Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Don MacVittie, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, Simon Hill, Dalibor Siroky

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Today’s Cloud and Hybrid IT Reality | @CloudExpo @SolarWinds #DataCenter

Significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals

To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.

The findings are based on a survey fielded in December 2016 that yielded responses from 205 IT practitioners, managers, and directors in the U.S. and Canada, from public and private sector small, mid-size, and enterprise companies whose organizations are leveraging cloud-based services for at least some IT infrastructure. The results help illustrate what a modern hybrid IT organization looks like - notably, they are realizing the cost benefits of the cloud, but continue to struggle with shifting job and skill dynamics.

Overall, the 2017 key findings show that today's hybrid IT organizations are:

1. Moving applications, storage, and databases further into the cloud.

  • In the past 12 months, IT professionals have migrated applications (74 percent), storage (50 percent), and databases (35 percent) to the cloud more than any other areas of IT
  • By weighted rank, the top three reasons for prioritizing these areas of their IT environments for migration were greatest potential for ROI/cost efficiency, availability, and elastic scalability, respectively
  • More than half (56 percent) said cost efficiency is one of their top three reasons for selecting the particular areas they have migrated to the cloud

2. Experiencing the cost efficiencies of the cloud.

  • Nearly all (95 percent) organizations have migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year, yet over two-thirds (69 percent) spend less than 40 percent of their annual IT budgets on cloud technology
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of organizations spend 70 percent or more of their annual IT budgets on on-premises (traditional) applications and infrastructure
  • Nearly three in five (59 percent) organizations have received either most or all expected cloud benefits (i.e., cost efficiency, availability, and scalability)
  • Cost efficiency is at times not enough to justify migration to the cloud: 35 percent migrated areas to the cloud that were ultimately brought back on-premises due mostly to security/compliance issues and poor performance

3. Building and expanding cloud roles and skillsets for IT professionals.

  • Over three-fifths (62 percent) of IT professionals indicated that hybrid IT has required them to acquire new skills, while 11 percent said it has altered their career path
  • Nearly three-fifths (57 percent) of organizations have already hired/reassigned IT personnel, or plan to do so, for the specific purpose of managing cloud technologies
  • The top cloud-related skill IT professionals improved over the past 12 months was monitoring/management tools and metrics (38 percent)
  • Sixty-three percent said an IT staff skills gap was one of the five biggest hybrid IT challenges, while 46 percent said increased workload/responsibilities
  • Nearly half (46 percent) do not believe that IT professionals entering the workforce now possess the skills necessary to manage hybrid IT environments

4. Increasing in complexity and lacking visibility across the entire hybrid IT infrastructure.

  • Seven out of ten (69 percent) said their organizations currently use up to three cloud provider environments, with the largest percentage using two to three; however, one out of every 10 (9 percent) uses 10 or more
  • By weighted rank, the number one challenge created by hybrid IT is increased infrastructure complexity, followed by lack of control/visibility into the performance of cloud-based applications and infrastructure

With these findings in mind, it is vital that IT professionals continue to learn new skills and adapt to the ever-changing hybrid IT environment. To help IT professionals arm themselves with a new set of skills, products, and resources to succeed as the hybrid IT era continues to evolve, consider the following recommendations:

Ensure central visibility across on-premises and cloud environments.
In the face of enterprise technology's exponential rate of change, a management and monitoring toolset that surfaces a single point of truth across those platforms is essential. The ability to consolidate and correlate data to deliver more breadth, depth, and visibility across the data center will allow IT professionals to proactively identify and remediate problem areas and reduce the mean time-to-resolution.

Consider more than just cost efficiency.
The findings of this year's report indicate that cloud's ability to increase ROI is less important to today's IT professionals with security, compliance, and performance now top of mind. With end-user expectations for availability, durability, and an acceptable response time no matter where an application is hosted or from where it's delivered, IT professionals need to factor in the security and performance requirements of each application prior to migration to cloud services to ensure that Quality of Service is still met throughout the distributed stack.

Cloud-proof your job.
Over the past 12 months, IT professionals ranked hybrid monitoring/management tools and metrics, application migration, automation, and data analytics as the most important skills and knowledge needed to successfully manage hybrid IT environments. In addition to leveraging their peer communities to better understand technology adaptations and abstractions, IT professionals need to establish monitoring as a foundational IT skill, also known as monitoring as a discipline, to drive a more proactive, efficient, and effective IT management strategy.

Forecast future migration, but remain flexible.
As illustrated by this year's report findings, every organization's hybrid IT environment is unique and the velocity, variety, and volume of new technology services are giving ample opportunity to realize innovation. To that end, IT professionals must be open to and agile in adopting the best-of-breed elements of cloud computing and hybrid IT. The best thing for any IT department to do in the year ahead is to build a roadmap for future integration and delivery that will help illustrate ROI and business advantages, or the lack thereof, for business management.

Build trust with cloud service providers through IT competency.
"Trust but verify" should be the IT professional's mantra in the year ahead, as organizations work to identify how best to maintain an element of control and visibility into workloads and applications that are hosted in the cloud. It will be critical to leverage comprehensive hybrid IT monitoring, beyond what is typically offered by cloud service providers, to ensure they have enough data and visibility to truly understand how workloads are performing in the cloud and the reasons for that performance. Similar to traditional on-premises strategies, application availability and durability are key trust tenets in hybrid IT.

The cloud and hybrid IT are a reality for the majority of organizations today and have created a new era of work - one that is more global, interconnected, and flexible than ever. At the same time, the benefits of hybrid IT introduce greater complexity and technology abstraction. This means the IT professionals who are tasked with devising new and creative methods to monitor and manage this infrastructure not only need to put the right solutions in place to do so, but also need to prepare organizations - and themselves - for continued technology advancements, even as we move forward.

More Stories By Kong Yang

Kong Yang is a Head Geek at SolarWinds with over 20 years of IT experience specializing in virtualization and cloud management. He is a VMware vExpert™, Cisco® Champion, and active contributing thought leader within the virtualization community.

Yang’s industry expertise includes performance tuning and troubleshooting enterprise stacks, virtualization sizing and capacity planning best practices, community engagement, and technology evangelism. He is passionate about understanding the behavior of the entire application ecosystem — the analytics of the interdependencies as well as qualifying and quantifying the results to support the organization’s bottom line.

He focuses on virtualization and cloud technologies; application performance; hybrid cloud best practices; vehicles for IT application stacks such as containers, hypervisors, and cloud native best practices; DevOps conversations; converged infrastructure technologies; and data analytics. Yang is a past influencer at Spiceworks SpiceWorld and VMworld events.

He is also the owner of United States Patent 8,176,497 for an intelligent method to auto-scale VMs to fulfill peak database workloads. Yang’s past roles include a Cloud Practice Leader at Gravitant, a hybrid cloud software startup, and 13 years in various roles at Dell.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...