What is cloud? That question is asked of me daily by many IT professionals. If you look up the definition in Webster’s Dictionary, you will see it states cloud is, “A great crowd or multitude; a vast collection.”

Now, I am pretty sure you didn’t get up from your desk while reading this blog to dust off your old dictionary to look up the definition (that is if you still could find it). No, what you probably just did was click the hyperlink for Webster’s Dictionary in the paragraph above and/or search for it into via your favorite Internet browser. Or, in other words, you used today’s technology to access information faster and easier than you would trying to flip through an archaic print dictionary.

Here’s a fun fact for you: Merriam-Webster actually adopted “cloud” back in 1996 by introducing their online dictionary.

Looking at the above example, times have changed on how we gather and store information. We live in a “now” society and we want our data faster than ever. What most people don’t realize is that we are already consuming “cloud.” We use it in our daily lives when we buy goods and services from online retailers like Amazon, when we download and watch movies on-demand from Netflix or when we use file-sharing services like Dropbox.

The Shift

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a fundamental shift in IT as enterprises outsource more and more of their workloads, applications and business systems to colocation and hybrid cloud service provider partners. The common theme that has emerged is that enterprises are looking to offload the business of managing these complex environments so they can focus on their core business – something that should not be feared, but embraced.

Enterprise IT professionals have more options than ever before to choose the best environment for their infrastructure. Companies like QTS have been providing custom data centers, colocation and cloud and managed services to Enterprises of all sizes since 2003.

The Call for Hybrid IT

Cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in computing and has drastically altered both the form and the economics of enterprise IT for the better. But even with the explosion of cloud, many businesses must still adhere to complex and increasingly strict security and compliance regulations. Shortcomings can leave organizations open to data breaches and business/financial regulations violations – both of which can be costly.

What the above two points mean at the end of the day is that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to cloud (and IT as a whole) doesn’t work. Every organization has different needs and is at varying stages of their cloud journey. To ensure long-term success, companies need to find the right mix of hybrid IT to meet their specific needs.

Why hybrid IT works is that it offers the best of all worlds – security, control and customization of a hosted, managed or private cloud environment combined with the ability to scale dynamically using public or other cloud resources. This allows applications and workloads to be run in the environment that is the most effective and best meets the organization’s needs.

But how can organizations discover the best mix of hybrid IT resources? Here are several key steps:

  • First, they should prioritize their goals based on the benefits they are seeking – whether the benefits are financial or performance-based.
  • Then, they should inventory their existing assets to determine the full scope of what they’re looking at.
  • They should evaluate security and compliance requirements to determine workload needs and ensure seamless application integration and weigh performance and security requirements of mission-critical applications to match with the right mix of hybrid IT resources.
  • Finally, they should engage partners who know not just the technology, but their core business and industry – with special attention paid to SLAs to ensuring operational requirements and expectations are in line with their providers’ capabilities.

The Time is Now

The hybrid cloud isn’t as cloudy as one would think, so reach out to your CDW account manager with any questions.

Lastly, be sure to check out how Pepperdine University embraced the hybrid cloud to power key applications or catch up on the latest in cloud computing at BizTech Magazine.

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