Why Are CIOs Demanding Hybrid Cloud?

Amazon AWS is approaching $10 billion annual revenue, Microsoft Azure is approaching $3 billion annual revenue, Oracle Cloud is positioning themselves as THE enterprise cloud for customers. When a virtualization giant like VMware and a cloud giant like AWS partner at an engineering level to deliver VMware on AWS bare metal, so that customers can have a seamless hybrid cloud experience, you know hybrid cloud model is for real.

If you are a VP/Director of infrastructure, or an Enterprise Architect/DevOps Manager in your organization, there is a 90% probability that your CIO has demanded you to design and execute a hybrid cloud model. It’s not because everyone else is using or planning to use public cloud. There are real genuine reasons behind that demand.

I am fortunate to be pulled into many customer conversations early in the sales cycles where we get an opportunity to talk to CIO or a CTO. I want to share the spirit of some of these conversations to give you a sense of why they are demanding a hybrid cloud model.

shoeA CIO of a shoe manufacturing organization shared, “ My #1 goal is to get better insights into our sales data and provide those analytics faster to our sales and marketing organization. We need to identify sales patterns in various geographies, correlate them with many other variables and come up with insights that reveal where and how our marketing and sales can grow top line. But we can’t do the analytics fast enough because my infrastructure is the bottleneck. We have a massive database with approximately 30 TB of data in it.

“Every month, it takes 2 weeks to get access to copies of that VLDB before my analytics team can even run reports and analytics. I need to get the entire analytics done in 2 days. We will not be able to achieve it unless my analytics team can spin up large compute infrastructure on demand, whenever they want to. And they will also need multiple copies of that 30 TB VLDB on demand in a self service manner. I don’t want to invest in infrastructure in my data center. I want them to burst, once a month for 2 days, to Oracle Cloud or AWS, and get the job done in the cloud. This is why I want them to come up with a hybrid cloud architecture and increase the speed at which analytics can be done. This is the only way we can beat our competition, and accelerate our top line growth and market share.”

govtAnother CIO of a government organization shared, “I have a very simple need. I have sunk costs in 2 data centers so I will continue to use them at least for the next 24 months. Our compliance needs are a 3rd copy of production data outside of these 2 data centers. Currently my team is creating tapes with 7 year data retention and has been spending north of $10,000 per month for tape related infrastructure, tape operations, and iron mountain costs. That’s not the only problem. I need to prove that I can do restores from these tapes once a month. It consumes significant resources – both human and infrastructure, and those restores from tapes are slow and painful. I asked my backup team to get rid of tapes. Everyone else seems to be leveraging scalable and cheap cloud object storage. I demanded my backup team to come up with an architecture that can leverage cloud object storage for 3rd copy, eliminate tapes completely, and achieve faster restore tests within the cloud every month. This is where my journey with hybrid cloud will begin within the next 3 to 6 months.”

A CIO of a transportation organization added, “I don’t want to run any packaged applications in my data center. If the vendor who created those packaged apps offer it as a SaaS, I want to use the SaaS offering. We have already migrated our on premise Microsoft Exchange & Sharepoint to Office 365. We have a critical Oracle EBS application that we are in the process of migrating to Oracle Cloud. We have custom applications that we have developed and they will continue to stay in our data center. But I am challenging my DevOps team to do all test dev in cloud. Why not burst into cloud for test dev, parallelize testing in cloud with multiple test environments, and decrease the application release cycles? Our ability to reduce time to market new features and capabilities for our customers will have a direct impact on top line and market share.”

Most organizations are scared about security in cloud. However the CIO of a very large wealth management firm has crossed the chasm. Here is what he had to share. “My team has done their due diligence and has come to the conclusion that we have the right tools and processes to extend our security and governance model to AWS. In fact our single sign-on for all applications, and identity governance is completely deployed in AWS using SailPoint open identity platform. My roadmap is to shift most of data management use cases to adopt hybrid cloud architecture. As an example – today we backup and replicate to a second data center where we have to maintain compute, network, storage, firewalls. I don’t want any of that infrastructure. It just does not make any sense for us to have so much infrastructure sitting idle waiting for a DR or DR test at the DR site. I want all DR, DR testing, and dev test to happen using on-demand cloud. I am also not married to one cloud. I want my team to pick and choose different clouds for different applications or use cases.”

And for some organizations, hybrid cloud means keeping some production applications on-premises and some in cloud. Organizations pick and choose which apps stay on-site and which go live in cloud. For example – the applications that have dependency on legacy systems running on non-intel machines are automatic candidates to stay on premises. If the development teams are planning to create a brand new applications using Containers & NO-SQL database like Mongo DB, those new applications are good candidates to be developed and go live in public cloud which offers a complete platform to be consumed as a service.

These are some of the examples I wanted to share with you to show why there is a big push to create a hybrid cloud architecture and execute quickly. People can accelerate their projects in hybrid cloud and this has a direct impact on an organization’s top line revenue & market share growth. It gives you the ability to focus on applications instead of spending too much time and money on the underlying infrastructure’s capacity management.

There is no denying that this is a major undertaking. But like any other problem, this has to be attacked in small chunks. Perhaps we can pick a leaf out of agile methodology and adopt hybrid cloud in multiple sprints.

In my next blog, I will share some of the use cases that are low hanging fruits, which will help you accelerate the hybrid cloud adoption, and also reduces the risk of using cloud. I will also share some reference architectures for each of those use cases.

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