Oct 01 2020

How to Move from Ad Hoc to Consistent Hybrid Cloud Adoption

As hybrid cloud becomes a business must-have, companies must follow a continuum that defines current conditions, addresses challenges and identifies best-fit frameworks.

Hybrid cloud remains a top priority for businesses; recent survey data found that 72 percent of companies said their cloud strategy was hybrid- or private-first. It makes sense: Despite the potential of public deployments, some applications and assets are best kept close to home while others benefit from the scalability of offsite services.

However, “hybrid cloud remains ambiguous,” says Erik Vliet, national account manager for storage, platforms and solutions at CDW for Dell Technologies. “A lot of companies understand that it’s a combination of on-premises data centers and public cloud providers, but don’t understand the pieces that stitch it together.” 

The result is ad hoc adoption — capital expense–heavy, do-it-yourself hybrid clouds that are complex, cumbersome and costly. The solution? Creating cloud consistency.

DISCOVER: Learn more about hybrid cloud options.

The Problem with Ad Hoc Hybrid Cloud Adoption

While ad hoc adoption often forms the front line of hybrid cloud adoption, the IEEE notes that these frameworks “harvest resources from existing sporadically available, non-exclusive and unreliable infrastructures,” making them less than ideal for long-term success. 

To help articulate the ideal path of hybrid adoption, Dell developed a cloud consistency continuum with four distinct stages: ad hoc, initiated, optimized and consistent. But making the transition from piecemeal component adoption to productive consistency requires companies to know where they are, identify where they’re going — and understand how to get there.

This starts by defining the difference between ad hoc and effective adoption. Vliet puts it simply: “It’s all about having your data live where it makes the most sense, but also building out simplicity in terms of infrastructure and software to avoid silos.”

Next, it’s critical for companies to understand where current solutions are working and where there’s room for improvement. “Dell works with customers to determine what apps look like and what their pain points are,” says Vliet. “We talk to them about what they’re trying to achieve. For example, it might make sense for a particular app to live in the data center, but you can still use other aspects of the public cloud.”

Create a Hybrid Cloud Roadmap

With the end goal in mind, enterprises can start moving toward a more consistent hybrid cloud.

For Vliet, “the first step is taking a holistic look at their on-premises infrastructure: Are they still using traditional three-tier solutions, or have they embraced hyperconverged infrastructure?” Dell’s VxRail solution — the only HCI tool co-engineered with VMware — can help companies bring legacy frameworks in line with new cloud expectations.

Next, Vliet recommends “doing an application assessment and really sitting down to determine where apps should live,” to create a hybrid cloud roadmap that identifies current cloud conditions, prioritizes specific software shifts and defines key data that needs to stay on-premises.

Getting Staff to Buy Into Hybrid Cloud Management Tech

While the adoption and integration of hybrid cloud management technologies can create challenges for companies, Vliet makes it clear that gaining staff support remains the biggest potential pitfall. He notes that “going in and talking to customers about VxRail doesn’t always resonate well with storage architects who haven’t dealt with network or compute pieces.”

For Vliet, overcoming this issue means “helping companies understand you don’t need to hire and fire a bunch of people. Instead, you need to retool people based on skill sets.”

Dell offers a host of technologies to help companies make the hybrid cloud transition. As noted by Vliet, with the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform, “Software-Defined Data Center Manager lets you layer a consistent management experience over multiple hyperscalers and on-premises infrastructure in the form of VxRail, and lets your staff use VMware skill sets they’re already familiar with— such as vSphere and vSAN — while also helping them with automation.”

Three Strong Approaches to Hybrid Cloud

Not every hybrid cloud is created equal; effective deployment depends on enterprises finding the best-fit balance between on-premises control and managed hybrid consistency. To streamline this process, Dell offers three distinct hybrid cloud approaches: 

  • Turnkey technologies: Using VMware Cloud Foundry on VxRail, “this is effectively hybrid cloud in a box — it’s up and running ASAP,” Vliet says.
  • Bring-your-own-infrastructure: This solution is designed for companies that are already working with multiple vendors and want to use their existing infrastructure. According to Vliet, Dell works with these clients “to layer VMware cloud stack on their existing IT with a BYOI approach to help them use what they have.” 
  • Hybrid Cloud as a Service. Using a subscription-based model, this option is fully managed by Dell and offers “both public and private cloud benefits, all hands-off — companies simply get a monthly bill.”

Consistent hybrid cloud deployments offer quantifiable advantages: Recent IDC research reported a 47 percent reduction in total cost of ownership over a five-year period, compared with public clouds.

But converting ad hoc adoption to consistent advantage demands a cloud approach that defines current conditions, prioritizes first steps, addresses key challenges and identifies best-fit hybrid frameworks. 

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