Dr. Gregg "Skip" Bailey, Federal Competency Director, Deloitte Consulting
Paul Krein, Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting
While many IT organizations look to cloud mainly as a source of greater capacity, capability and hyper-hybrid clouds can take your cloud game plan to the next level. Read on to learn more.
Capacity clouds — deepening your bench
The term capacity clouds describes clouds that provide capacity, such as computing power or storage. In sports, this is somewhat like a team having a “deep bench” — extra, high-quality reserve players, in addition to its main players, who can be called on when needed. Just as a “deep bench” gives a coach the flexibility to substitute fresh players at the point in the game when greater energy and endurance are needed most, capacity clouds can provide your IT organization with greater elasticity in the computing environments. Such clouds allow you to increase or decrease your computing capacity, storage, or number of licenses as requirements change. We offer these in terms of horizontal layers of IT capabilities — or a traditional stack approach. Via cloud, IT also can buy a capacity of development tools and a development environment. The organization can buy capacity of certain types of software functions such as e-mail or Web site capacity. So the number of e-mail accounts can grow or shrink as the organization has need.
The prospect of cost savings initially attracted many organizations to consider cloud as a viable IT delivery model. The cost savings come as a result of better leveraging what you have. By implementing only virtualization, for example, you might increase from 15 percent utilization to 60 or 70 percent utilization. That’s a direct cost savings. However, by deploying resources delivered from a cloud service — where virtualization, plus more advanced capacity scheduling and automation, are employed and multiple users are sharing the resources — that utilization can climb well into the 90+ percent range, lowering your actual costs even further. There is also a cost savings associated with just paying for what you use. In the case of the e-mail example, you would pay only for the number of accounts you use for as long as you use them, and not for the operations of the equipment, software, and operations staff for unallocated portions.
Cost savings also come from economies of scale in joining with others to support the IT infrastructure. A public cloud has advantageous economies of scale and can leverage more resources — including people — scaling far beyond the needs of a single organization and thus enabling IT to capitalize on the ebb and flow of customer demand. With a private cloud, most of the savings is expected to be from utilizing your own infrastructure more efficiently.
Agility and the ability to fail (and recover) quickly also attracted IT organizations to cloud. These benefits might be more important in the long run than the cost savings. Cloud enables organizations to test ideas, fail fast, move on, and innovate. Using cloud, an organization can, for relatively low cost, try ideas, business models, and innovations that previously might have taken many months and millions of dollars just to set up and test.
At first, organizations used single instances of clouds. They may have put their Web site or e-mail on a cloud or established an external connection with their customer base. Over time, single instances of clouds led to multiple instances of capacity clouds.
Capability clouds for business services — drafting the desired players
The term capability clouds describes clouds that provide not only the capacity of a set of assets, but also the integration of those assets required to deliver a complex service or capability. With capability clouds, organizations are shifting their focus from the technology benefits of cloud to how cloud can benefit the business mission. Cloud as an IT delivery model has been shown to demonstrate the efficiency of IT resources (both equipment and people) in highly integrated solutions (or vertical slice of the stack). Since providers are leveraging more specialized personnel with detailed IT disciplines, many organizations are deciding to take more comprehensive cloud solutions in lieu of just capacity, because it’s proving to be a more efficient way to deliver a given capability.
Like a coach drafting players based on the particular skills needed to round out the team, IT can choose capability clouds targeted to specific business needs. A capability cloud includes everything you need to provide a service, such as collaboration as a managed service, e-mail, calendaring, and related functionality. Examples of capability clouds include those that provide collaboration, analytics, or human resources (HR) functions.
Hyper-hybrid clouds for more effective combinations
As more capacity and capabilities are provided through clouds, a concept for a new type of cloud emerges — what Deloitte calls the hyper-hybrid cloud. In a hyper-hybrid cloud, multiple private or public clouds providing capacity or capabilities are combined to achieve the business workflow or the business service. Many early adopters may string multiple cloud services together themselves for a given business workflow. Over time, companies may appear that will package hyper-hybrid clouds for other organizations and sell them as full services. As in team sports, you can pick the desired players for each position based on skill, but they still have to work together as a well-integrated team. Think of the hyper-hybrid cloud as an effective balance of cloud offerings.
The simplest example of a hyper-hybrid cloud is when a company has a capability internally and either needs to expand that capability or add new functionality that’s delivered by a public cloud or another cloud service. Imagine integrating your internal HR system to an external customer relationship management (CRM) tool, enabling sales productivity data to effectively flow into the compensation systems. Each time you string together multiple business workflows, you can build out a greater service to the business.
Three or four of those point-to-point clouds are not too complex for IT to manage. But as you start to take the leading services from within and outside your organization to stitch together your business, then the complexity increases. If you build all point-to-point connections in IT, then you might end up with a service that can’t move at the pace of change of the service providers and that lacks portability.
The integration problem experienced a decade or two ago — when organizations adopted a client/server approach to computing and started building out multiple systems — is coming back but with new scale as the hyper-hybrid cloud becomes an efficient computing approach. IT will need to manage that complexity.
The following sections provide suggestions for smoothly transitioning to hyper-hybrid clouds, managing the complexity these clouds can present, and facilitating IT and the business working together in the new era of cloud.
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