The impact of a global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate, function, and communicate, highlighting the need for agility and resilience. It has undoubtedly been this awareness that has driven the shift to adopt hybrid IT infrastructure, to enable businesses to harness the cloud’s agility while retaining control over resources that are not suited to a cloud environment. Hybrid IT optimises costs for businesses while maintaining continuous service, security and operation.
What is hybrid IT infrastructure?
In simple terms, hybrid IT infrastructure is the collaboration of physical (on-site data centres) and virtual (cloud technology) resources. Hybrid infrastructure enables enterprises to leverage the benefits of each type of infrastructure for different workloads.
For example, a company may choose to host its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software on a public cloud to maximise elastic capacity. The elastic capacity allows the software to expand or contract as the workload changes. With a hybrid model, enterprises can also choose to host certain workloads on-premises to take advantage of its low latency or to avoid vendor lock-in. Hybrid infrastructure can enable organisations to meet varying infrastructure needs while also reducing the upfront cost of a single-solution infrastructure.
An organisation with a rapidly increasing workforce may want to implement a cloud-based employee management solution powered by legacy data. Alternatively, an organisation may recognise that some applications must be available to remote employees on their devices. Manufacturing businesses can’t afford for production to be offline if internet access is lost, and may choose to keep certain infrastructure on-premises to avoid that but may backup or archive to the cloud.
With a hybrid IT infrastructure, your organisation can maintain or downsize what is not needed from traditional on-site IT infrastructure while taking advantage of cloud-based services that are easily migrated. Choosing infrastructure resources to power business-critical data workloads and applications is critical to business agility and furthers digital transformation projects.
Hybrid IT vs. hybrid cloud
The term hybrid IT is often used interchangeably with the term hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is an element of hybrid IT, but they are not the same thing:
- A hybrid cloud environment combines private and public cloud services, allowing data and applications to be shared between them.
- A hybrid IT environment blends public, private, and hybrid services, with in-house data centres to deliver data workloads, apps, and services.
Hybrid IT infrastructure options
Hybrid IT infrastructure configurations can vary, as part of it is hosted by a provider and part by the business. Hybrid solutions allow companies to migrate into the cloud slowly, keeping sensitive systems onsite and using hosted clouds for less critical applications.
Typical options for hybrid IT include:
Software as a service (SaaS) applications are collectively provided from a data centre by an external vendor. Businesses don’t have to purchase and maintain the infrastructure, upgrade the system, or worry about keeping the software up-to-date.
The most common form of cloud computing businesses will use is SaaS. It allows companies to access their critical business software through a web browser or dedicated mobile app rather than installing the software on their computers. SaaS is particularly useful for supporting businesses to manage a distributed workforce, including remote workers and employees who spend all or some of their time in a central office location. SaaS solutions can with on-premise data storage, deliver the benefits of more security and user control
Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce customer relationship management, and Gmail are all examples of SaaS applications.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is made up of self-service, outsourced infrastructure services that allow users to run IT processes, store data, host applications, and automate business processes.
IaaS vendors provide servers, networking, storage, and data layers remotely, which can then be accessed via a wide area network connection locally as virtual machines. They also frequently include monitoring capabilities, audit trails, security protocols, node clustering, backup and recovery and elasticity/availability functions. IaaS offers organisations the flexibility to scale IT resources up and down as required. This enables businesses to forgo the expense of buying physical servers and infrastructure management. For example, Microsoft Azure manages the infrastructure while you purchase, install, configure, and manage software, operating systems, and applications.
Providing both tools and infrastructure, Platform as a service (PaaS) is a combination of both SaaS and IaaS. PaaS allows organisations to have just a platform without having to configure servers and operating systems. Other platforms include web services, app services, database services, etc. PaaS offerings are popular with organisations that want to create and maintain their applications and minimise software development costs.
Explore your hybrid IT infrastructure options with the experts
Choosing a hybrid infrastructure can be impacted by several different factors, including industry, client base, and size. The IT infrastructure specialists at INTELLIWORX can help you create the optimal hybrid infrastructure for your organisation, benefiting you with all the advantages of a strong and strategic cloud—increased control, flexibility, security and compliance options, and enhanced business continuity security.