Having your own server in the basement is perhaps not only a security for the IT department but also a prerequisite for the business. There are many businesses with a pre-cloud IT backlog that simply can't migrate overnight, for example because they rely on an old business system or some other legacy application. Hybrid IT is the solution that ties the cloud together with server-based legacy systems. Kent Ekensteen is a senior consultant at AddPro and has seen far too many IT managers clinging to legacy systems, missing out on the benefits of moving towards a hybrid IT environment.
The hybrid journey has several triggers
Moving IT to the cloud is not something companies do for fun. Instead, the move is driven by a number of incentives. One very common incentive is that the hardware in your own server room is outdated. Service contracts and warranties have expired and it's time to reinvest. Another common trigger is that software and platforms have become obsolete and need to be upgraded.
- After 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. The lack of further feature or security updates will leave the platforms vulnerable to attack as well as degraded functionality. That, coupled with old computers, will actualize the move to the cloud for many companies, Kent says.
Speed bumps and obscured curves
In Kent's experience, most customers he meets have concerns about hybrid IT. First and foremost, stability and speed are concerns. With servers in the cloud, IT relinquishes control of the hardware and infrastructure, which can be a pain. The next gut issue that usually comes up in the discussion is whether the company's data is secure in the cloud.
Building an on-prem solution with the same performance and data security as one of the major cloud providers, with its global resources, is a challenge for a local IT department, to say the least. Not least given the budget.
- A common question is "how reliable is the cloud?". IT is worried about what will happen if the cloud goes down but forgets that their own server room is usually more vulnerable to, for example, a power outage. Data is not automatically more secure and accessible on-prem than in the cloud, rather the opposite.
Data security is enhanced in a hybrid solution
It's no contradiction that data is more secure in the cloud. But cloud providers displaying certificates doesn't always convince. Nevertheless, certificates are proof of active work on security and reliability. The challenge of protecting data from hackers is just as important and extensive for a server in the basement as in the cloud.
- Today, no one has an on-prem mail server. Ten years ago it was a hot discussion but today it is no longer an issue. Virtually everyone has a cloud-based mail server and trusts it won't be hacked. I think in two or three years the same attitude will extend to data," Kent reasons.
The physical security of the cloud
Contrary to popular belief, the cloud is not completely decoupled from the physical world. The cloud lives in data halls around the world and, like your data centre, is at risk of power outages, fire and flooding. But what about your power supply and fire protection? Are you mirroring all your data capacity to another building in another city or region? What redundancy have you built into your on-premises solution?
You don't buy a one-way ticket for the hybrid journey
Kent's absolute hottest tip for those reviewing their business IT environment is to simply try cloud and hybrid IT in a test environment to experience the benefits. In a hybrid environment, you don't need to calculate capacity needs in six or twelve months. Resources can be purchased "on tap" and easily increased and decreased as needed.
- When it comes to hybrid solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Does your application work best in the cloud or on a physical server? Just give it a try. If it doesn't work, just back off. Perhaps the optimal solution is to have the platform on-prem and the data in the cloud. Building hybrid IT allows legacy business-critical systems to benefit from the cloud and the security it offers, Kent concludes.
Do you have the tools you need to build a secure and flexible IT environment that meets your organisation's and your users' requirements for a modern workplace? I workshops HybridizeIT you'll get to try just that - building an actual and working hybrid IT environment. Book a workshop today and lift your IT into the future.