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Compared with IT even 18 months ago, we’ve come a long way. The hybrid enterprise is the new kid on the block – largely due to advances in ‘as-a-service’ solutions changing the way organisations approach their storage, application management and networks.
It’s important to first clarify what we mean by the hybrid enterprise. In short, it is a mix of on-premise and cloud/SaaS apps that use MPLS and public Internet connections. The data and applications are located in a combination of data centres, branch offices or the cloud, depending on which location is most efficient for them to run and be retrieved by end-users.
But what is the real deal with the hybrid enterprise? Let’s looks at some of the assumptions that can trip people up when it comes to the hybrid enterprise.
Assumption #1: We’re still waiting for the hybrid enterprise to arrive
If you are running any SaaS, IaaS or PaaS solutions, you are potentially running a hybrid cloud solution and well on the way to becoming a hybrid enterprise.
For those still in doubt, the below figures further support the arrival of the hybrid enterprise:
- Globally 62% of employees work in multiple locations
- 51% of global organisations cite application complexity as their primary challenge
- 52% of organisations have more than 50% of their corporate data outside the data centre
While this shows the hybrid enterprise is here, it also highlights the challenges faced by the IT department as the complexity of IT grows. The IT department now has to re-think how it manages its visibility and control to ensure that company data and application performance are not jeopardised by multiple storage locations.
Assumption #2: SaaS performance is down to the vendor
While SaaS solutions provide a lot of benefits straight ‘out-the-box’, they are just a service.
The delivery of these services is still the responsibility of the CIO. It can sometimes be tricky to deliver an application when it is hosted on a third-party data centre, over which the IT department has no visibility or control. To overcome this issue, the IT department needs to work with the vendor to ensure they meet the required security levels and understand how they can optimise their network for delivery of the service to end-users.
Assumption #3: Any solution will work with the hybrid enterprise
There is no beating around the bush, closed solutions designed to work on optimisation, visibility and control in independent siloes will just not work with the hybrid enterprise. This model only offers a partial view of what is going on with IT and when we are talking about multi-location, multi-platform solutions, it will not offer much valuable insight.
Hybrid enterprises need a single point of reference that shows everything, from an application stack’s current status, through to the database, network and everything in-between. Only by providing a complete picture that shows the true user experience, will the IT department be able to run a successful hybrid enterprise.
Assumption #4: WAN bandwidth is cheap so no longer important
When the cost of WAN bandwidth began to fall, some thought that total bandwidth costs would eventually be negligible. As time has shown though, this not the case. While it is true the price per Mbps is decreasing, the amount of bandwidth hybrid enterprises are consuming is increasing at least the same rate, if not faster.
Many organisations are now storing data outside of the main data centre so data has less distance to travel. But when you have data stored everywhere, such as remote data centres, branch offices, and even retail locations, new risks such as security and loss due to system failures become more of a threat.
Operating multiple data centres means data will often be replicated between them, using unnecessary amounts of WAN bandwidth, which in turn adds to latency issues and does not solve the problem.
Latency is therefore an issue as it is based on the speed of light, which is a universal constant. There is only so much that can be done to reduce latency and it will always be a factor in application performance, but it can be managed.
How can these issues be overcome?
This does not have to be the case. New technologies that allow visibility and control from one performance management platform mean that even in the hybrid enterprise, with multiple locations housing different apps and data, everything can be stored securely in the central data centre.
By centralising the disparate data, the IT department can manage it from one central hub and reduce costs of on-site IT support. By delivering business-critical information at local speeds, ensure it is delivered securely along with identify/repair any business-continuity problems that occur – this will ultimately increase productivity and end-user experience to gain greater visibility and performance enhancement.