I joined Buttonwood three months ago as the marketing coordinator, in charge of taking a complex concept and simplifying it. I started at Buttonwood with nearly no knowledge of cloud computing, let alone hybrid cloud. As I started telling people that I was working at a cloud company, I realised that the majority of people I spoke to had even less knowledge about cloud than I did. I have had an interesting and eye opening journey to the cloud over the last three months.

Before I started at Buttonwood I honestly didn’t even realise that things that I use everyday (my phone) are basically run in the cloud. Without cloud computing there would be no mobile applications and no smartphones. I knew I had a lot to learn.

Luckily, I am surrounded by cloud experts who are extremely passionate about cloud computing, and they are more than willing to help me understand all things cloud. It has been an exciting three months. I have learned many new concepts, and I thought I would share what I’ve learnt with you. But we do need to start at the beginning, and get down to the essence of hybrid cloud.

What is Hybrid Cloud?

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90% of enterprises will have transitioned to a hybrid cloud solution. However, like me, many enterprises are utterly confused about what true hybrid cloud is. A quick ask around the office, and I’ve got my answer. A hybrid cloud solution consists of integrating at least one private cloud platform with at least one public cloud platform.

By implementing a hybrid cloud solution, enterprises can optimise the benefits of both public and private cloud environments, as well as integrate on-premise systems with cloud-based technologies, ensuring legacy systems are not lost in the transition to cloud.

However, guaranteeing success with your hybrid cloud solution involves more than just using a mix of private and public cloud environments and hoping for the best. To be truly successful you must implement common management, security and orchestration across all your environments, ensuring you can easily move applications and data between private and public clouds.

Why take a journey to the Cloud?

Whether enterprises know it or not, hybrid cloud is a critical component of IT. The future of IT lies with hybrid cloud, to drive innovation, agility and change. Business demand for innovation is growing, while traditional IT platforms are struggling to innovate, leading to an innovation gap.

A hybrid cloud model offers a high level of security, performance, control and compliance, while continuing to offer flexibility. Private and public cloud capabilities are being optimised to deliver the same features that are expected from on-premise services. Businesses are getting a self-service infrastructure that enables agility, scalability, and cost optimisation. Hybrid cloud infrastructure ensures the security and predictability demanded by business leaders, while giving IT the flexibility and scalability offered by a cloud solution.

I have done a lot of research on hybrid clouds in my short three months at Buttonwood. I have concluded that hybrid cloud is an exceedingly beneficial solution to drive digital innovation in enterprises.

Here’s my take on the five biggest benefits of a hybrid cloud solution:

1.   Increased Flexibility

A hybrid cloud solution enables you to maximise choice and broker scalable IT solutions, improving flexibility ensuring enterprises can achieve business goals and digital innovation.

2.   Complete choice

Hybrid cloud ensures no vendor lock-in, giving you the opportunity to change cloud vendors or solutions, as needed, to suit your current workloads and applications.

3.   Unlimited resources

With a hybrid cloud solution, your enterprise will have access to unlimited resources. Your enterprise can facilitate on-demand service expansion and contraction based on current business requirements.

4.   Lowered capital expenditure

On average, businesses have reduced IT costs by 24 percent, through adopting a hybrid cloud model. The pay-as-you go model of hybrid cloud lowers capital expenditure, freeing up budget to ensure businesses can focus their investments on innovation and digital transformation initiatives.

5.   Constant productivity

As hybrid cloud solutions are often delivered ready to go, there is no loss of productivity even when scaling up and down. Employees are also able to be productive even when they are out of the office.

What about the risks?

I am a millennial and as a result I think I am naturally more trusting of hybrid cloud computing, because I don’t know really anything different. In fact, is has been reported that my whole generation is more trusting of technology then they are of banks.

But in the workforce, millennials, are still less influential than their more experienced co-workers, and older generations are much less trusting of cloud computing then us millennials. And they can be, they knew a life before cloud computing.

A hybrid cloud solution can solve many current IT challenges, and it brings greater opportunity and value to enterprises. However, a hybrid cloud solution presents unique risks to the enterprise. Hybrid clouds are not necessarily less secure than traditional IT infrastructure, but proper precautions must still be implemented to ensure business critical data is protected.

The complexity of hybrid cloud infrastructure can also put your IT strategy at risk. Without sophisticated IT staff to manage your infrastructure, you risk losing control, and disrupting your end to end business process.

These risks are not new, and they should not prevent you from transitioning to a hybrid cloud solution. I think it will take time for you to get used to using a hybrid cloud solution. Once you have figured out the best security and governance practices, the risks of implementing cloud solutions will go down, and the value and opportunities will continue to increase.

Achieving Digital Transformation

I am a strong believer in digital transformation. It brings so many benefits to your enterprise, and encourages a better work life balance (a bonus for all the millennials out there). For enterprises to achieve digital transformation, they must move away from traditional IT platforms and leverage new business technologies. This will disrupt business and markets, and increase performance and growth.

Hybrid cloud is fundamental in digital transformation, providing enterprises with a service orientated approach, ensuring they can focus on meeting their business needs. To successfully drive change in your enterprise, you need to embrace the risk of transitioning to hybrid cloud. By creating business-centric strategies that offer the flexibility, choice and resources needed all your business demands will be met.

Now I’ve told you about my journey to the cloud. It is only just the beginning, and I want to hear about your experience too. Get in touch and let us know your journey to the cloud.