“Whether it’s a “cloud-first” start-up looking at their own infrastructure needs or a more mature company slowly moving to the cloud, every business today is embracing hybrid IT in one form or another,” says Alexandra Della Sera, Softchoice Associate Solution Architect.
Still, as with any new technology, organizations possess significantly varied levels of familiarity, she adds. “Just closing that knowledge gap tends to be a big challenge. Understanding what the impact of a converged architecture will be, but also why you’re doing it and why it’s valuable.”
This blog is the first in a three-part Cisco ‘Ask an Expert’ series looking at how hybrid IT is influencing the technology topics of the network, data center, and unified communications. We asked Della Sera to share her insights into the challenges that hybrid IT places on the network, the considerations organizations must make, and how to deploy hybrid IT successfully.
What challenges does a hybrid IT model place on the network?
One major challenge is bridging the knowledge gap about the impact a converged architecture will have and its value.
But in terms of the impact on the network, you have all this low-latency, high throughput traffic that has historically been moving around the LAN now being moved over the WAN. The highest impact is going to be there, and on the entry and exit point into your network. You’re going to see a possible bottleneck as organizations move more traffic off premise.
You now need to look at the network and ask, what are your routers? What are your connections from your ISP? Will they support this? Are there security implications that are going to come up? What is the overall WAN design?
Combined with the knowledge gap, those questions can make it challenging to know what workloads belong in the cloud and which should be kept on-premise.
Is having the right strategy and plan in place the biggest challenge?
Absolutely. The entire strategy piece is frequently missed because the cloud seems so simple. You say, ‘Oh, we need to turn out this new application, let’s use the cloud,’ since it’s so easy, or maybe it’s initially the lowest cost. But in the long-term, are you going to be able to sustain that? Is it a recurring cost that makes sense, or would it be better to invest in infrastructure that you may use long-term? These are things you need to determine.
What does IT need to do to support the changes in the network created by hybrid IT?
They need to do an analysis of what they have and understand their current infrastructure. There’s often a lot of aging infrastructure in place, and that can lead to other pitfalls when migrating workloads to the cloud.
Then there is making sure you have the correct protocols running that will be able to seamlessly move between on-premise infrastructure and the cloud. Sometimes that turns into a licensing conversation. IT organizations sometimes forget that no matter whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud, there’s software involved in making the communications and traffic decisions. For example, the protocols to make routing decisions in the cloud may not be natively included in the protocols you are using on-premise.
There’s no one-stop shop, and it’s a little bit more complicated than just going out and consuming cloud.
What are the important considerations that IT needs to “get right” to successfully deploy hybrid IT?
Start by knowing what you have. Understand everything you have, whether it’s infrastructure or cloud deployments. Get a grip on it.
Understand your footprint today, but also the goals of the organization and the projects you will be deploying in the next two to three years. The role that IT takes in an organization can be crucial here: does it take a backseat, or is it leading the organization?
Bring leaders from different parts of the organization into the hybrid IT discussion, whether it’s marketing, payroll or finance, to understand what model will enable their goals.
More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many managed IT service teams including our own can help you.
Ask an Expert Webinar
Want to learn more from Della Sara on hybrid IT and how it will affect your business? Join Della Sara and other Softchoice experts for 30 minutes on January 26th and register for our Ask an Expert Series focused on the network.