2020: the year of the hybrid
The sky’s the limit
One of the most defining trends of the last five years, cloud computing, continues to demonstrate substantial growth. With Gartner predicting that by 2025 80% of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centre, versus 10% today, and IDC forecasts suggesting that we’ll see investment increase at a rate of 6.9% per year to $90.9 billion by 2023, it would seem that there’s little sign of it slowing.
However, for the majority, the commitment to ‘pure’ or multi-tenant cloud is being eschewed in lieu of hybrid models, with 75% of organisations expected to have deployed a hybrid or multi-cloud model by the end of 2020 and 92% of IT decision-makers pointing to this type of infrastructure as the one which best meets their needs.
Best of both worlds
There are a number of reasons behind this trend, most notably around flexibility and cost. While cloud per se has been billed as a low cost, high scalability alternative to on premise deployments, the reality is that moving an entire infrastructure, wholesale, to the cloud, can be expensive, resource-intensive, and potentially risky if the timing isn’t right.
In contrast, hybrid cloud has gained momentum because it typically delivers all of the benefits of cloud, but crucially, without the cost and constraints. Combining the best of both worlds, it offers greater total cost of ownership, scale and speed, , but without the need to conduct arduous data conversions and endure business disruption.
Research firm, MarketsandMarkets echoes this sentiment, suggesting that demand for hybrid cloud is driven primarily by cost efficiency, scalability, agility and security, and that this segment of the cloud market will grow from $44.6 billion in 2018 to $97.6 billion by 2023. In our experience, customers opt for a hybrid cloud for five key reasons as outlined below:
A hybrid cloud model allows a more personalized approach to upgrading or enhancing key systems. Rather than having to move to a new version, or undertake swathes of data migration, it delivers all of the scale and security of cloud, but crucially offers the flexibility to allow you to use existing systems in the format you have designed, including modifications. As well as being fully supported, development and upgrades can be managed as part of a managed service model to unlock new functionality at the right time.
Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
As well as providing hosted services at a fraction of the cost of large cloud providers, a hybrid approach also bypasses many of the soft costs involved in a wholesale move to the cloud. The time and IT resources involved in a move to a pure cloud model are mitigated and can be deployed into digital transformation or other value-add projects.
Because a hybrid approach involves synchronizing your data on the Cloud, versus migrating your infrastructure, the costs are minimal. A hybrid cloud can be set up and delivered quickly in order to provide immediate benefits, such as Business Intelligence, APIs, and mobility.
While the promise of the cloud is automated scale at the push of a button, the complex nature of projects means that it can often take some time to realize this.
Making the shift to a cloud environment often presents very real challenges around data migration and mobility, particularly around business critical data. Migrating your data to a hybrid cloud platform removes much of the cost and complexity of data conversation resulting in a smoother transition and nominal downtime
Maintain existing functionality
For many companies, stripping out modifications that they rely heavily on to support business performance simply isn’t an option. Yet it’s a necessary element of a pure cloud migration. For those entrenched in large scale transformation, the timing may well be appropriate to make this move. However, for many, this is simply too big and risky a leap to take. Opting for a hybrid cloud model means maintaining existing systems and maximising continuity, while taking advantage of powerful new applications, world-class security and virtually unlimited extensibility
One size doesn’t fit all
Ultimately the modern business is digital, and cloud is a means of facilitating the very best technology to propel business performance. But one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. While some are seeing huge benefits in a wholesale move to the cloud, for the 92% of businesses looking for scale with flexibility, it seems that a hybrid approach is the right one to opt for in 2020.