Distracted by so many hybrid IT solutions? Focus on outcomes, not tools

Focus on what you want to achieve, writes HPE’s Chris Purcell

When it comes to deployment options for IT, it’s easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest offerings. Yet, in today’s hybrid IT environment, focus first on what you want to achieve — and then determine how best to get there.

That’s according to Mark Peters, Practice Director and Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). He recently shared his thoughts on hybrid IT with Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, for a BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst podcast series. And his main message for IT – focus on outcomes, not tools.

Distracted by bright, shiny new objects

Because the cloud can be so easy to consume, many businesses are deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models. “The cloud is a very beguiling and useful business model, but it’s not a panacea,” explained Peters. “People get so distracted by bright, shiny objects — like they are the answer to everything. What we should be looking for are not bright shiny objects, but bright shiny outcomes.”

Peters said that the public cloud should be viewed as another tool that businesses use to be successful. Embracing a multi-cloud, hybrid IT strategy allows you more choices and flexibility, letting you run workloads where they are best suited.

Yet, with so many different deployment options and tools available, deciding where to place workloads can be challenging. Peter’s continued, “Such decisions are situational to individual companies, to the stage of that company’s life, and to the budgets they have. And they’re also dynamic.” Whether a certain application should go on-site or off-site is extremely complex, and the right deployment option will vary by company and across time.

So, how does a business figure out what goes where?

Gardner explained that there is no single answer because every organization is different. Each has unique legacy infrastructure, ways of using applications, different business processes, and a variety of obligations.

Peters agreed. Yet the first step for each organization is to focus on the outcome that they want. Then they can figure out how to get it.

Today’s complex hybrid IT challenges

Peters went on to discuss how shadow IT presents a big challenge to many enterprises. Because of the lack of visibility, it’s hard to figure out what you have. And then once you do understand it, it’s difficult to control. “You know the old adage; you can’t manage what you can’t measure. You also can’t improve things that can’t be managed or measured.”

Gardner also commented about the need for automation to manage a hybrid IT environment. “In order to deal with the scale of complexity, the requirements for speed, the fact that you’re going to be dealing with workloads and IT assets that are off your premises, that means you’re going to be doing this programmatically.”

Both analysts agreed that a tool would be needed that could provide visibility, management, optimization, automation, intelligence, and execution. Gardner guessed that developing such a tool is probably not going to happen in the next couple of years, although he sees it as a huge market opportunity.

Gardner concluded the interview by asking Peters what advice he would give IT organization as they try to become more proactive rather than reactive in today’s complex, hybrid IT environment. Peters reiterated what he said at the beginning of the interview: consider the ends, not the means.

Breaking news…HPE reveals HPE OneSphere

This podcast between Gardner and Peters took place in November – prior to HPE Discover Madrid 2017. At the event, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced the industry’s first multi-cloud management solution, HPE OneSphere, a tool similar to what Gardner and Peters were describing during their interview.

Through its software-as-a-service (SaaS) portal, HPE OneSphere gives customers access to a pool of IT resources that spans the public cloud services they subscribe to, as well as their on-premises environments. Using this new tool, organizations are able to seamlessly compose, operate, and optimize all workloads across on-premises, private, hosted, and public clouds. HPE OneSphere also provides dashboards based on different user roles that offer business analytics. HPE OneSphere is designed for IT operations, developers, and business executives seeking to build clouds, deploy applications, and gain insights faster.

HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in a hybrid IT world. Learn about HPE’s approach to managing hybrid IT by checking out the HPE website, HPE OneSphere. And to find out how HPE can help you determine a workload placement strategy that meets your service level agreements, visit HPE Pointnext.

About the author

Chris Purcell drives analyst relations for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The Software-Defined and Cloud Group organization is responsible for marketing for composable infrastructure, HPE OneView, HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged solutions and HPE OneSphere