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The Rise of Multi-Cloud, Hybrid IT For the Enterprise

A decade of innovations means that you can now create a multi-cloud, hybrid IT strategy that saves money and is more effective than running everything in the public cloud.

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The quote, “Everything old is new again” can certainly be applied to technology. Like everything else, technology has cycles that change over time. Innovations lead to new solutions that often change what’s old and make it better. And before you know it, a technology that was thought long gone is now revived — and better than ever.

Consider the enterprise datacenter. Cloud started more than 10 years ago and was the hot, new tech trend. Although businesses continue to migrate many applications to the cloud, trends reveal that enterprises are now choosing hybrid IT (a mix of on-premises and public cloud) because it gives them more options.

An enterprise can now keep key applications on-premises, using new technologies that offer the benefits of public cloud, without the cost, performance, or security concerns. That’s because on-premises solutions have not stood still. Costs have dropped, new types of infrastructures are now available, and deployment models are more flexible — giving you better options than ever before.

Looking back…when people first started using public cloud

• On-premises costs were higher; infrastructure was harder to manage and provision

Ten years ago, hardware costs were higher. Flash memory was much more expensive and VMs were harder to manage and provision. Because a VM is a whole machine (even though it is virtual), each one contains all the code needed to run the virtual machine, which means lots of data duplication. Of course, this overhead resulted in relatively high admin costs and lower utilization rates.

• The IT department didn’t offer speed and flexibility

Also, 10 years ago the needs of developers and data scientists working in a digitally-empowered world started changing. They needed speed and continuous innovation, something that Gartner identified as Mode 2. In a Mode 2 world, much more experimentation was needed. “Compose, tear-down, recompose. Rinse and repeat” became the mantra of Mode 2 developers.

Ten years ago, developers loved the autonomy that public cloud gave them because they didn’t need to jump through hoops. They didn’t have to wait until the IT department gave them permission to fire up a server. They would just contact a public cloud provider, pull out the company credit card, and were ready to go.

• You had to pay for servers up front

Prior to public cloud, if you wanted compute power to try out a new application, you would have to pay for the hardware and software up front. Public cloud was a refreshing change. You paid for what you used, and you stopped paying when you didn’t need it anymore.

For many, this type of pay-as-you-go model was a game changer. Much of the work that Mode 2 developers do is experimental. Because they didn’t know if their application was going to work or even how much compute power they needed, the pay up front scenario was simply not an option.

Looking forward: How on-premises solutions have changed

Much has changed during the past 10-plus years that makes on-premises technology new again.

• On-premises solution costs are now lower and performance is higher

Infrastructure vendors have innovated in many areas, which has cut the costs of running your data center. Flash memory costs have fallen dramatically, along with the price per giga-flop. New IT technologies are also available that save money and increase performance.

Hyperconverged solutions allow VMs to be managed in the same place, which results in lower admin costs and increased utilization. And some hyperconverged offerings provide de-duplication and compression, providing lower storage requirements and faster data access.

Composable infrastructure takes hyperconverged to another level by virtualizing the entire IT infrastructure. It treats physical compute, storage and network devices as services, managing all of IT via a single application. This eliminates the need to configure hardware to support specific applications and allows the infrastructure to be managed in software. Composable infrastructure creates pools of resources that are automatically composed in near real time. Because you can flex resources (compute, storage, and fabric) to meet your needs, you get higher utilization, saving you money.

All of these factors have dramatically lowered the costs of on-premises infrastructure—providing options that are better than public cloud for specific applications.

• Developers now have speed and flexibility

And what about today’s Mode 2 developers—do on-premises solutions help with the speed and flexibility they need to innovate? The answer is yes. Some hyperconverged and composable solutions have workspaces that let developers work with autonomy.  Yet, IT still retains the ability to govern these spaces, a capability that helps find wasted resources such as unused VMs.

Developers also love APIs, another capability now available to users of composable infrastructure. A developer can programmatically control composable infrastructure through a single, open RESTful API to automate the provisioning, configuration, and monitoring of infrastructure.

• The growth of pay-as-you-go pricing for on-premises infrastructure

Many infrastructure companies today provide a pay-as-you-go business model, which eliminates the need for huge, upfront costs. For example, HPE works with you to forecast current and projected capacity—for a minimum commitment—and then creates a local buffer of IT resources beyond what you need now, that you can dip into as needed. The extra capacity is ready to be activated when you need more capacity, and it can easily expand into the Azure public cloud when needed. This ensures you have extra capacity deployed ahead of any upcoming demand.

Leading the way to a hybrid IT strategy

The datacenter of today is very different than the datacenter of a decade ago. Today’s innovative technologies can be located at the core of the datacenter, in the cloud, or at the edge -- providing a myriad of choices and deployment models. Wherever IT resources are deployed, a multi-cloud, hybrid IT strategy is leading the way to more cost-effective, flexible, and powerful IT options for the enterprise.

To learn more about composable infrastructure, download the free e-book, Composable Infrastructure for Dummies.

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About Paul Miller

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Paul Miller is Vice President of Marketing for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Paul’s organization is responsible for all marketing content and sales enablement tools to help HPE customers get the best product and solution experience.
To read more articles from Paul Miller, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.