Depending on the search term you use to learn about hybrid IT, you may need to weed through hybrid cloud, hybrid workplace and hybrid cars! So let’s make this easy for you by explaining what hybrid IT is and exploring reasons why 82% of enterprises are taking a hybrid approach. ¹
Hybrid IT is an infrastructure model or approach that consists of a mix of components: on-premises IT, cloud (private, public, hybrid and/or multicloud), colocation and edge. The 2021 State of the Data Center survey asked participants about the mix, and they reported: ²
How does edge computing fit into your architecture? An on-premises edge solution offers decreased latency, which helps boosts performance, and operational efficiencies – all contribute to delivering amazing customer and user experiences. But, on-premises to cloud core can often be 30-70 ms, depending upon which cloud edge you choose. Implementing a private cloud edge point of presence (PoP) at CoreSite, for example, can decrease the 30-70 ms to about 3-5 ms. Implementing a private cloud solution at the edge can drop this to <1 ms.
Within the cloud variants, hybrid cloud and multicloud are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are different. Hybrid cloud refers to the use of both private and public cloud services that can be managed centrally through a single interface. For example, a private cloud (on-premises or in colocation) might be integrated with a public cloud. Top private cloud solutions offered by CoreSite include Microsoft Azure Stack, AWS Outpost and VMware Cloud.
Multicloud refers to the use of more than one cloud service, such as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, from two or more private or public cloud service providers. According to one study, 92% of respondents have a multicloud strategy.³ Private multicloud strategies include Google Anthos (Google Kubernetes Engine/GKE).
One advantage of hybrid IT is the array of options enterprises have to locate their computing resources and data. Many enterprises prefer to keep sensitive data on premises, for example, because IT teams have direct control over it for governance or compliance purposes. This trend may change as cloud providers strengthen security controls. Taking a hybrid IT approach, enterprises can design their infrastructure to suit their requirements. And, the colocation and public cloud components give them the flexibility to spin computing resources up or down – something that on-premises data centers aren’t equipped or staffed to do as quickly or cost effectively.
On-premises computing resources require huge capital expenditure (CapEx) investments to acquire, huge operational expenditure (OpEx) to maintain and the supporting environmental infrastructure – so spinning up and down interim resources as needed is very appealing. Your business can acquire the required resources without the taking on extra debt.
Another hybrid IT advantage relates to data and the massive growth we’ve seen and will continue to see. 5G, edge and the explosion of IoT devices mean more data will be collected, stored and analyzed to support business decisions. The computing requirements for AI/ML and big data analytics surpass what’s possible or affordable for traditional on-premises IT. Enter colocation data centers that are built to support the highest power and density requirements and even provide tech support on request.
A hybrid IT solution addresses challenges related to agility, scalability, performance, interoperability, growth, cost and risk. But, aside from tackling these challenges, some IT leaders say they don’t have a choice – that hybrid IT is essential for competitive reasons. That said, let’s look at five benefits of hybrid IT:
Digital transformation (DX) will speed up as enterprises recover from pandemic-related disruption, and DX drives new IT strategies and structure. Colocation’s percentage in the hybrid IT mix will likely increase quickly, in large part because colocation represents a better economic proposition than building new on-premises data centers or refreshing existing data centers. Newer processing technologies and GPU processing power requirements far exceed what companies can build (and cool) in their own premises. Moving these workloads to a high-power capacity data center reduces the cost to process the compute operations, de-risking the project’s investment spend.
Certain colocation facilities are “super data centers” that lead the industry in reliability, scalability and disaster recovery capabilities. Additionally, enterprises look to colocation providers for: ⁵
¹ Flexera, 2021 State of the Cloud Report
² IDG, 2021 State of the Data Center: Colocation Is the Nexus for Hybrid and Multicloud IT-Driven Business Success
³ Flexera, 2021 State of the Cloud Report
⁵ IDG, 2021 State of the Data Center: Colocation Is the Nexus for Hybrid and Multicloud IT-Driven Business Success
Aaron has 20+ years of experience providing data center solutions for SMB & enterprise customers.Read more from this author