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Hybrid Cloud – Does it Even Matter to IT Admins?

Level 13

Quite a few pundits including myself have mentioned that 2015 will be the year of hybrid cloud. But what exactly is hybrid cloud? Ask one hundred IT Pros and you’ll probably get one hundred differing answers. Check out some of the comments on the hybrid cloud post by our thwack Ambassador, amitace, aka @amitpanchal76 on Twitter.

One way to think of hybrid cloud is that some IT services will be fulfilled and supported by the in-house IT department and some IT services will be fulfilled and supported by someone outside of the in-house IT department. These IT services can be infrastructure, platforms, and software. And they can be requested and consumed at any given time from any given place. The preferable means of consumption is via a self-service portal with an associated marketplace, which aggregates all the IT services. Companies that have already adopted hybrid cloud strategies include Coca-Cola and Anthem.

Hybrid cloud matters to IT admins, even if your company currently has no plans for IT services fulfilled and supported by someone outside of your IT department mainly because it will be great for your IT career. Think of it as an investment in yourself. The IT learning curve remains unchanged: (1) understand the technologies, (2) develop and hone the requisite skills, and (3) maximize your utility to the business.

It’s never a bad idea to associate yourself with a technology trend that has research and development, plus capital investment legs. The last time I saw a similar technology trend to the hybrid cloud trend was when virtualization arrived. So ask yourself do you want a new IT career path? If so, hybrid cloud will provide you plenty of opportunities in 2015. And that’s why it matters.

Level 8

I would expand on the definition of hybrid cloud.  If a company is using internal private cloud and external cloud services providers, they may have a multiple cloud environment, but not necessarily a hybrid cloud.  This would be analogous to a having two different data centers.  As an aside, I think multi-cloud is a more prevalent use case today.

In my mind, you have a hybrid cloud when you are using an internal private and external public cloud as a single virtual entity.  For example, for a three tier app, the database and application servers might in the internal private cloud for data security reasons, but the presentation (web) servers are hosting within a public cloud.  In other words, everything is in the same "datacenter".

What does everyone else think?

Level 13

Great points @bentao. Agreed that hybrid cloud definitely spreads an application's tiers across multiple, different service providers including internal IT and external service providers. It's focused around the integration of all these internal / external providers of infrastructure, platform, and software services to deliver a seamless application experience to the end user.

Level 13

Relevant to the discussion here, an interesting article from Ted Chamberlin (@tchamberlin on Twitter) on "Why 2015 will NOT be a game-changing year in cloud." Definitely worth a read.

Level 9

From a career perspective, you would be crazy to ignore the cloud. It's not a question of IF management will ask you about, rather when will they ask you. If management sees everyone else going in that direction, they are going to assume it's a good thing for your organization and you need to be prepared to have an intelligent discussion about the pros and cons, what applications are candidates, how it will be managed, how it will affect IT in terms of personnel, etc.

IT has been and always will be a changing and evolving entity. To not stay on top of new technology makes you expendable - especially since to newbies to the industry, it will be new technology - it will be the norm.

Level 13

Great points! Thank you for your comment pzjones. Technology inertia is tough to overcome but when it does, it's usually an avalanche of "in with the new" and "out with the old" management actions. Experience and expertise do count for something but needs to adapt to change and evolve as you've stated.

Level 13

Here are additional tips from three well-connected IT pros - Geek Speak: Three SMEs Share Their E’s For Clou... | thwack

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