Digital transformation is no longer just a desire, but an absolute for organizations in all industries looking to improve their operational efficiency. A greater business need for data control, the cost effectiveness of cloud-based services, and a desire for greater flexibility have driven many organizations towards a hybrid IT infrastructure. But what does this involve?
A hybrid IT infrastructure consists of a combination of cloud, edge and on-premise applications and data centers. A business’ enterprise systems and applications are deployed across any of these layers of infrastructure depending on which environment would yield the greatest performance and efficiency.
Hybrid IT has emerged as a result of multifaceted technological development. According to Gartner, by 2025, over half of IT spending in application software, infrastructure software, business process services and system infrastructure will shift to cloud-based technologies. An ever-growing range of cloud-based applications means that even the smallest of organizations is likely to use some form of SaaS — be it for anything from sales to asset management or quality control.
At the same time, medium and large organizations are repeatedly struggling to deploy all of their systems on a public cloud due to a lack of security or flexibility, meaning that an IT infrastructure that encompasses several environments — or hybrid — is more realistic.
It’s important to not confuse hybrid IT with hybrid cloud, which exclusively blends private and public cloud services, but doesn’t include other elements like data centers or on-premise infrastructure. Hybrid IT doesn’t just relate to the infrastructure itself, it’s an entire strategy that encapsulates hybrid collaboration, user experience, device compatibility and data formatting.
The best of all worlds
Adopting a hybrid IT infrastructure can bring a variety of benefits compared to an entirely cloud or entirely on-premise infrastructure. The key benefits of hybrid center around the elevated integration and interoperability of the system. According to Mulesoft’s 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report, some 88 per cent of organizations said integration challenges continue to slow digital transformation initiatives, virtually unchanged from the 2021 report’s figure of 87 per cent. So, while the situation hasn’t worsened, it certainly hasn’t improved.
By adopting a hybrid IT strategy, it’s possible for organizations to avoid the complex task of migrating legacy systems and applications to their new cloud-based counterpart. It also creates a stable IT environment where cloud, edge, on-premise and data center environments can be used in harmony, each for the use cases they’re optimal for.
For example, businesses could benefit from the on-demand scalability of the cloud infrastructure, purchasing additional storage or other resources as they are required. At the same time, on-premise infrastructure is better suited for keeping business-critical or sensitive data in legacy systems to ensure adherence to cybersecurity regulations.
With remote working now taking a permanent seat at the table, it’s also worth considering if a company wants to adopt a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, and if so, how to make certain applications available on external devices. In each of these scenarios, a hybrid IT system is the enabler of successful deployment.
It’s possible to elevate hybrid IT infrastructure even further to unlock a more seamless digital transformation by adopting not just a hybrid, but a hybrid-first IT strategy. A comprehensive hybrid IT strategy doesn’t just facilitate interoperability and integration of different systems, but actually optimizes the entire system by taking the benefits of each environment to maximize system efficiency and functionality.
In contrast to just hybrid, a hybrid-first IT infrastructure doesn’t just involve piecing together different IT environments and hoping for the best, it’s about designing a comprehensive system specifically for hybrid use. To support organizations looking to implement a hybrid-first strategy, Crosser offers a hybrid integration solution that gives organizations the full flexibility to deploy data processing nodes on-premise, at the edge, in the cloud and at a data center simultaneously — all within the same universal platform.
Once deployed, the Crosser platform acts as a centralized location for all an organization’s data processing and analysis needs. It’s possible to integrate any device and machine data and any other data source with smart workflows, events and triggers in real time, across a range of IT infrastructural layers to remote data silos and achieve hyperautomation, regardless of where data is stored.
By implementing a hybrid-first IT strategy, organizations can create a bespoke blend of IT infrastructure to suit their own priorities – be it efficiency, automation, cost savings, simplicity or overall user experience. By taking the benefits of each environment, businesses can create a system designed specifically for hybrid integration, unlocking the benefits of all IT options.