Why Hybrid IT Is the Best of Both Worlds

When Henry Ford famously declared, “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black,” the world wasn’t used to the endless personalization options we have today. These days almost anything can be customized to fit your specific needs – including your organization’s IT infrastructure.

Which is why you’re unlikely to hear, “You can run your workloads anywhere you want, as long as it’s in the cloud.”

Because the truth is that running 100% of workloads in the cloud only works for a select few organizations. Of course, the flip side is also true. 100% on-premises is rarely the right answer, either. Instead, the most effective workload placement strategy falls somewhere in between.

A hybrid infrastructure allows organizations to easily customize workload placement based on their workloads and applications. This means that some workloads can remain on-premises, while others run in the cloud. The ability to customize and quickly adapt has huge operational and business benefits. For example, mission-critical workloads, or those involving sensitive data, can remain on-premises while other applications such as email or file sharing can run in the cloud.  This ability to customize workload placement not only increases performance, but it can be more efficient and cost effective as well. So long as you have a solid workload placement strategy in place, you’ll reap the rewards of hybrid IT infrastructure.

Strategy is Key

Whether you’re playing Monopoly, preparing for the big game, or figuring out where to run your workloads, strategy is crucial. In fact, as IDC pointed out in a recent white paper, the right workload placement strategy can separate the winners from the losers. A good strategy is customized to your organization’s specific needs, and what’s right for one organization may not be right for yours.

Even within the same industry, different organizations have unique needs. There are tons of factors at play – company size, location(s), industry, workload lifecycle, priorities, etc. Which is why there is no one-size-fits-all framework. Instead, the right answer likely involves a mix of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. But how do you determine the right mix? That’s the million-dollar question. It’s not as simple as it seems.

Developing an effective workload placement strategy is one of the biggest challenges facing IT leaders today. There are countless options to weigh and risks to consider. But taking the time to research and develop a solid strategy is crucial to your organization’s success.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Choice is a good thing, right? Most people, if you ask, will agree that the more options the better. But in reality, too many choices can overwhelm and lead to uncertainty and second-guessing your decisions (if you’ve ever looked longingly at someone else’s meal with regret about your own choice, you get it).

This uncertainty again points to the importance of a well-defined workload placement strategy. The more research and planning you’ve done, the more confident you’ll be with your workload placement. But too often, companies make decisions without carefully considering their options. For example, moving 100% of your workloads to the cloud may sound appealing, but many companies learn the hard way that it can backfire. Going all in can lead to increased costs or security risks down the line. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Hope is not a strategy.” You can’t move everything to the cloud because it worked for someone else, and hope that it works out well for you. For some workloads, it might. But there may be others that would be better left on-prem. And it’s better to figure that our earlier rather than having to repatriate later. As IDC points out, “The most evolved IT leaders understand that moving their firm’s entire IT infrastructure to the public cloud deprives them of the ability to customize their strategy and adapt to the accelerated rate of business change.”[i]

In a recent white paper, Shifting From a “Cloud First” to a “Cloud If” Enterprise Mindset, Moor Insights & Strategy states that “cloud first policies should be ‘cloud if’ deployment practices and never ‘cloud always.’” It explains how the public cloud is a tool, not a strategy. “Let your workload requirements dictate cloud adoption – don’t let the cloud frenzy impede your IT dexterity.” [ii]

The public cloud is not an elixir that solves all existing IT problems, nor does it address all future needs. As in any IT environment, there are risks to going “all in” with anything. – Workload Placement Separates the Winners from the Losers in IT, IDC White Paper, February 2019

So, while you can – and clearly should – customize your workload strategy based on your organization’s specific needs, there is one decision that remains easy (at least for now):

You can have any PowerEdge server you want as long as it’s black.

To learn more about the importance of workload placement strategy, download the following white papers:

Workload Placement Separates the Winners from the Losers in IT

Shifting From a “Cloud First” to a “Cloud If” Enterprise Mindset

[i] Source: IDC White Paper sponsored by Dell EMC, Workload Placement Separates the Winners from the Losers in IT, February 2019

[ii] Source: Moor Insights & Strategy, Shifting From a “Cloud First” to a “Cloud If” Enterprise Mindset, February 2019

About the Author: Emily O'Shaughnessy

Emily is a Technical Marketing Manager for Dell PowerEdge and VMware, where she works to highlight the many unique benefits of running VMware software on PowerEdge servers. Prior to her current role, Emily was a content storyteller for Dell EMC and used her extensive marketing background to bring the PowerEdge brand to life. Before joining Dell, Emily worked in digital marketing where she handled inbound marketing, strategy, content creation, social media and marketing automation for a wide range of clients. She has written for a variety of industries including finance, business, higher education, tech and healthcare. She received her MBA at Tulane University in New Orleans where she also enjoyed her fair share of po’ boys and crawfish. Emily lives in Georgetown, TX, and loves spending time outdoors with her husband, three daughters, and two sweet but mischievous spaniels.