Hybrid Cloud Maintenance Considerations

Data Center Maintenance


Parker October 03, 2013

Hybrid cloud architectures are quickly emerging as a technology model that businesses must be ready to handle. This can leave IT managers overwhelmed as they try to keep up with the large-scale technology changes and operational challenges that come with the hybrid cloud. Developing effective partnerships across the IT operation can ease some cloud-related burdens, and a third-party hardware maintenance and operating system support plan is one such initiative.

Organizations supporting a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud that includes private cloud elements, are responsible for managing their own hardware. This means that IT managers must be prepared to develop cost-efficient maintenance strategies to ensure their legacy systems are supported while they make a move to the cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Gaining Prominence

Being ready to deal with the challenges associated with the hybrid cloud is becoming critical as more businesses begin pursuing the technology to ensure operational gains. A recent Gartner study found that the hybrid cloud is currently on the same path that the private cloud was traveling just three years ago. At the time, the private cloud was gathering lots of marketing hype and gaining steam for more widespread adoption. During the past few years, private cloud adoption has exploded. At this point, Gartner estimates that approximately half of large enterprises are currently using private cloud technologies.

The same transformation process is happening with the hybrid cloud. Right now, the hybrid cloud is getting plenty of marketing hype, but it is only beginning to really gain prominence. However, Gartner anticipates that half of large enterprises will be using hybrid cloud solutions as of 2017.On one hand, the hybrid cloud can contribute to major cost and agility savings. However, organizations must be prepared to embrace broad IT transformation to develop the agility needed to properly support the hybrid cloud.

Thomas Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explained that focusing on agility is key as cost benefits are not necessarily a major driver for hybrid cloud investments.

“Virtualization reduces capital expenses, and standards and automation reduce operational expenses,” said Bittman. “However, taking the next step of adding usage metrics, self-service offerings and automated provisioning requires investment in technologies without a significant reduction in operational cost. With this in mind, the driving factor for going that next step should primarily be agility.”

Bittman went on to point out that companies often get into trouble with the hybrid cloud because they focus on cloud technology instead of transforming IT around the cloud.

“Too often, private cloud projects are started by choosing a technology, but technology itself does not solve the transformational people and process issues,” said Bittman. “It is much better to focus first on an approach to make transformative changes.”

Transforming Maintenance Strategies in Response to the Hybrid Cloud

IT managers supporting a private cloud must be able to handle maintenance and support warranties. The private cloud is a vital component of hybrid cloud setups, and organizations cannot rest on their laurels thinking that once systems are in the cloud they don’t have to be worried about. The problem with hybrid cloud transformation is that it needs to be spread throughout the data center, something that becomes difficult to manage when supporting legacy systems.

Extending the life of legacy hardware can be invaluable in helping companies keep costs under control and ensure non-cloud services are properly housed in reliable hardware. As legacy hardware is often needed for mission-critical applications or data that are not able to transition to the cloud, IT managers are left needing to consider sophisticated maintenance plans to maximize legacy hardware life cycles.

About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant