With hybrid IT the future is now a reality

Today, IT professionals are under tremendous pressure to align technology with business initiatives. They need to move fast while maintaining high levels of uptime, and ensure security risks and costs are at a minimum.

IT has to meet new SLAs: application user experience and data security, both of which are essential for ensuring IT delivers value to end-users and customers while keeping them safe.

To help businesses better manage and optimise applications and data, IT professionals are embracing automation as a means to simplify processes, which is accelerating the rate of digital transformation within businesses by implementing cloud, virtualisation, analytics, and more.

>See also: Hybrid IT is essential for enterprise innovation – SUSECON 17

The cloud and virtualisation technologies work as the foundation for delivering applications and data. In order for their initiatives to be successful, IT professionals must be ready and able to manage, optimise, secure, monitor, and remediate issues across both on-premises and cloud environments, embracing a hybrid IT model.

Hybrid IT has been discussed as the future for businesses for some time, but it is clear this future is now, with most organisations already having at least some of their infrastructure deployed off-premises. In fact, SolarWinds IT Trends Report found that 69% of UK respondents have already migrated entire applications to the cloud.

As a result, many businesses have already outgrown their monitoring solutions, often complementing them with monitoring tools from their cloud service providers (CSP), even if they are mostly tactical, infrastructure-centric, and completely isolated form the rest of their environment.

However, it’s common for organisations to use multiple cloud provider environments to support different workloads and applications. While discrete monitoring tools may cover the basics, businesses require a more comprehensive toolset to improve IT efficiency and effectiveness.

>See also: Hybrid IT organisations struggle with IT skills gap and security concerns

By simultaneously monitoring all cloud and on-premises environments, IT professionals can achieve a holistic view across their entire environment, including applications, databases, servers, and the network.

This level of visibility across environments is vital in ensuring organisations tackle hybrid IT’s most pressing challenge: getting the most from the cloud. To achieve this goal, IT professionals need to establish which workloads should be moved to the cloud, how applications will perform in the cloud versus on-premises, and what the likely resource contentions will be.

The cloud isn’t the answer to all of a business’ problems, so in order to make the most of cloud migration, IT professionals require unified visibility across cloud, on-premises, and hybrid IT services. Here are some of the ways end-to-end monitoring can help you make the most of hybrid IT.

Establish performance certainty

This is easier said than done, but with the wealth of performance metrics available to IT professionals when using a single-pane-of-glass monitoring tool, IT teams should strive to understand how systems are performing, why they perform that way and what the performance drivers are.

>See also: Hybrid cloud: what goes where?

As a result, they can better predict how systems will perform, troubleshoot performance faster, as well as achieve a deeper understanding of how to optimise performance.

Make provisioning decisions

The cloud can help businesses save money, according to the respondents of SolarWinds IT Trends Report, cost efficiency is the number one reason for migration, but it certainly isn’t a guarantee. A cloud approach is inexpensive to get started and easy to provision additional services, but it can quickly grow expensive if you’re not making the right decisions.

The cloud makes the relationship between performance, resources, and cost much more evident. The right monitoring data can help you make good provisioning decisions, ensuring that buyer’s remorse won’t soon follow migration.

Course correction

Cloud deployment isn’t right for every application, and sometimes organisations will move it back on-premises after migration. There are several potential reasons for this, such as cost, security, or general performance in the cloud. However, IT professionals can only identify these issues through holistic monitoring of hybrid IT environments.

>See also: The enabling role hybrid cloud can play in transformation

A successful hybrid IT environment will be an optimal balance of on-premises and cloud-based resources. The data provided from monitoring can help achieve this balance.

So, how can you make these benefits possible? Here are some tips:

Create a monitoring inventory

In many organisations, there are numerous monitoring tools that monitor various aspects of the IT environment. In order to standardise and simplify monitoring processes, IT professionals need to create an inventory of what is being monitored, and the tools that are being used to do so.

Standardise systems

Every workload, independent of what monitoring tool is being used, should be standardised, especially if an IT department is using multiple tools.

>See also: Embracing hybrid cloud services in traditional industries

Optimisation is impossible if a system’s performance isn’t being monitored and measured, so it’s in the best interest of the IT department to create a standard set of monitoring processes for each system. These should determine the necessary key metrics, alerts, and actionable processes.

Focus on end-user performance

Ensuring a seamless end-user experience is ultimately the goal for most IT professionals. A slow application is essentially an application that is down. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that every IT professional within an organisation embraces an application-performance-centric mindset, with end-user experience as a key metric. By doing this, traditionally siloed teams can get behind a common goal to which everyone can contribute.

Get a unified view

IT professionals should ensure they have implemented a comprehensive set of unified monitoring and management tools. This will help ensure performance across the entire application stack, from on-premises to the cloud. Being able to visually correlate all aspects of performance (end-user experience, application, database, infrastructure, and network) is essential.

Adopt monitoring as a discipline

Monitoring is often an afterthought, with organisations using it as a reactionary tool to remediate issues. However, by embracing monitoring as a discipline, which places a greater emphasis on proactive monitoring, IT professionals can escape the traditional, reactive nature of monitoring, and instead become more proactive and strategic when planning digital transformation.

>See also: Taking the IT departments pain away

In order to succeed in hybrid IT environments, IT professionals should look to establish monitoring as a discipline and embrace a complete monitoring and management toolset which will help provide single-pane-of-glass visibility of an environment.

By opting for a unified monitoring approach, which turns data points from across the environment into actionable insights, and following the best practices above, IT professionals can help organisations achieve their digital transformation goals, as well as increase overall efficiency.


Sourced by Gerardo Dada, VP of Product Marketing at SolarWinds

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...