There is a lot of talk around about hybrid IT at the moment and it is a symptom of the time we are in. Hybrid simply refers to having a mix of traditional IT infrastructure with onsite servers but also using cloud technologies.
In years to come it is quite conceivable that all of our business IT systems will be in the cloud and we will stop calling it cloud and just call it IT. The capabilities of the cloud platforms and the speed of the networks are coming together to present options that are beginning to make our local servers seem unnecessary.
It is hard to predict quite how long it will be before we look back at having had our own servers and giggle about how important they were at the time. Today many of the applications running on our in house servers are best left there, due to the complexity and cost of migrating them to the cloud, but slowly application by application that is changing.
What is happening is that every two weeks or so Microsoft is releasing new features on its Azure platform that allow more of those applications to be moved across. As more people move to Azure the cost will balance out and instead of running high-risk servers we will use low-risk cloud.
Of course, there are applications that we are getting to know that are already well serviced by cloud offerings and to start using an installed version of many things does not make sense any more. Xero and Office 365 are clear examples of industry successes in that area.
Why are we not all leaping to the cloud in one swoop?
Limited capability and cost is the combination. If the cloud was capable of supporting our requirements and the cost was lower than our traditional server-based alternatives we would all move pretty quickly once we overcame our security fears and other blocking thoughts.
There is still a large group of computer users who want to keep control of their data and do not trust cloud providers to manage their information. These people will rapidly become a minority group as software companies focus their R&D investments on improving the cloud experience.
Microsoft will invest $11 Billion on R&D this year with the majority of that being focused on doing more in the cloud. Other software companies can see the potential of the cloud and its subscription model.
Soon the software available to install on our internal infrastructure will not offer the features we want and leave us little choice but to migrate. There will be laggards on their own systems for many years to come but it won’t be where innovation is happening.
Embrace the hybrid era, move what you can to the cloud as and when it stacks up for innovation, cost and capability. Maintain the infrastructure you must to do business efficiently, effectively and safely and don’t let the technical terms bandied about carelessly by technical types slow down your adoption of technology in driving your business to be more productive and profitable.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for business IT that makes sense. How can we help?