What is “By Design” Hybrid Cloud Adoption?

CloudHealth Tech Staff
Oct. 17, 2019
4 minute read

“By design” hybrid cloud adoption relates to businesses that prepare a strategy before migrating to a hybrid cloud. “By design” businesses typically encounter fewer challenges than businesses that drift into a hybrid environment organically and are better prepared to deal with the challenges they encounter.

In 2017, Forrester’s Senior Analyst Chris Gardner wrote a blog comparing businesses that prepare for migrating to a hybrid cloud against those that don’t. Describing those that prepare for migration as “hybrid by design”, Gardner listed the attributes of a business well-prepared for hybrid cloud adoption:

  • One that realizes the hybrid cloud is a “fundamentally different beast” from on-premises infrastructure, and that it requires different skill sets, practices, and policies to optimize.
  • One that understands its Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) professionals are now developers that need to have a different mindset during every step of the delivery cycle.
  • One that acknowledges the importance of automation for configuration management, continuous delivery, and especially security.

Gardner believed few businesses fit his model of “by design” hybrid cloud adoption, and predicted most businesses had drifted into a hybrid business organically - i.e. by Shadow IT cloud “experiments” developing into production environments. The consequences of being a “hybrid by accident” business, Gardner wrote, are a lack of standard practices and outdated governance policies that slow down the journey to cloud maturity.

More Businesses than Gardner Believed are Well-Prepared

The following year, Forrester published the results of a survey about hybrid preparedness (PDF) among 562 IT professionals whose businesses are operating in a hybrid environment. Researchers found that 33 percent of surveyed businesses had prepared a comprehensive hybrid cloud strategy before migrating to the cloud, and had either stuck to it or amended it to address the challenges they had encountered.

Of the other 67 percent, most had drifted into their hybrid environment organically (“by accident”) and are addressing challenges as they come across them. They’re also attempting to retrospectively adopt the attributes of a business well-prepared for hybrid cloud adoption. The remainder either had a plan for their on-premises infrastructure or the public cloud (but not both), or had no plan at all.

With regard to the challenges of operating in a hybrid environment, the most frequent challenges encountered included network security, integrating legacy applications, workload management, cost management, compliance, and governance. Researchers found better-prepared businesses were able to deal with the challenges much quicker and much more effectively than unprepared businesses.

The Issue with Hybrid Cloud Adoption Rates

One interesting question raised by this report is, at what point did unprepared businesses realize they were operating in a hybrid environment? If their accidental entry into the cloud was the result of a Shadow IT “experiment”, it’s unlikely they considered themselves to be operating in a hybrid cloud until much later in their cloud journeys. Also, how many more businesses are operating in a hybrid environment without realizing it?

These questions lead us to the issue of hybrid cloud adoption rates and hybrid cloud adoption trends. Statistics relating to adoption rates and adoption trends are published frequently, but often show a wide disparity between hybrid cloud adoption rates - sometimes as much as 50 percent. This could be attributable to sample sizes, business sizes, or how survey questions are phrased. However, it’s more likely due to many businesses not understanding the definition of a hybrid cloud.

If you look at AWS’ or Azure’s definition of a hybrid cloud, it’s pretty clear that a hybrid cloud “is the integration of on-premises resources with cloud resources”. However, it’s not AWS or Azure asking the questions; and when a cloud-inexperienced business is asked by a market researcher “does your business operate in an environment which uses policy-based and coordinated service provisioning across a mixture of internal and external cloud services” the likely answer is “We don’t know”.

Is Your Business Prepared to Migrate to a Hybrid Cloud?

Talk to our experts to learn more about how a migration assessment can help your business better prepare for the start of its hybrid cloud journey, or how the CloudHealth Health Check can recommend fixes for vulnerabilities in your hybrid environment.