By John Holland, TierPoint SVP, Sales
I always enjoy speaking with our clients because they shine a true, unbiased flashlight on our industry, particularly the real infrastructure challenges and how they approach to solve them. Recently, I was privileged to moderate a hybrid IT panel discussion featuring TierPoint clients in the retail and health care industries. Several themes emerged that illustrate why hybrid IT represents the next wave of Cloud computing.
Application Integration and Management Can Cause Severe Headaches
Panelists voiced frustration about the continuing complexity of managing applications. Concerns included security, latency and enterprise-wide compatibility among others. While Cloud computing addresses a lot of these challenges, it doesn’t solve all of them. Often, blending together Cloud, colocation with your own data centers will be the best way to deliver services your users need.
They cited email as an example. Managing email services can be very difficult and headache inducing. There are certain features, such as common directory, that simply have to be in place and work properly and then there are a myriad of other options (hosting some inboxes internally; some in the Cloud) that can come into play.
As a result, hybrid IT is a perfect fit for email applications, especially for organizations trying to consolidate several email systems into one. For these types of projects, hybrid IT powering Microsoft Office 365 is growing very popular.
New Demands on Internal IT
The massive adoption of Cloud services and the rising use of managed service providers (MSPs) has changed the roles of many internal IT staff. Yes, they may have more time to focus on strategic initiatives, but they also have to take on tasks related to contracts, writing service-level agreements and vendor management. As one panelist noted, IT is more of a project management role than it used to be. It can be even more difficult when you work with multiple vendors because if something goes wrong, you don’t know where to point the finger.
In this environment, metrics and monitoring become even more important to evaluate performance and gain insight on what is working and what might need revising. Hybrid IT will ultimately be a smarter way to work, allowing IT teams to adapt and thrive in their evolving roles. It is not about utilizing multiple platforms per se. It is about utilizing multiple platforms in a strategic, well-orchestrated manner that provides significant and measurable benefits. And in all candor, hybrid IT will make it clear if your service providers are delivering on their promises because a well-oiled hybrid IT solution will move the business forward, no questions asked.
Rising Numbers of Security Threats
Security was one of the major topics in the panel discussion about hybrid IT because the numbers of threats are increasing along with the potential for serious damages. Redundancy is one of hybrid IT’s greatest strengths because it can provide plentiful replication and online backup options. So while a company cannot control if they are attacked, they do have some control over whether they can recover.
Panelists also said they were more comfortable than ever to hand over security to a specialist. They reasoned that Security is a service provider’s business and source of revenue unlike, for example, a department store. The feeling was that a well secured and certified cloud provider can protect data better than most organizations because of the range of electronic and physical safeguards they employ.
Mixing AWS and Azure with a Cloud Service Provider Creates Smart Cost Controls
Panelists shared that many hybrid IT options, including utilizing AWS or Azure along with a company like TierPoint, ultimately give them more control over what they are buying, allowing them to concentrate their investments in the platforms and applications that deliver the most value. Hybrid IT provides an architecture that enables clients to use the platform that best fits in a given situation. Application testing and temporary projects are good examples because in those cases, it makes more sense to pay only for just those resources that are consumed. In other scenarios, a monthly subscription fee would be a better fit.
The Popularity of Disaster Recovery as a Service
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is one of hybrid IT’s strongest applications. It is often an organization’s first introduction to hybrid IT and sets the stage for additional hybrid IT opportunities. DRaaS is a major proof point for hybrid IT’s value and why hybrid IT will be increasingly attractive for businesses.
2017 is less than a month away. If I were to make an annual prediction for the year ahead, I am confident, based on speaking with so many of our clients recently, that hybrid IT will begin to become as mainstream as Cloud computing has become.
John Holland co-leads the company’s direct sales and channel sales efforts, connecting customer requirements with appropriate IT infrastructure solutions and guiding partner development strategies. As a key member of the TierPoint leadership team, John is tasked with driving aggressive corporate growth and ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction are met.