Why are CIOs demanding hybrid cloud?

Cloud is big business. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is approaching $10 billion annual revenue. Microsoft Azure is approaching $3bn annual revenue. Then there’s Oracle Cloud, positioning themselves as the enterprise cloud for customers.

When a virtualisation giant like VMware and a cloud giant like AWS partner at an engineering level to deliver VMware on AWS bare metal so that customers can have a seamless hybrid cloud experience, you know the hybrid cloud model is for real.

If you are a VP/director of infrastructure, or an enterprise architect/DevOps manager within an organisation, there is a 90% probability that your CIO has demanded you to design and execute a hybrid cloud model. It’s not just because everyone else is using or planning to use public cloud - there are real genuine reasons behind that demand.

In my role, I’m involved early in the sales process. It gives me the opportunity to hear first hand from CIOs on what their pain points and needs are.

Here’s the spirit of some of these conversations to give you a sense of why they are demanding a hybrid cloud model.

Better insights and analytics

The CIO of a shoe manufacturer shared: “My number one goal is to get better insights into our sales data and provide those analytics faster to our sales and marketing teams. We need to identify sales patterns in various geographies, correlate them with many other variables and come up with insights that reveal where and how our marketing and sales can grow top line. But we can’t do the analytics fast enough because my infrastructure is the bottleneck. We have a massive database with approximately 30 TB of data in it.”

Perhaps we can pick a leaf out of agile methodology and adopt hybrid cloud in multiple sprints

“It takes two weeks to get access to copies of that VLDB before my analytics team can even run reports and analytics. I need to get the entire analytics done in two days. We will not be able to achieve it unless my analytics team can spin up large compute infrastructure on demand, whenever they want to. And they will also need multiple copies of that 30 TB VLDB on demand in a self-service manner.

"I don’t want to invest in infrastructure in my data centre. I want them to burst, once a month for two days, to Oracle Cloud or AWS, and get the job done in the cloud. This is why I want them to come up with hybrid cloud architecture and increase the speed at which analytics can be done. This is the only way we can beat our competition, and accelerate our top line growth and market share.”

Production data for compliance

The CIO of a government organisation detailed what his needs were: “I have a very simple need. I have sunk costs in two data centres so I will continue to use them at least for the next two years. Our compliance team needs a third copy of production data outside of these data centres.

"Currently my team is creating tapes with seven year data retention and has been spending north of $10,000 per month for tape related infrastructure, tape operations, and Iron Mountain costs. That’s not the only problem. I need to prove that I can do restores from these tapes once a month. It consumes significant resources – both human and infrastructure, and those restores from tapes are slow and painful.

“I asked my backup team to get rid of tapes. Everyone else seems to be leveraging scalable and cheap cloud object storage. I demanded my backup team to come up with an architecture that can leverage cloud object storage for the third copy, eliminate tapes completely, and achieve faster restore tests within the cloud every month. This is where my journey with hybrid cloud will begin within the next 3-6 months.”

Reduced time to market

The CIO of a transportation organisation talked me through his need: “I don’t want to run any packaged applications in my data centre,” he said. “If the vendor who created those packaged apps offers it as a SaaS, I want to use the SaaS offering. We have already migrated our on premise Microsoft Exchange & SharePoint to Office 365.

"We have a critical Oracle EBS application that we are in the process of migrating to Oracle Cloud. We have custom applications that we have developed and they will continue to stay in our data centre.

“But I am challenging my DevOps team to do all test and dev in the cloud. Why not burst into cloud for test and dev, parallelise testing in the cloud with multiple test environments, and decrease the application release cycles? Our ability to reduce time to market new features and capabilities for our customers will have a direct impact on top line and market share.”

Different clouds for different applications

The majority of organisations are very concerned about cloud security.

The CIO of a very large wealth management firm has crossed the chasm, however. Here is what he had to share: “My team has done their due diligence and has come to the conclusion that we have the right tools and processes to extend our security and governance model to AWS. In fact, our single sign-on for all applications, and identity governance is completely deployed in AWS using SailPoint open identity platform.

“My roadmap is to shift most of data management use cases to adopt hybrid cloud architecture,” he added. “As an example – today we backup and replicate to a second data centre where we have to maintain compute, network, storage, and firewalls. I don’t want any of that infrastructure. It just does not make any sense for us to have so much infrastructure sitting idle waiting for a DR or DR test at the DR site. I want all DR, DR testing, and dev test to happen using on-demand cloud. I am also not married to one cloud. I want my team to pick and choose different clouds for different applications or use cases.”

These are just some of the examples that highlight why there is a demand amongst many CIOs to create a hybrid cloud architecture and execute quickly.

By accelerating projects in the hybrid cloud, an organisation can experience uplift in top line revenue and market share growth. It gives you the ability to focus on applications instead of spending too much time and money on the underlying infrastructure’s capacity management.

There is no denying that a move to hybrid cloud is a major undertaking, but if approached correctly and gradually it can offer real value to organisations. Perhaps we can pick a leaf out of agile methodology and adopt hybrid cloud in multiple sprints.

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