By Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering
Here’s an interesting blog on skills needed by federal IT pros. My team and I run into hybrid IT more and more frequently, and it’s good for clients to gain these needed skills.
It seems the federal IT world has gone hybrid, keeping some applications on-premises and migrating others to the cloud. Some are now taking advantage of the economy of scale that the cloud provides while maintaining in-house control of other mission-critical applications.
Hybrid IT can compound an already formidable network management challenge facing federal administrators. First, keeping an eye on both on-premises and off-premises systems and applications can be a tall order for even the most seasoned IT professional. Adding to the complexity is the fact that some engineers and administrators are now required to manage their agency’s relationship with external cloud service providers, while also maintaining acceptable levels of service quality, and not compromising security.
How can IT professionals successfully adapt to this strange new world? How can agencies help their staff along the path toward success?
Evolve Existing Skills, and Acquire New Ones
Typically, IT professionals love learning about new technologies and seeing how they can apply them to help their organizations or solve complex problems. That hunger can serve them well in a hybrid IT environment.
Consider investing in learning about new solutions to help staff manage these environments. They can familiarize themselves with the terminology and the concepts, and then move into gaining a greater understanding of areas like software-defined constructs, containers, microservices, etc.
IT is no longer just about managing the network; it’s also about managing business relationships. IT professionals must serve as the foundational cornerstones being developed between their agencies and cloud providers.
Find a Single Point of Truth
The greatest challenges that administrators managing a hybrid IT environment face may be lack of visibility. It can be difficult to track down the root of the problem. Is the issue in-house, or is it at the host location? If it’s the latter, who’s responsible for troubleshooting?
It’s important to adopt a management and monitoring mindset that provides visibility across the entire IT landscape. A “single point of truth” can help show where the fault lies, so it can be quickly addressed.
This approach helps bring clarity, transparency, and total visibility to an enormously complex IT infrastructure. In doing so, it may make them far easier to manage. Another potential benefit is strengthening the relationship between the agency and its cloud partners, because everyone can get on the same page.
Adopting a hybrid IT architecture can be extraordinarily beneficial. Hybrid IT may enable agencies to scale IT resources up or down with ease, achieve greater agility and cost efficiencies, and choose from best-in-class cloud service providers to satisfy their unique needs.
Still, we cannot discount these added complexities and challenges that hybrid IT may bring. Ask the question, “Are my skills and knowledge up to par when it comes to visibility and understanding of hybrid IT networks?” There will most likely be additional hurdles that must be overcome. After all, that’s usually what happens anytime IT professionals venture into a strange new world. Make sure you’re properly equipped to address these challenges.
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