This post was authored by Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Cloud Platform.
Odds are you’ve got a hybrid cloud strategy and have already started implementing this approach. That’s just one of the findings in our brand-new 2017 State of Hybrid Cloud research study that digs deeper into the numbers behind hybrid cloud adoption. It also shows us that a hybrid cloud strategy is linked to the business strategy, with business growth and digital transformation being top drivers behind a hybrid approach.
Hybrid cloud is a durable approach, not a short-term transition state. We know this because 9 in 10 of IT workers report that hybrid cloud will be the approach for their organizations five years from now. But, it’s not just about what people believe, it’s also about technology truth. A hybrid cloud approach lets you uniquely optimize your overall IT environment for maximum performance, agility, cost, and compliance. This enables an environment that has a combination of pure cloud systems, apps that span cloud and local systems, modern front ends in cloud with legacy on-premises back-end systems, smart IoT and edge devices combined with cloud analytics, and fully on-premises systems. And, for companies with significant on-premises technology today, with a hybrid cloud strategy, your existing investments become an asset in your organizations’ digital transformation and helps you differentiate, versus just being treated as “legacy” investments.
We have also heard that hybrid cloud can be complex – in fact more than half of survey respondents point to complexity as the top challenge. It doesn’t help that most vendors only recognize half of your IT environment. Public cloud-only vendors push the idea that everything is going to the cloud fast and there is no use for on-prem tech, so just run a hybrid cloud like two disparate systems for this short-term situation. On-premises-only vendors repackage legacy technology and call it “cloud”, then provide loose integration with public clouds that still requires different systems to manage it. Neither of these approaches are helpful to customers. Hybrid cloud should seamlessly bring together and maximize the combination of cloud and on-premises environments, not proliferate different systems in multiple places. A hybrid cloud run with multiple different systems is what makes hybrid cloud expensive, complex, and risky. It doesn’t need to be this way.
The answer to complexity is consistency. Consistency across cloud and on-premises environments means you can leverage common skills for both. Consistency enables the portability of applications and workloads and the flexibility to decide the best place for each to reside. You don’t have to worry about siloed data, disparate management systems, or multiple user identities.
While other vendors have only recently recognized the importance of hybrid cloud, we have been at it for more than seven years, using our enterprise experience to integrate hybrid capabilities everywhere in our Azure cloud. We build consistency into every area: application development, management and security, identity management, and the data platform. We believe these capabilities outlined in this white paper are fundamental requirements for success with hybrid cloud.
Our focus on enabling hybrid cloud goes beyond product innovation and extends to ways we can save you money as you move to cloud. For example, you can save up to 40 percent on Windows Server virtual machines running in Azure by using your existing Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance (check out the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit). And we’ve just turned on the capability for any customer to apply that benefit to any Windows Server virtual machine running in Azure right within the Azure Management Portal. We also have a new free cloud migration assessment to help you discover and evaluate which workloads to migrate now to Azure.
Microsoft uniquely understands the benefit of an IT environment that maximizes cloud and on-premises systems. And, Azure stands alone as the only truly consistent hybrid cloud that takes the complexity out. Visit our hybrid cloud website to read more about how we’re working with companies to accelerate their digital transformation. A hybrid strategy isn’t enough — it’s time for hybrid action.