A single public cloud or on-prem only environment is no longer adequate for businesses dealing with explosive levels of data, abiding by security and regulatory requirements, and managing mission-critical applications. “Our studies have found that 99% of organisations in India are using varied combinations of hybrid cloud architecture,” said Viswanath Ramaswamy, vice-president, Technology, IBM Technology Sales, IBM India/South Asia. Thus, hybrid clouds have come to be the new reality.
The question now before companies is of how to move from mere adoption of hybrid cloud to truly unlocking transformational business value from it – or, as IBM defines it, “mastering” hybrid cloud.But what does it mean to master hybrid cloud?
In an interview with FE in which he threw light on these issues, Ramaswamy cited the example of several Indian companies that are building hybrid cloud capabilities to improve business performance. Bharti Airtel is working with IBM and Red Hat to build its new telco network cloud, using hybrid cloud and cognitive enterprise capabilities to deliver better customer experience. The Godrej Group has deployed IBM cloud solutions which are expected to help them save 10% on the total cost of ownership over five years, along with ensuring zero security incidents and a 100% increase in disaster recovery coverage.
In Ramaswamy’s opinion, mastery of hybrid cloud fundamentally improves —and even transforms—business performance. If built correctly, it leads to seamless orchestration, management, and application portability across cloud environments. “As we work with clients across the world, we have identified five common challenges they face in the journey to hybrid cloud,” he says. One, as businesses rushed to get more of their products and services online during the pandemic, many of them had to deal with multiple clouds to accommodate varied workloads, making the IT architecture more complex and costly, less secure, and less likely to deliver outcomes. Two, when people from different cloud operations are brought together, it often leads to work getting done in silos. And with talent shortages leaving companies with too few developers and engineers to go around, their resources prove inadequate.
Three, with unintegrated cloud components, the security risk has gone up. Four, the cost of moving data is a financial impediment executives face – with some stating that the costs could go up by as much as 50%. Five, organisations are overwhelmed by the number of ecosystem partners involved in their hybrid cloud journey.
So, the question arises: how can organisations strategise to overcome these challenges? “Organisations must make concerted efforts in a few key areas to deal with these issues. They must move away from a “hybrid of clouds” to a single, integrated hybrid cloud platform. And instead of discrete components, they need to have a complete system that dramatically improves software application development and production,” opines Ramaswamy. Also, it must be ensured that employees have the critical cloud skills needed to do their work efficiently across a single hybrid cloud operating model.
According to him, it is imperative to develop a unified security programme that transforms the company culture into being security-aware and putting security first. Also, cloud costs must be managed holistically to assess how and where cloud services are being consumed across the enterprise, as it allows business priorities to be matched with optimised cloud costs. Finally, says Ramaswamy, all ecosystem partners must be brought together to embrace open innovation and co-creation through an aligned strategy for the success of a programme.