With a mix of old and new applications, on-premise and cloud infrastructure, as well as legacy and modern processes, many organisations are faced with the challenge of managing the growing costs and complexity of a hybrid IT landscape.

By Danie Thom, open hybrid cloud specialist at Red Hat

As a framework for managing the full scope of cloud computing capabilities, the open hybrid cloud is helping organisations meet new business demands and deliver IT services with the speed, stability, and scale they need to set themselves up for success.

With the open source approach, applications can be built rapidly and made to seamlessly integrate across environments. Automation allows for the continuous deployment of applications and effective management between different teams and processes.

This creates a modern software supply chain that allows for security, stability and reliable software delivery. Through the support of an expansive open source community, businesses have access to all the industry-leading innovations they need to thrive in today’s digital environment.

Agility in an evolving environment

In 2020, 63% of IT leaders reported using the hybrid cloud, and 54% of those not using it said that they plan to within 24 months. At the same time, many companies still struggle to migrate to a hybrid cloud environment because of migration costs, their reliance on legacy technology, and the lack of expertise or support for putting digital transformation into practice.

Moving on-premise data and applications to a hybrid cloud environment promises far greater consistency, speed, and scalability, which refutes the outdated notion in IT that you can only choose between two of those three key features.

From traditional monolithic Java applications to modern cloud-native applications built with microservices, or systems that take advantage of automation, virtualisation, or machine learning, the hybrid cloud unlocks all the essential capabilities and integrates them into a cohesive ecosystem. With an open approach, businesses are not limited by vendor lock-in or cross-compatibility issues.

Because of open standards, businesses can move more flexibly and consistently between different interfaces and platforms, and choose between on-premise, virtual, private, public cloud or edge environments based on what’s best for each application or their business as a whole.

In 2017, 90% of the global public cloud workload was run on Linux. Today, Linux containers have become the preferred deployment option for cloud-native apps, and the open source Kubernetes platform is the industry standard for managing and orchestrating containerised workloads.

The age of automation

A common pitfall among companies improving their IT architecture is that they struggle to improve automation, which is often the key to bridging the gap between hybrid environments. As highlighted by Forrester, the Covid-19 crisis has made automation a “boardroom imperative” in order to mitigate the risks of constrained business resources.

Red Hat’s Ansible Automation Platform is an open source automation platform that helps many organisations rapidly and reliably deploy applications and services. It is also an universal automation language that can be used across entire IT teams – from systems and network administrators to developers and managers.

A report by IDC has shown that organisations that chose Ansible for their automation strategy have seen an average of 498% return on investment over five years, with an average payback period of five months.

They also saw a 68% increase in the productivity of their IT infrastructure management teams, 68% faster deployment of new storage resources and developed 135% more applications per year.

What is clear is that the open source approach to automation is ultimately giving businesses the speed they need for application development and delivery. It provides the consistency needed to integrate existing systems with new cloud-native services, and the scalability to respond to change automatically while streamlining performance.

Behind the technology

Leveraging the advantages of an open hybrid cloud is not just about the technology, but about the people behind it. As highlighted by the Harvard Business Review, digital transformation will fail if employees don’t support innovation and aren’t willing to move away from familiar, yet outdated, processes. A digital culture needs to come from every part of the organisation, and it is important that everyone has the support they need to make the transition.

The hybrid cloud environment is constantly evolving, which is why it is crucial for business to use platforms and services that can evolve with it. The open source approach to hybrid cloud was made for this, and because of its collaborative nature, it offers businesses access to both state-of-the-art innovation and the support they need to implement and maintain it successfully.