Mixing up hybrid multi-cloud adoption
Globally, IT decision-makers believe that the hybrid multi-cloud is the ideal operating model for today’s digital environment. This is according to the 4th Annual Enterprise Cloud Index published by Nutanix.
Of course, understanding how to integrate and control the combination of resources available across the hybrid multi-cloud and on-premises real estate can be daunting, especially for African organisations still struggling to overcome traditional infrastructure challenges. Fortunately, there are several tools that can aid in the transition.
Prioritising bottom-up development
In the past, companies used to rely on top-down development practices when it came to the platforms they adopted and the application and services they developed. People had to be content with using what they were given, with virtually no room for customisation depending on departmental requirements.
In an agile business, this blanket IT development practice no longer works. Users have become empowered and have more choices regarding the solutions they adopt. If flexibility and functionality are not up to standard, people will move on. This has ushered in the age of bottom-up user-driven development.
What is assisting in this regard is how IT teams across the continent are focusing on transforming their datacentre operations by investing in highly automated solutions. These are designed to focus on business-centric decisions and move away from infrastructure-centric ones that the availability of hybrid cloud solutions has primarily addressed.
Given the sprawling hybrid cloud and on-premises real estate, companies must now decide where to place their workloads and data repositories.
Measuring workload lifecycles
This is where calculating the workload lifecycle becomes non-negotiable.
With decisions surrounding cloud migration responsibility now falling in the spotlight, a business will need to examine the stage and nature of an application and data workload's life cycle and the value to be had by moving each workload to the cloud. There is no single model for a workload lifecycle calculation.
However, it is crucial to remember that the calculation must be based on how mission-critical the technology is. This includes its place in the business value chain, its number of touchpoints with users, partners and customers, and how it fits into the increasingly complex governance and compliance landscape.
As each country across Africa moves towards its own version of data privacy regulations, companies must be aware of the implications of going the hybrid multi-cloud route and its impact on the data it has access to.
Retain or retire
Sadly, many decision-makers still think the hybrid multi-cloud requires a rip-and-replace approach. But this does not have to be the case. Yes, some application workloads will not be easily migrated to the cloud in an economically viable manner. These workloads can be left on existing platforms or be migrated to an updated traditional infrastructure available through on-premises cloud deployments.
In turn, other workloads might be at a stage where the most cost-effective course of action would be to retire them. For instance, support from the original vendor has been discontinued, especially when migrating it to the cloud. Furthermore, more advanced cloud-based alternatives may be available that also provide enhanced security features over the existing ageing solutions.
What is clear is that companies cannot make a blanket decision on the strategy to use for all its workloads. It has to be done per workload, depending on the requirements. Only once a complete evaluation has been conducted will the business be able to identify which workloads need to be a retainer and which must be retired. The rip-and-replace way of thinking is one that must be avoided at all costs.
An ongoing journey
These steps take time to happen. If there is one thing today’s cloud environment has shown, it is that change will be ongoing. Take skills development as an example. Companies will need cloud-migrated and cloud-native skills beyond just moving their application and data workloads to the cloud. It also requires access to competencies to build new cloud services and operate the total cloud estate once instances are ‘spun up’ and in motion.
In Africa, this provides significant opportunities to create an empowered workforce that can help address high unemployment rates. Upskilling and reskilling take on new importance in a continent that is well-positioned to benefit from leapfrogging more established markets with its intuitive approaches to leveraging the cloud to address traditional business challenges.
Businesses across industry sectors must consider the critical elements around workload lifecycles and application development, which will impact how they can leverage cloud computing technologies at the right time, in the right workflows, and at the right price point.
There is no silver bullet approach to adopting hybrid multi-cloud. Instead, each company will take a unique mix of strategies that best unlock the potential of the cloud for its strategic requirements.