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Why CIOs need to embrace new norms of the hybrid cloud

Thor Olavsrud | Nov. 20, 2014
The CIOs of Intel and Riverbed say that in the hybrid enterprise tech executives need to focus on creating seamless business flows that help the company operate better.

"Every company also has core workloads -- the workloads you run that differentiate your company," Stevenson says. "They make your profit. At Intel, those workloads are design/engineering and manufacturing. Those are the workloads that will primarily stay on-prem and we will invest and innovate there for competitive advantage. That's what gives rise to the need to integrate these things from inside and things from outside."

While you might be able to divide your workloads into enterprise and core buckets with surgical precision, the reality is that separation isn't simple or clean. Manufacturing needs information about orders. Sales needs to know the status of their customers' orders. Information needs to flow efficiently between those worlds even though some of it is in a SaaS application in the cloud and some of it is on-premise.

"That's why you have to have this integrated, hybrid enterprise," Stevenson says. "You have to be assured that your data is secure and there's visibility in those transmissions."

4 Norms of Hybrid Enterprises
Most of the IT processes we've gotten used to in the past few decades have been designed to centralize control. But that's not really possible in a hybrid cloud environment. Once you start aggregating multiple clouds with your on-premises environment, pieces of your IT processes are no longer under your control. Stevenson and Raahauge say IT processes need to adjust to the "four norms of the hybrid enterprise," noting that CIOs must embrace them if they're to flourish in a hybrid world:

  • Your IT environment is controlled chaos.
  • The user experience is highly distributed.
  • Your operational performance is now reliant on external systems.
  • Optimizing performance requires visibility.

It may be controlled chaos, but the trick is the controlled part. And that comes from visibility that extends from all the components of the network layer, through the data to the app and out to the end user, she says. With that visibility, you can seamlessly orchestrate the information flows, even if you don't have control over every element. You have to follow the traffic.

"The really key element that you have to have to orchestrate anything is visibility," she says. "You're not going to have control necessarily, but you need to have visibility to orchestrate."

"The perimeter of a company is artificial nowadays," Stevenson adds. "There's a lot of ways into companies today, so knowing those and having visibility on those paths is what's really important in the next decade."


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