How businesses can get the right mix of flexibility from their IT

We are moving rapidly into a world where everything computes. Cars that do the driving for us. The connected devices in our homes, and in our pockets. All the sensors being deployed in the service of getting the job done in just about every industry and every business.

All those silicon-based smarts connected to all those sensors, are generating massive amounts of data. Data is fast becoming the new oil fueling the digital economy.

And if data is the fuel, applications are the engines – consuming the data, making sense of it, and putting it to work. Applications might show up in the consumer world as a mobile device pushing out an ad at the right time in the right locale. In a commercial setting, it might be a set of applications analyzing data across an organization’s entire global footprint and value chain.

In a world where everything computes, developing and deploying applications is increasingly how every organization – big and small – interacts with its audiences, be it employees, customers, or other constituents. It is by leveraging applications that the best businesses are being transformed. Conversely, those that lack the expertise to develop and deploy applications quickly are being left behind.

This, of course, has not gone unnoticed by organizations across all industries. What our customers want more than anything is a simple and consistent IT experience to run more applications on flexible infrastructure to accommodate their evolving business needs.

So how do businesses get the flexibility they need from IT? How do they seamlessly transform their IT organizations so that they can develop the applications that will transform lines of business, create new revenue streams, and offer more value to their customers?

Hybrid IT is not an exotic technological journey, it’s simply how business works today

If you spend a lot of time in certain cloud-filled circles, you may get the sense that a grudge match exists between public and private cloud factions and that you had better take sides.

The advice many CIOs were getting – and still are – was they had better hitch their company to as many public cloud services as fast as they could. Some did, and what became evident fairly quickly, for even the most enthusiastic public cloud believers, was that life in the public cloud wasn’t perfect.

The public cloud can be slow and lack the performance you might need. Service level agreements may not meet your business standards. We’ve all witnessed the public cloud outages that have brought down popular consumer and enterprise services and forced some IT shops to move applications around based upon existing service agreements.

Storage costs can add up significantly. And if your competition is also your cloud provider, you could be giving them a vantage point on your intellectual property you don’t want them to have.

Others have preached the virtues of private cloud, hyperconverged systems, and traditional IT. But they too have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost and scale. The point is, this idea that you are either “off-prem” or “on-prem,” a believer or a heretic, is nonsense.

When it comes to IT, you need the right mix for your business

Whether you’re running a company, a university, or a non-profit, chances are your organization straddles across many variations of traditional IT and both cloud worlds, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. What you want, in that case, is the “non-denominational” Hybrid IT approach that can be managed seamlessly.

For most companies, data sits in a combination of locations– private cloud, public cloud, and at the edges where data is being gathered. Gartner estimates that 70 to 80 percent of today’s corporate data is locked up in traditional applications environments. By 2020, Gartner also predicts that 75 percent of that data will need to move to cloud-native applications.

The challenge for every organization is finding the right mix at the right scale, speed, and cost, which is the exact purpose of Hybrid IT.

Deploying a Hybrid IT strategy gives you the right solutions at the scale, speed, and cost that’s right for your business

Hybrid IT is not a steady state. If you picture your mix of data and application types as virtual dials, every organization needs to get comfortable turning those dials up and down to accommodate different needs and different attributes required by any given instance.

For example, say you want the fastest performing application with the lowest possible latency. You’re probably going to want to develop that application internally and deploy it internally to minimize latency. In this case, private cloud is your best bet.

Say you’re developing and testing a new application but you are not sure that it is really going to light the world on fire –and latency isn’t really an issue. In this case, you can develop, deploy, and test it in the public cloud with minimal risk.

And what about all those traditional applications that keep your business running? Hybrid IT strategy can help you modernize operations and reduce costs to make more room for new applications that can drive revenue. No one wants to come up with an entirely new set of databases, or a new way of closing the books, they just want to modernize to take cost out, and move to a more efficient operational model. The goal is to make more time to work on new applications that can drive revenue. The right Hybrid IT approach can do that too.

Once a public cloud company, Dropbox now runs on their right mix of Hybrid IT

Take a company like Dropbox. Dropbox began as a denizen of the public cloud, but soon found that the cost of the public cloud was outpacing its business model. They had to adjust to bring down their operating costs. Today, Dropbox runs its business on a mix of private cloud, public cloud, and traditional IT, allowing it to reduce costs and continually adjust the dials to improve operations and meet evolving needs.

For most businesses, IT investment decisions are not static, and they will continue to change monthly and quarterly. It is the job of every CIO to find their own right mix for the right moment, and continually adjust the dials to meet their unique, evolving needs. This is the nature of business today, and Hybrid IT is the solution. It’s not so much a journey from one IT destination to another, but a continual adjustment of infrastructure needs and investment as an organization relentlessly moves forward.

If that sounds like a lot, well, we get it.  And it’s the reason we created a new category of infrastructure that accelerates application delivery in both traditional and new IT environments, called Composable Infrastructure.

HPE Synergy delivers the right stuff, at the right time, automatically

HPE Synergy, the world’s first Composable Infrastructure platform, is designed to help you turn the dials on that mix of public, private and traditional IT, by composing and recomposing the right infrastructure to best match the requirements of the applications, whether that is virtual machines, containers, or bare metal. At the end of the day, HPE Synergy is designed to turn IT organizations into the sure-footed application development machines they want to be.

HPE Synergy does that first by being 100 percent software-defined. In that sense, it has a much more cloud-like experience. If you need to change the attributes of the infrastructure to meet the changing needs of an application, you can simply adjust an existing template within HPE Synergy Image Streamer and it recomposes the infrastructure automatically to meet those needs.

Imagine you are running IT for a bank, and you need to serve multiple lines of business. The commercial side wants an application to assist traders. The consumer side wants a new mobile app to serve retail customers.

With HPE Synergy, rather than buying new infrastructure for each project and putting in six to 12 months of work, you buy infrastructure once, compose the right DevOps resources with Synergy to serve the trading application, and when they have migrated the application you can reconfigure the infrastructure resources for the consumer application development. Rather than months of reconfiguring the infrastructure, you are redeploying the application in minutes.

That ability to serve more customers with new applications, internally or externally, changes things dramatically. For HPE Synergy customer HudsonAlpha, that flexibility and speed to applications changed the research firm’s entire model.

Imagine what you can accomplish when you can push your IT as far and as fast as it can go

HudsonAlpha is a genomics research consortium that provides IT and big brain scientists to help develop algorithms to push genomic research. Think of it as an innovation hub that focuses on research to find the link between things like genetic mutations and disease.

As a non-profit, HudsonAlpha has a very small IT department, so how can it punch above its weight from a research perspective? By pushing IT as far and as fast as it can go. What that means for HudsonAlpha is that if I am one of those scientists and I want a new application to go explore a new research path, I can use HPE Synergy to make requests for whatever infrastructure I think I need, and with just a few points and clicks of a mouse get to work writing code. Which is what all developers, researching genomics or otherwise, want to do.

For HudsonAlpha, rather than serving up the right infrastructure to one scientist every hour, it’s serving up one every 15 minutes. Over the course of a day that multiplier effect means they can serve three to four times as many people doing genomic research. It changes the entire model of the non-profit.

You can take that same dynamic and apply it to any large company with multiple lines of business. If you are a pharmaceutical company, it might be dozens of different brands. If you are a research university, it might be thousands of students and faculty. If you are an energy company, it might be commercial operations and the retail customers.

Some of your applications will run in the public cloud. Take the energy company example. The public cloud is perfect for the offers and loyalty program perks being shown to customers at the pump or at the convenience store register. But the when it comes to apps that manage production, or turning data from exploration into action, the private cloud offers the speed and muscle required.

Incorporating a Hybrid IT approach and using new technologies like HPE Synergy gives you the flexibility to compose and recompose infrastructure to get everybody what they need, quickly and cost effectively.

Look at performance, look at consistency of experience, look at cost, look at data locality, look at your competition, and your own business policies. Then, based on your own weighted preference and business needs, the answers should become clear as to what you should do with your data and applications.

As an IT shop, you can become a partner to developers rather than a roadblock. For lines of business, IT becomes a service provider that helps them scale and adjust to their needs depending on the business flow of the company.

Even Belgian beer needs new applications

The shift we have been describing isn’t happening in a few isolated tech verticals, it’s happening in every business and organization.

A small Belgian brewer with a small IT shop is using HPE Synergy to compete with behemoths in the beer world. By deploying sensors across their brewing process, they are developing applications that will dial in tastier, more efficient production. By generating and analyzing sales data more effectively, they hope to anticipate changing tastes and trends, and to connect more closely with their beer-loving customers. It is the same mix of data and applications that every organization has the opportunity to leverage, they are just using it to sell more beer.

Whether you are a brewer, a research consortium, a bank, or an energy company – whether you are big or small – everyone business is experiencing some type of digital transformation. The right mix of Hybrid IT can help you transform into an IT organization that can modernize traditional applications, keep current applications constantly updated, and keep new applications flowing into the marketplace.

For IT organizations, that capability is no longer a choice. If you can’t help your lines of business free up the resources to develop applications to find more oil, discover beneficial genes, brew better beer, or pick profitable investments, your competition will.

Reduce Your Datacenter Complexity With HPE Synergy
Discover how to maximize your business outcomes in the new “HPE Synergy for Dummies” ebook.