Managing Hybrid IT - Why and How

POSTED BY : Cloud Computing
Thursday, May 15, 2014

All enterprises are moving towards an inevitable "cloud first" policy. However, they will adopt a cautious approach owing to many factors such as the maturity of the cloud delivery models, security, data protection, compliance, performance etc. Therefore, what we will see in the near future is that IT organizations will adopt a "Hybrid IT" strategy. This will comprise of private clouds housing critical IT services and those with stringent compliance and security requirements, public clouds to house non-critical IT services and not to forget the non-virtualized traditional IT infrastructure.
Is managing "Hybrid IT" really different from the way IT has been managed traditionally and if yes, why? For starters, "Hybrid IT" relies on new technologies to connect clouds, combine internal and external services and more importantly is based on service-oriented architecture. Due to this paradigm shift, the role of IT and the way "Hybrid IT" is managed is going to be different.

How different is it going to be and how are IT organizations gearing themselves up to this new way of management? Going forward, IT organizations will be responsible for brokering services available from various service providers including themselves. While doing this, they will have to ensure uniform end user experience and satisfy the consumerization requirements. The other key aspect is that, businesses and end users are getting used to the experience of self-service based rapid provisioning and are demanding the same from their own IT organizations. IT organizations will have to set up systems and processes to be able to match up to these expectations.

As part of managing external providers, these processes and systems should enable provider selection, contracting, payment, billing, budget & cost control, service-level assurance, risk & security management, compliance management, integration and customization etc. BCP and DR will have to be ensured across both internal and external services.

Mechanisms for application, infrastructure and data integration across internal and external services need to be established and managed. These integrations bring in challenges related to security and identity. Trust boundaries move as applications move across internal networks and untrusted public clouds. Data loss prevention and encryption needs to be managed to protect sensitive data.

From an organizational change perspective, IT will have 3 additional groups apart from the traditional IT operations team. These are IT broker group, public cloud management group and the private cloud management group. While the other two groups are self-explanatory, the IT broker group will take care of the aspects such as service architecture, sourcing methods & policies, service integration, service economics and more across internal and external services.

Coming to technology; there are two key technologies that organizations will depend on for managing "Hybrid IT". Both of which enable aggregation, integration and customization of services across internal and external providers. The first one is CMP (Cloud Management Platform) which is primarily used for cloud interoperability and orchestration. The second one is CSB (Cloud Services Brokerage) enabler which is gaining traction but not widely used by enterprises as yet.

As far as operational processes are concerned, the existing frameworks such as ITIL will undergo certain changes and continuous delivery models. For example, devops will become prevalent especially in areas such as release management.

Sunil Sarat
Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing