Even as it’s become clear that enterprises are increasingly looking to the cloud to meet IT and business needs more efficiently and cost-effectively, it’s also become clear that migrating isn’t a trivial matter. While it may be simple for small organizations and subject matter experts to migrate to the cloud, it can take 5 to 10 years for a large-scale enterprise to make the complete transition.
To get firsthand knowledge of the state of enterprise cloud adoption today, AppViewX conducted an IT Innovation Survey at ONUG Fall 2016 in New York City. A surprising 50 percent of respondents stated that they have no plans to phase out their traditional data centers in the next 5 years. To thrive in this reality, enterprises need to accept that on-premises infrastructures are not going away any time soon.
Transitioning to the cloud raises several concerns. First, it can mean losing control of the enterprise’s data to a third party. It also raises data security questions that can be difficult to answer with certainty. The cloud promises improved agility and performance, but the possibility of applications going down for even a few minutes can have a huge impact on a company’s brand reputation, and again, this may be difficult to regulate in the cloud. Finally, companies may find that their choice of cloud providers is limited, further constraining their control.
Even if an enterprise overcomes these impediments, there is still the question of whether its applications are ready for the migration. Many IT operators forget that most of the applications in use today were not architected with the cloud in mind. Sure, there are workarounds, but these may involve considerable time, expense, and risk. The reality is that cloud usage creates an even bigger need for a more efficient data center.
In considering cloud vs. on-premises infrastructures, the best solution is to use both in an integrated way. The near-term solution for addressing cloud transition issues is the concept of hybrid cloud, where the on-prem and cloud environments work together cohesively to ensure data mobility. With a hybrid cloud infrastructure, enterprises can more easily ensure security, visibility, and control over their critical data across all environments—on-prem as well as private and public cloud. In fact, the IT Innovation Survey revealed that 73 percent of survey respondents believe that hybrid cloud drives innovation more than other infrastructures.
There has long been a belief that the cloud will outpace the traditional data center in the upcoming years. But based on the IT Innovation Survey results, we predict that data centers are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The cloud and data centers will work hand in hand to complement each other to ensure flexibility, efficiency, and security.
The key to ensuring agility and scalability for enterprises in this environment is automation. Scalability is built into hybrid data centers, but the only way a hybrid infrastructure can be agile is by automating both the on-prem and cloud environments completely. To make this work, enterprises cannot rely on slow and error-prone manual configurations and processes. To succeed with a hybrid cloud infrastructure, enterprises need a platform that creates easily leveraged, automated workflows for load balancing, security, application frameworks, L2/L3, and clouds.