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Five obstacles holding back your hybrid cloud strategy

Overcoming these challenges is key to a successful cloud migration strategy

Cloud illustrations on a blue background with a ladder

IT leaders must address a range of challenges to meet increasingly demanding business and operational objectives today, as businesses strive to remain competitive. New service delivery models like hybrid cloud can be beneficial to businesses looking to keep up with changes in technology and rapid innovation.

In fact, a recent survey found that 86% of cloud decision makers say that their organisation's cloud strategy is multi-cloud, showing that there is appetite to take on a mixed cloud strategy to meet business demands.

A hybrid cloud leverages both public and private cloud models to provide an enterprise with an efficient, customised solution to meet its particular business needs. Hybrid cloud requires significant integration and coordination among the organisation's internal and external environments to properly address data, process, management and security requirements.

There are opportunities in moving to a hybrid cloud model to create better operational efficiencies, speedier application deployment and increased flexibility to respond to changing business requirements. 

However, when it comes to moving to a cloud model, there are some risks and challenges that need to be taken into account, aside from the well-known concerns about security. 91% of businesses think a hybrid cloud approach is the ideal cloud model to adopt, according to Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud Index, but despite overwhelming agreements about the benefits, the report found that only 19% of those surveyed had already deployed such a model.

Here are some common obstacles which may be holding back your own cloud strategy.

Complexity: With the explosion of web services, mobile devices and new technologies, managing the complexity of an expanding data centre environment across a hybrid cloud is a significant challenge. Choosing the right service offerings at the right service levels on different data management frameworks across a blend of cloud resources can be daunting.

IT agility: IT service delivery is about meeting the needs of the business. As those needs change, IT must adapt and respond quickly. For years, IT organisations have been working towards developing agility within the data centre. Now, as the public cloud is folded into company IT strategies, the capability to move applications, workloads and data among cloud resources requires connections between those resources - a cloud data fabric - to extend this agility to a hybrid cloud.

Data control: Businesses building their own data centres and private clouds can retain control of their data. Extending that environment to the public cloud necessitates giving up some control of infrastructure and applications, but the responsibility to control business data must remain firmly with the organisation. A hybrid cloud strategy must support the business and provide the right levels of data performance, cost, security, access, protection, storage and governance.

Skills: A recent report highlighted that finding IT talent specialising in hybrid IT is a challenge, with more than half of respondents saying that they are struggling to retain those with such skills in their organisation. But if a skills gap exists in an organisation, that shouldn't be seen as an obstacle to moving to a hybrid cloud model. Selecting the right consulting services partner to help design, deploy and manage the cloud environment can help address such a gap whilst still gaining the business benefits of a hybrid cloud, certainly in the short term.

Vendor lock-in: Although choosing a cloud service provider to complement a set of IT services is a means to deliver a flexible, dynamic environment, it doesn't necessarily mean ongoing flexibility among different cloud providers. For many organisations, cloud provider lock-in can be a significant hurdle to adopting a public cloud strategy, but the right set of management tools can help address this hurdle.

These challenges clearly represent significant obstacles that must be overcome in order to undertake a successful journey to the hybrid cloud. What’s more, when considering security concerns the equation becomes even more complex, with many businesses attesting these security challenges to be the most difficult to address due to rapidly altering cloud risk landscape. Together, the challenges can render hybrid cloud adoption strategies difficult to realise. 

However, for businesses looking to take advantage of the capabilities and services that hybrid cloud affords, none of these obstacles to adoption is insurmountable.

Rather than being viewed as barriers to adoption, the above challenges should only serve as points to address. With each warning sign properly catered to, a comprehensive strategy can be built comprising thorough research and understanding. This should make any hybrid cloud adoption strategy agile and flexible enough to cope with the unpredictability of the cloud journey and combat each challenge as it arises, allowing the risk landscape to be successfully navigated.

Further, as technology advances the issues around complexity and agility are sure to be smoothed out. For now, any potential challenges must be factored in when exploring the various options for migrating to the hybrid cloud.

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