Complex cloud projects: Hybrid IT is not available for free

Complex cloud projects: Hybrid IT is not available for free


Orchestrating hybrid cloud scenarios needs to be learned – users only get the desired agility and flexibility if they invest a little. […]

The digital transformation is in full swing at German companies, and hybrid cloud scenarios are playing an increasingly important role in this. These are the most important findings of the study “Hybrid IT 2021” by IDG Research Services and COMPUTERWOCHE in cooperation with Dell, Intel, Google, FNT, Syntax Systems and USU.

More than 80 percent of the respondents have a digitization strategy or a dedicated roadmap for the digitization process. Organizational forms, business models and thus also business and IT processes are therefore in the midst of a profound change. In this respect, the transformation is no longer a lip service and also not a project that so far exists only in the blueprints of the decision-makers, but it is a reality.

The situation is similar when it comes to cloud usage. For around 70 percent of the companies, an IT reference model from the cloud of any kind is now a living practice. This no longer only applies to niche applications in the gray area between IT organization and department – keyword shadow IT. More and more often, the cloud is also becoming the basic infrastructure for core applications. However, more than half of the users (57 percent) still favor the more isolated model of a private cloud. However, the approaches of the hybrid cloud and the public cloud have also already found their way into 43 percent of the respondents – and the trend is rising.

However, it is interesting for the market observer not only to know that the general commitment of companies to the cloud is very high, but also to what extent the cloud contributes to the most important expectations of IT management. After all, IT must become even faster and more agile, more cost-efficient and, if possible, even more secure. This is exactly what the majority of the study participants call this catalog of requirements.

The first point to be noted here is that the mantra of cost reduction is largely taken into account. Almost half of the respondents state that the goal of being able to book lower IT costs has been achieved. The approval ratings are even higher when it comes to more flexible costs (Pay as you go), where 59 percent see an improvement. The IT management disciplines of flexible resource use, backup and recovery, automatic software updates and standardization also performed very well in the ranking, with an average of two-thirds of users seeing an improvement in their processes and workflows.

But back to the hybrid cloud: when it is introduced, 56 percent of companies initially work with a pilot project, another 41 percent refer to a dedicated “lighthouse project”. Both are classic approaches and hardly surprising in this respect. Almost 22 percent of the study participants refer to a “lift & shift” approach, i.e. the encapsulation or containerization of existing systems. This clearly shows that customers are still relatively cautious when it comes to modernizing and migrating old legacy applications. According to the study, the preferred partners for the introduction of a hybrid cloud are primarily the relevant cloud service providers and the relevant consulting firms.

The current IDG study also clearly documents the current phase of change in IT in many companies. After a cloud-first, cloud-only or general digitization strategy has been adopted almost everywhere, the responsible CIO must now deliver. In this context, most IT decision-makers have also internalized that there are usually no simple solutions and answers. The study results clearly show that users are adapting to a new kind of complexity.

The handling of old proprietary application silos is gradually being replaced by hybrid cloud management. But this does not work like “electricity from the socket”. More than half of the users expect that their IT operations will become more complex as a result of the migration to a hybrid cloud. An interesting aspect here is also that for large companies, the proportion of those who fear the complexity risk is the highest at almost two-thirds.

However, the orchestration of hybrid cloud services is both a management task and a question of the application of appropriate technologies. But how do companies manage a hybrid IT environment? Who is responsible for this? Almost half (48 percent) of the study participants locate this responsibility with their own internal IT department, another 43 percent bring a group-owned IT service provider into play.

With a share of 30 percent, the use of several external service providers is also weighted relatively high, which in daily practice, however, should probably result in the so-called SIAM model in most cases – that is, a responsible provider who controls all cloud services in a leading manner.

The tools and methods used to control a hybrid IT environment are also exciting. Almost 35 percent of companies rely on automated processes, almost as many users rely on their own documentation solutions. Specially trained cloud teams, dedicated hybrid IT policies and the use of automation tools, which are also used by more than 30 percent of companies, have almost the same importance.

A more detailed look at the relevance of selection criteria for tools for managing hybrid IT environments shows that appropriate analysis and process functionalities are by far the most important for users. This is followed by aspects such as financial management, integration capability and service automation. But above all, another sentiment is remarkable: according to most CIOs, an efficient management tool must be vendor-neutral and therefore multi-cloud-capable.

In summary, the current study shows that IT and thus IT operations are becoming more agile in the course of change, but also (again) more demanding. The lead for the implementation of the transformation has clearly migrated back from the departments to the CIOs, who are now required above all in their classic core competencies: clean technology management and competence in the management of projects and service providers – and competence in the management and motivation of employees who should be open to the upcoming changes.

Significantly more than 80 percent of the respondents attest to a high degree of maturity in hybrid IT, both for their own corporate strategy and business models, as well as in particular for managers and employees. In other words, the vast majority of companies in Germany are striving for a slow but sustainable transition from old core applications to cloud-native applications, while at the same time focusing on containers, microservices and APIs as well as Kubernetes as a new technology basis for the application landscape.

*Gerhard Holzwart started as editor of COMPUTERWOCHE in 1990 and headed the Company &Markets department there from 1996.  From 2005, he was responsible for the area of congresses and specialist events of IDG Business Media GmbH and expanded “IDG Events” to one of the leading providers of ICT specialist events in Germany with around 80 conferences per year. Gerhard Holzwart has been the managing partner of h&g Editors GmbH since 2010 and works in this function as an event producer, direct marketing specialist and ICT specialist editor.

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