IT research firm IDC says that IT decision-makers should view the hybrid cloud as a key component of an overall ICT transformation strategy that aims to continually align and adapt ICT to the changing business landscape.
IDC has for several years been talking of a 'third platform' of IT comprising mobility, social, cloud and big data (Platforms one and two were the mainframe and client-server architectures respectively).
It says that this third platform is creating new challenges for CIOs and IT managers and "The hybrid cloud model provides a solution for many of the problems being experienced whilst maintaining the flexibility necessary for unique enterprise environments."
IDC says that cloud implementations yield multiple business and IT benefits that include: the ability to leverage existing IT systems investments; centralised governance and decentralised infrastructure; being able to match workloads with the most appropriate IT systems environment; bridging the divide between IT and line of business, and flexibility.
The views are set out in a white paper Collocation and the Hybrid Cloud: Diversity of Options, Diversity of Adoptions, sponsored by data centre operator Nextdc, and IDC says the role of collocation facilities in the implementation of a hybrid cloud strategy is not well understood. (Collocation services are defined as a customer's use of a third party's data centre facilities (ie physical floor/cage/rack space, network capacity and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and power infrastructure) in which the customer operates their own servers/storage systems, network equipment and other types of infrastructure.)
IDC argues that the central role collocation provides in the hybrid cloud environment is not always evident. "The evolution of cloud-based IT is not an either/or proposition. Both hybrid cloud and enterprise asset collocation may be viable options for any organisation looking to leverage rather than replace or abandon existing internal IT frameworks, tools, infrastructure and processes, because a combination of these elements can offer the essentials of on-demand access, self-service rapid provisioning and scalability," it says.
"This means hybrid cloud can satisfy the resource requirements of line-of-business managers, application developers and IT operations personnel, while maintaining a secure, reliable and policy-driven IT infrastructure."
IDC is predicting a significant shift of enterprise IT resources from on-premise to collocation and private and public cloud. "Over the next five years many organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure and will also reduce or eliminate many of their own server rooms/closets and data centres," it says.
"They will make greater use of on-premise and hosted managed services for existing assets. They will make greater use of dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centres for new services."