Taking a strategic approach to the complexity of hybrid IT By Reggie Best, VP of Products at NS1.

  • 2 months ago Posted in

Hybrid IT adoption is being heavily influenced by the evolving needs of employees and customers. In the financial services sector, for example, customer experience demands compliance with regulations and the highest levels of security so companies must carefully orchestrate their migration from legacy on-premise infrastructure. Alternatively, some enterprises are shifting part of their workloads away from the cloud and back into data centres.

This hybrid IT approach supports the shifting sands of today’s dynamic service conditions and ever-increasing business requirements and for many reduces costs without compromising on application and data management or performance.

But, while in theory it allows companies to maximise the best of all worlds, the reality is that managing hybrid network infrastructure is complex and depends on a strategic approach to make it work effectively.

Get a full picture of your hybrid IT infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure is intricate, and it is challenging to use manual inventory tools to gain the overall picture needed when changes are to be made. Teams are forced to make assumptions, which can result in inaccuracies when it comes to the impact of new implementations on network capacity and performance. By using infrastructure resource modelling every detail of the company’s architecture is revealed which benefits the process of planning operations and makes cost implications more accurate.

The teams managing hybrid IT must have a clear understanding not only of the services, infrastructure resources, and devices they control, but in addition, where they are located, the coverage of each one, and the way they are connected. This overview — a single source of truth — will allow them to predict the outcomes when their infrastructure changes. In addition, they will realise improved optimisation and better discovery of potential problems which will lead to more confident decision-making. Spinning cloud infrastructure up or down is made easier because they already know the costs and the risks involved.

Successfully steering your traffic

Most hybrid IT deployments are designed not only to support employees, but also customer interactions with an organisation’s solutions and services. Multiple devices — including desktop computers, IoT devices, laptops, and smartphones — must be linked with access points seamlessly and the best way to do this is via a modern traffic management and automation strategy. This works by steering application traffic across on-premise and cloud networks so users can access high performing endpoints. Not only does this guarantee a great customer experience, it also moves workloads to the most cost-efficient resources. Amidst the complexity of hybrid IT scenarios, it can also help with the deployment of new infrastructure, allowing traffic to be gradually introduced as new systems come online giving teams more time to identify and eliminate bugs and problems before traffic reaches full capacity.

Automating network operations

The benefits of traffic management rely on automation, but the same principle can be applied to network operations to improve the streamlining of tasks and enhance planning. Network automation allows plans to be assessed through accurate, risk-based insight. Tasks in relation to configuration changes can be outlined in advance for review, incorporating policies and regulations that need to be considered, and calculating for risk or any other potential issues that might arise and which could impact the company. Automating network operations also allows infrastructure resource modelling to be carried out.

Implementing Observability

Companies that are adopting hybrid IT must analyse, assess and respond to the plethora of data that is crossing their networks and applications. A new trend is distributed network observability — pushing analysis as close to the data source as possible. Tapping into network data streams and analysing them in real-time provides business insight in real-time, reducing Mean-Time-To-Repair, helping to debug issues, and identifying security risks.

Implementing hybrid IT will be complex, but its benefits outweigh the complications if organisations put in place the right strategies. As we have outlined, resource modelling provides a better sense of the infrastructure on-premise and in the cloud, allowing for improved risk assessment. Traffic management and network automation improve performance and facilitate cost reductions while observability tools deliver vital business insights. The secret to a successful hybrid IT deployment is to be fully in control of the infrastructure, and with the right strategic approach, the path is set for success.

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