Legacy infrastructure, public clouds, private clouds, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, managed services … today’s hybrid IT environment is highly complex. Each component on its own is chosen to enhance business agility or protect IT assets, yet the hybrid IT environment taken as a whole can become unwieldy, inefficient, costly, and anything but agile. Nevertheless, you can master business agility in a hybrid IT world. Here are three factors that are essential for optimizing your environment and delivering agility for your business.
Data: The Lifeblood of Your Business
Data is all-important. It permeates every aspect of your hybrid IT environment, from legacy servers to public clouds to SaaS applications and more. As such, data deserves a close and careful look. For example,
- Does a given database serve one application or multiple applications? Whichever the case is, be sure the database is optimized to deliver data with the speed and availability necessary to keep the application(s) running at maximum productivity.
- If the data is mission-critical, are there appropriate availability and disaster recovery provisions in place to protect it? In a disaster situation, you could recover your applications and have a perfectly functioning infrastructure, but without the right data, business remains at a standstill.
- At what rate is the data for each application proliferating? Today, data is growing at an unprecedented rate. This exponential growth can overload servers, slow down networks, complicate backup plans, and hinder application performance unless you take proactive steps to accommodate it.
Answering questions about your data will help you create a hybrid IT environment where data flows effortlessly from system to system and user to user, delivering agility throughout your organization.
Workloads: Making Sure the Work Gets Done
In a hybrid IT environment, it is vital to continually assess your business requirements to determine what applications are critical and what IT resources are necessary to support those applications. That assessment will determine where to place each workload for maximum agility and efficiency.
For example, you might need certain characteristics and specifications to run your workload, e.g., in the areas of input/output (I/O), availability, resiliency, or speed. Your workload’s compute demands could ebb and flow, and fit best in a highly scalable environment. You might need to dynamically balance your workloads on a regular basis and not have the resources to handle that task in-house, in which case, a managed cloud might be an appropriate option.
Carefully determine which infrastructure services will enable optimal performance and ensure the productivity and efficiency necessary to achieve agility.
Visibility: The Key to the Future
In businesses around the world, there are servers blinking without anybody knowing what is running on them. Shadow IT introduces new applications and inherent complexity to the organization without IT’s knowledge or control. Hybrid IT environments become a hodgepodge of servers, applications, networks, platforms, and infrastructures rather than functioning as a unified whole. Agility suffers.
Having visibility is the key to resolving all these problems and more. By proactively establishing complete visibility into your IT environment, you will be able to effectively manage what you have, align your resources appropriately, ensure security and governance, accommodate variations in demand, project usage, and plan for the future.
For too long, it has been taken for granted that agility will automatically result by implementing the latest technology available to businesses today. But agility is not a “given.” Agility is something you must work to achieve across all IT.
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