If the term 'hybrid information technology' sounds daunting to you, relax. You are already familiar with the concept of hybrid. You learned it in childhood. Remember Goldilocks? Papa Bear’s porridge was too hot, and Mama’s was too cold. Baby Bear split the difference and got it just right.
Now that you are an adult, I assume that you no longer read fairy tales (Lord of the Rings excepted). But, maybe you drive a hybrid car; one that wisely uses electric power in the city and cruises with gas on the highway. If so, you probably have experienced a measurable hybrid benefit in higher miles per gallon.
Obviously, enterprise IT is more complicated than soup, but the Goldilocks principle remains the same. Why stick with an in-house-only IT model when, in today’s technology environment, you can reap major benefits by supplementing your in-house IT with outsourced support solutions?
As a matter of fact, you are probably already enjoying some of the benefits of hybrid IT. For instance, if you use Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications—such as web-based CRM systems, payroll solutions, webmail, and even some document management programs—you are using a form of a hybrid IT model.
Enterprise IT architecture is evolving, and the hybrid IT model is becoming the new paradigm. IT departments are combining internal and external resources, often including a combination of public and private clouds. The benefits of outsourcing some IT functions and keeping others in-house can be immediate—cost savings, better security, and increased flexibility, just to name a few.
Upgrading legacy IT hardware in the old fashioned “rip and replace” method can be a considerable capital investment. A hybrid IT model can be a fast and affordable bridge between old and new IT systems. Using a public cloud often frees up valuable in-house IT personnel from operational tasks such as maintenance and help desk calls, allowing them to focus on critical enterprise operations and projects that drive revenue.
High-end hardware and applications often come in power hungry clusters that require dedicated network configurations. The energy savings resulting from transferring hosting and management of these functions to a managed services partner can be significant.
For some enterprises, public cloud services may not meet their stringent security requirements, and they may wish to keep sensitive data behind their own firewalls. The hybrid IT model allows for that, while at the same time providing the benefits of outsourced IT and cloud computing. With hybrid IT, organizations have the option to store critical and proprietary data on local servers while exporting other data to a cloud, such as Meridian's Secure Private Cloud services.
However, utilizing Security-as-a-Service (SecaaS), and outsourcing security through a managed services provider can provide a greater level of security and business continuity than in-house solutions. Plus, cloud-based data is more accessible and easily recovered in the event of outages, system failures or other disasters.
A major advantage of hybrid IT is that the use of cloud computing can allow an enterprise to quickly upscale its systems. Heavy projects that cannot easily be handled by in-house servers can be transferred to the cloud on an as-needed basis. This makes scalability and provisioning for short term projects easier than ever, and at a lower cost than would be required by making changes to the IT infrastructure.
Hybrid IT solutions can also allow enterprises to “test drive” cloud computing at a relatively low cost. Using a hybrid cloud allows businesses to expand their existing storage capacities at a low cost. This extra data storage is available to support unexpected and additional workloads via “cloud bursting.” This pushes data into a public cloud when computing capacity on local servers reaches a pinnacle.
Hybrid IT is a perfect example of synergy in that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, i.e., the public cloud, a private cloud, and a managed services provider.