The Path to a Hybrid IT Environment

Andrew Sherman, VP of Advanced Consulting, Presidio
04/01/14 at 10:42 am

When I began my career in technology in 1999, companies were establishing their web presence.  I was in sales back then and the number of servers bought to support websites was staggering.  If you were in the industry at that time, I’m sure you remember.  If your company wasn’t on the web, it was on the road to the web.  If you had just a smidgen of HTML programming experience, you suddenly found yourself as the web administrator. 

Similarly today, everyone seems to have a ‘cloud’ initiative of some sort.  If you aren’t “in the cloud”, you are figuring out how to get there. I’ve witnessed three main approaches over the last year.

The build-it-and-they-will-(not)-come approach is the most common traditionally and also seems to be the one that is the most challenged.   The advantage to this approach is that you are ready to go the moment the build is complete.  The challenges involve both the significant upfront investment required to build the requisite capacity as well as the sales and customer service focus to get tenants to use the service offered.  I have seen many organizations build these beautiful infrastructures only to see their tens of millions of dollars sit idle as the ‘mandated’ constituents didn’t show up at the doors when they opened.  I also spoke with one client recently who was entertaining this approach and he stated emphatically that he didn’t want to have to figure out how to “sell” the capacity that he built.  Most enterprises haven’t built their teams to this specification.  

The just-about-in-time approach involves adding resources as the business requests new features or services. The advantage of this approach is that you don’t have the massive up-front investment.  However, the challenge involves timing as capacity to support new initiatives can delay resource availability. It is not uncommon for it to take six months once a need is identified to spin up new capacity.  This approach can really dampen business agility.

The ‘round-to-it’ approach is where the organization has no interest in moving forward until absolutely forced to do so.  These are the organizations that are just now getting on the web.  One can see the challenges with this model easy enough.

The better path Presidio believes is to take an application-focused and business outcomes approach.  Each application can require different levels of availability, may serve different constituencies, and may have different environmental requirements. The way applications are delivered can heavily impact business outcomes. Since applications are the central reason for the datacenter and cloud, we should treat them as such.  Presidio architects solutions that support applications.  Deciding the best platform based on the application is not a new concept.  Presidio’s practical approach to building cloud solutions can enable organizations to build out the right kind of private clouds and then extend them based on the application and business requirements of an organization. This is the path to a hybrid IT environment, which is what cloud is really all about -- a flexible and scalable architecture in which applications can be moved to in order to take advantage of consumption economics and availability of resources.

Presidio’s answer is to create the right cloud blend for our client’s unique business and application requirements. This can include the Presidio Managed Cloud, which allows a single portal for resource catalog of both private and public cloud assets, and management of both private and public via of-the-shelf products like Cliqr today as well as Cisco Intercloud fabric when it is available. Presidio can also create a Capacity on Demand model that enables an on-demand private cloud that has the benefits and convenience of a pay as you grow model of public cloud. Each solution is about understanding the application and mapping the delivery model to business outcomes.

Just like web is now pervasive so too will be cloud. The difference is some will get there faster and more effectively than others based on their strategy.

My money is on those that start with business outcomes and application requirements.