROI of that investment.
For many, the biggest technological transformation for businesses to date has been the cloud. It’s fair to say cloud adoption is nearly ubiquitous, with just 7% of IT pros across the UK saying their organisation have not migrated any infrastructure to the cloud. However, despite its popularity, it’s become clear cloud adoption isn’t suitable for all workloads and, even if it were, 65% of organisations state that it’s unlikely that all of their infrastructure will ever be migrated to the cloud. Thus the market has developed and created a new trend – hybrid IT.
The evolution of hybrid IT
An annual IT trends report from SolarWinds, which surveyed UK IT practitioners, managers and directors, highlighted this new trend and found the vast majority of businesses have shifted away from on-premises infrastructure to hybrid IT environments.
Hybrid IT is where businesses migrate some infrastructure services to the cloud, while continuing to maintain some critical IT services onsite. Hybrid IT is benefiting businesses by reducing the cost, while increasing the agility and scalability of infrastructure, and relieving internal IT personnel of some day-to-day responsibilities.
However, it has also put the IT pros implementing hybrid IT under a lot of pressure. Now they are faced with a dual mandate: increase efficiency through cloud services while also ensuring critical systems, databases and applications are secure, lean, and agile. This is a huge challenge and many IT pros simply don’t have the skillset to cope with such a huge task that includes a constantly moving target with continuous integration and continuous delivery. It’s therefore imperative that businesses provide sufficient resources to support the IT team, and encourage IT pros to gain the skills and tools required to properly manage hybrid IT environments.
Despite a vital need for new skills, tools and resources, less than half of IT pros (48%) feel they have the support needed from leadership, and the organisation as a whole, to develop or improve the skills needed to better manage hybrid IT environments. Nearly three quarters (72%) also feel further disadvantaged as they are uncertain whether their IT organisation currently has adequate resources to manage a hybrid IT environment.
Here are a few suggestions and tips IT pros should take advantage of which could help enhance their skillset for managing a hybrid IT environment:
Think about DevOps – IT pros would benefit from leveraging the principles of DevOps when managing a hybrid IT environment. This would help to achieve faster choices, greater agility and organisational efficiency. IT pros will then be able to update and make any necessary changes to infrastructure, making IT services, whether on-premises or in the cloud, more agile, lean and scalable.
Management and monitoring toolsets – Leverage a management and monitoring toolset which can quickly surface a single point of truth across all the relevant platforms is hugely beneficial when working with both on-premises and cloud resources. This will create a more efficient process to remediation, troubleshooting and optimising, thanks to the normalisation of key performance metrics, alerts and other collected data from applications and workloads, regardless of their location or service provider.
Educate yourself – As more IT services become available from vendors, IT pros must improve upon the following: being business savvy for contract negotiation, having technical expertise to understand and use the available cloud services and project management. These will all require the ability to effectively manage project budgets, workflows and deadlines; dissect terms and conditions; and understand service-level agreements.
A syllabus for IT pros – In order to be successful in the hybrid IT world, IT pros need to have a versatile portfolio of skills. Areas which need to be focused on are: service-oriented architectures, automation, vendor management, application migration, distributed architectures, API and hybrid IT monitoring and management tools and metrics.
Monitoring as a discipline is a necessity – Monitoring as a discipline needs to be viewed as a core IT function. Once established in practice, businesses will begin to reap the rewards of streamlining infrastructure and application performance, cost and security which will all feed into a successful IT management strategy.
Kong Yang, Head Geek at SolarWinds