4 Capabilities You Need for Effective Hybrid IT

Hybrid IT has become the norm and will become even more common in the next few years. In a 2016 report, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 90% of organizations will adopt a hybrid environment. For some, this might be a temporary transition period on your broader journey to the cloud. For others, it might be a long-term solution that helps meet your organization’s unique needs.

There are two overarching ways to approach hybrid IT. First, you can set up your own private cloud, either by doing it yourself or through a third party. (Gartner warns that many organizations who go down the path of a private cloud experience disappointing results, often due to lack of hybrid cloud capabilities.) Second, you can invest in a public cloud to host your cloud infrastructure. For either scenario, your organization needs certain IT skills in-house to make hybrid IT a reality. Specifically, you need to be able to:

Virtualize beyond compute

Virtualization is often the first step in hybrid IT and can be the least complex of these four capabilities. The goal here is to use your existing hardware more efficiently so you won’t have to keep investing in underused hardware and facilities. Recommendations from Gartner:

  • Try to virtualize at least 80% of your computing power
  • Abstract not just your physical compute resources but also your storage and networking
  • If you do need to buy new hardware, make sure it has the right device drivers and APIs so you can repurpose it for cloud deployments later
  • As you create your virtualization plans, make sure to also account for the capacity you need as you scale
  • Consolidate storage before you virtualize it

Standardize as many components as possible

This includes both your hardware and software. As a general rule, it’s not effective for organizations to have too much diversity and inconsistency across IT offerings. But when it comes to hybrid IT, it’s even more important to consolidate and standardize a diverse product set down to the basic building blocks. The simpler your services, the better your experience will be with hybrid IT.

After you have a plan for getting your IT lean and mean, you then need to make sure it stays that way. So a follow-on step here is to put a governance process in place and staff it with key people from the appropriate IT teams. When any group in your organization is talking about adopting new processes or applications, this governance team should help them make informed decisions about what’s already out there in the organization and how they can make sure to choose a solution that’s highly compatible with hybrid IT.

Automate manual, repeatable tasks

In August, we wrote a series of posts about how automation is key to making your organization run faster and more efficiently. It helps avoid human error and frees people up for more complex, value-add tasks. Automation is also the secret sauce to hybrid deployments, as it’s how you make IT efficient and gain many key benefits promised by hybrid IT.

Ironically, one of the key reasons organizations cite for not automating more is that they don’t have time. It can take significant effort to find places to automate, set up the automation, and then test and monitor the process to make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to. Forbes also warns that these projects have a tendency to sprawl and take longer than you hope. That’s usually because teams try to tackle complex tasks that might not be good candidates for automation. So start small with simple tasks that people have to perform time and again. Or perhaps the same task is even being done by multiple teams. The time you spend automating now can save significant time later.

Monitor and track

Given the number of moving parts that come with hybrid IT, a complete monitoring solution is especially critical. You need real-time visibility into what’s going on across your entire infrastructure—and a predictive idea of when service could degrade. Choose a product that gives you a consolidated view of both on-premises and cloud systems and that ideally has more capabilities than your existing monitoring solutions. For example, the solution could also track when automation is triggered.

These capabilities are critical for anyone who’s looking to deploy effective hybrid IT. So if you lack this level of maturity in house, this is a great area in which to partner with an expert. We at Binary Tree can help you plan, move, and manage your transformation to the cloud. We’re here to be a resource for you, whether you’re looking to migrate or coexist your email, applications, or directories. Let’s chat!