Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Frank Lupo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

The Future Is Hybrid: Seven Paths to Get to the Cloud By @GerardoDada | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Hybrid IT means connecting cloud – whether SaaS or cloud native – with anything on-premises

If you work in IT, you're likely bombarded with vendor messaging about the cloud. Yes, understanding the cloud is a requirement for all technology professionals, but it may seem that the cloud is all anyone is talking about these days. And right or wrong, many IT departments are even adopting a cloud-first mentality.

Now, we do believe the cloud is the future of IT, but - and this is a big but - it's not for everything. The cloud is like using a rental car: quick and cheap, but a Hertz is not the ideal mode of transportation to get to the office every day. In other words, the cloud isn't the best solution for all workloads.

On the other hand, there is the fact that what we today call "on-premises" often refers to a virtualized environment in a colocation facility, which actually sounds very cloudy to me. Furthermore, Amazon and Rackspace now offer dedicated servers by the minute. The fact they are not shared violates one of the essential characteristics of a cloud service according to the NIST definition.

My point is that it's highly unlikely the majority of IT organizations will move entirely to the cloud, and that the lines between what is and what is not cloud are blurring.

The fact is, the future of IT is hybrid.

Defining Hybrid IT
There are various definitions for hybrid IT, but for our purposes here, we'll use Forrester's simple definition: Hybrid IT means connecting cloud - whether SaaS or cloud native - with anything on-premises; even if the connection is simply for verifying credentials or transferring business data.

With this definition in hand, you can see that nearly every business today is hybrid to at least some degree, and regardless of where they're at in cloud adoption, more is coming. The key question is how that happens - the term cloud describes a group of technologies that can be used in different ways. Let's explore the seven ways an IT organization can progress down the cloud pathway.

The Seven Models of Hybrid IT Adoption

  • Do nothing: Even if you "do nothing," you will still have a hybrid IT environment. Nearly every organization uses SaaS applications such as DropBox, Salesforce, Confluence, Office 365 or HubSpot. In fact, most marketing departments alone use 30 to 70 SaaS cloud applications, and most can be monitored by services such as Pingdom from the cloud.
  • Private cloud: Most organizations will transform their internal IT departments to look like a private cloud - an elastic, software provisioned and measured service. Some companies will go the virtualization route, while others will implement an actual private cloud platform like OpenStack. The difference between these will be very small to none when it comes to how much they resemble a true cloud.
  • Test/Dev in the cloud: Test/QA and development environments are notorious for their infrastructure requirements and ephemeral nature, which make them a natural fit for the cloud. This is usually the first step in taking advantage of the cloud because it's limited risk and high in benefits. It's also a great way for development teams to build experience with cloud technologies.
  • Cloudify existing applications: Cloudifying means moving components of applications or workloads to the cloud. For example, most Web applications should be storing images, large files and videos in the cloud where they can enjoy the benefits of a CDN and get the load of Web servers. Another common practice is to move DR/HA sites to the cloud where they can be remotely activated in minutes and deployed in multiple geographies without having to deal with multiple datacenters or colocation facilities.
  • Lift and shift: Once an application has been developed and tested in the cloud, and perhaps its DR site also hosted in the cloud, it might make sense to move the main application to the cloud, too. The term lift and shift implies there are no major architectural changes, and that the cloud is being used almost as an extension of hosting. During this process, it's not uncommon to also cloudify some components of a workload, such as using a CDN, as explained before, or using a Database as a service (DBaaS) instead of a full database instance on a dedicated cloud server.
  • New project in the cloud: Often times, IT needs to replace an application with a new one. During this process, it's a good idea to think about starting the new application in the cloud. Let's say an IT department is replacing an internal portal and collaboration tool with the latest version of SharePoint. It would be smart to evaluate how such a workload could run in the cloud. These projects are usually line of business applications that maintain their traditional architecture. In this sense, they are similar to lift and shift applications, except there is no migration process; it's a new application replacing an existing one.
  • Cloud first apps: Cloud-first applications are those developed specifically to run in the cloud and architected to take advantage of cloud services. They embrace service orientation, APIs, software-provisioned hardware and built-in redundancy. These often use "modern" languages and frameworks, such as JavaScript/HTML5, NGINX, Perl, etc., and open source components, such as NoSQL databases. The development teams behind them usually embrace DevOps principles and implement continuous development and continuous integration. An example is a SaaS company with a system that dynamically provisions servers based on customer load. These servers can be provisioned on a public or private cloud based on resource availability and cost in seconds without any human intervention.

What Is the Right Path for Your Organization?
There is no one-size-fits-all path to the cloud for every IT organization. The decision will need to be made based on the specific requirements, variability and growth forecast of each workload. Most likely, the average IT department will end up with a mix of these seven deployment models. However, there are a couple things that apply across the board:

  • Have a hybrid cloud mindset: Independently of the architecture of the application and the logo outside the building where one's servers reside, a cloud mindset is important. DevOps and the cloud have implemented new practices, tools and processes that bring benefits to development and IT operations in general. These can be defined as a cloud mindset, which can be summarized in seven key principles, as defined in detail here.
  • Build a roadmap: The smart thing to do for any IT department is to build a roadmap to develop the knowledge needed to make smart decisions when it comes to cloud, even if the decision is to do nothing. For IT management, it is important to build a roadmap to build knowledge, to implement some of these principles of cloudy thinking and then to build a cloud adoption roadmap based on a workload by workload evaluation that considers requirements, potential upside, costs and urgency.

Welcome to the world of Hybrid IT.

More Stories By Gerardo A Dada

Gerardo A Dada is Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy for SolarWinds’ database and applications business globally. He is a technologist who has been at the center of the Web, mobile, social and cloud revolutions at companies like Rackspace, Microsoft, Motorola, Vignette and Bazaarvoice. He has been involved with database technologies from dBase to BTrieve to SQL Server and NoSQL and DBaaS in the cloud.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TAZMO technology and development capabilities in the semiconductor and LCD-related manufacturing fields are among the best worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.tazmo.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...