How Microsoft Azure can speed a hybrid IT strategy’s time to value


I frequently interact with clients, partners, suppliers and startups in the IT industry regarding the latest developments in cloud and hybrid IT technology. Multiple cloud providers are the new reality, and the intricacies of evolving to a hybrid IT model can be significant. One challenge I hear all the time is, “How do enterprises accelerate the time to value from a hybrid IT strategy?”

CIOs and business leaders are looking for ways to accelerate their journey to digital. They have an existing set of environments that are taking up a disproportionate share of their IT spending. They need to deliver secure, reliable operations for their existing environments, and drive down costs year after year. At the same time, they want to take advantage of DevOps practices and move applications to a cloud native environment to drive innovation and quickly respond to business demands.

To put it simply, it’s all about the applications. Whether it’s a line-of-business application, a consumer application or an enterprise application like SAP, it’s a matter of assessing the application portfolio to determine an appropriate landing zone in a hybrid IT environment so that the best value can be achieved and a migration strategy can be implemented. The best time to value can achieved by rehosting and refactoring applications, and by utilizing cloud native application development methods and tools.

Thanks to recent developments by a variety of cloud providers, that time to value is getting shorter. One of the best examples is Microsoft Azure with Microsoft Azure Stack.

Microsoft Azure public cloud services are steadily increasing in market share and the range of services offered, including compute, analytics, storage and networking. Late last year, Microsoft unveiled Azure Stack, a hybrid cloud platform that delivers Azure services from your own or a partner’s data center. Hardware integration partners include HPE, Dell and Lenovo.

Azure Stack has several compelling use cases:

  • Enable edge computing. The platform gives you the capability to do local processing at the edge location and then utilize the scale of Azure public cloud for largescale processing.
  • Comply with regulatory restrictions. Many enterprises must meet a variety of regulatory and compliance requirements, which can vary significantly by country and locality. Azure Stack provides a foundation to meet these requirements and to address data sovereignty needs.
  • Modernize legacy systems. The Azure Stack environment can support the modernization of legacy applications as part of a hybrid IT strategy.
  • Build innovative hybrid applications. Azure Stack provides the ability to use a consistent set of Azure services and DevOps processes and tools, then deploy to the location that best meets the business, technical and regulatory requirements.

Azure Stack is a way to bridge the gap between private and public cloud, so organizations can begin taking advantage of cloud services immediately.

Many organizations could face challenges in adopting a hybrid IT strategy. Some lack the development expertise to modernize their applications and implement modern DevOps methodologies, while addressing security requirements in the process. Others have performed workload migrations in the past, but may lack the factory-style approach and in-house resources needed to plan and migrate mission-critical applications. Others may feel it’s more cost-effective to turn to a third-party services provider to manage Azure services across the entire environment.

For many organizations, a third-party provider is the best path for moving to a hybrid IT model, but it’s important to find a provider with vertical industry knowledge, application development expertise and the ability to apply analytics and automation to make sure you’re getting the most value from public and private cloud environments.

There’s no question that we’re seeing some exciting developments in this space, and it’s getting easier every day to address questions about time to value.

James Miller is chief technology officer and vice president for Cloud and Platform Services at DXC. He builds key client relationships, advises senior leadership on technology trends and initiatives, and provides oversight and thought leadership to grow DXC and client business. Previously, Jim was the industry chief technologist and Fellow for manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and defense, and strategic accounts at HPE. He was responsible for developing innovative solutions that were transformative for clients and industry.

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