If you asked me five years ago if I thought hybrid cloud was a cop out – a misinformed strategy for businesses that weren’t ready to transform hard enough – I probably would have said yes. I saw the allure of the cloud native narrative and didn’t understand why businesses were holding on to the past with hybrid cloud.
But then, something became crystal clear. Hybrid cloud isn’t a cop out, it is a reality. People that wanted to throw away years of foundational technology and start over were oversimplifying the situation. Cloud native presents an answer before even asking the question – something technologists can easily get swept up by in our race to the future.
Few business leaders get to start with a clean slate when it comes to technology. Most have layers of tech built up over time; hybrid cloud is a pragmatic approach to leveraging the best of each of these existing layers of enterprise technology.
Consumers vs. businesses in the world of digital transformation
One important realization for me in coming to this conclusion was that businesses and consumers do not have the same needs. Consumers buy new toys and tech from one Black Friday to the next. The latest smart phone or television is constantly changing and quickly obsolete. When you are making decisions for one individual, the barriers to adoption are minimal, so this isn’t a challenge.
Businesses, however, cannot simply replace a single device and adopt the newest trending technology. Enterprises have many customers to consider and must prioritize reliability, security and stability to keep their stacks operating efficiently and deliver their product or service well. Maturity, data protection and availability are all critical to meeting the needs of every stakeholder.
Ripping and replacing technology isn’t realistic because of the methodical adoption curve that enterprises require. One mistake in the process could put a company completely out of business or put thousands of customers’ information at risk.
What do businesses lose if they try to start from scratch?
Throwing away years of technological insights is not pragmatic for businesses. Data centers and mainframes are where businesses can access generations of business knowledge that has built up over time. The intellectual property (IP) in legacy systems can be lost in businesses’ rush to become cloud native, meaning they lose what differentiates themselves from competitors.
Most businesses are specialized and as a result, they have domain-specific data stored away from years of sharpening their business processes. Enterprises lose this when a third-party, commoditized cloud provider is managing its data and dictating how to run the business.
Data centers are the way for businesses to maintain control and access to these business insights. However, they still need to modernize, and that includes leveraging the cloud. Determining how and where to connect legacy systems to the cloud is a critical part of the modernization journey and mastering the right blend of hybrid cloud is unique to every business.
“Legacy” is the word for something that works
While some may believe that the only path forward is cloud native, throwing away everything that has worked for businesses is not a strategic approach. Whether we call it legacy or mission critical, we are talking about systems that are tried, proven and work. I call this enterprise-grade – enterprise-grade strength, reliability and IP protection.
Of course, in digital transformation, even systems that are proven and effective need to be transformed. This means modernizing to get the best of new technologies and build from the foundation your business already relies on. Finding the most impactful ways to add cloud applications to your tech stack allows businesses to maintain the tenets that have made them successful thus far and continue to optimize as their environments evolve. To learn more about hybrid cloud, check out my episode of the Digital: Disrupted podcast. For more on modernization, visit Rocket Software.