According to research and analyst group, Mordor Intelligence the global hybrid cloud market is expected to reach $145-billion by 2026 with an estimated CAGR of 18,73% over the forecast period (2021 to 2026).

By Jonathan Duncan, vice-president: anglophone Africa, secure power solutions at Schneider Electric

The above undoubtedly reconfirms the growth trajectory of hybrid cloud which is also seeing a healthy uptake in the South African marketplace with more and more businesses moving some of their data to cloud environments.

The reasons for South Africa’s adoption are many; for one the cost of replacing IT assets such as high-end servers versus moving information to cloud are driving decision makers to make the more cost-effective choice.

Also, the country currently has shortage of competent datacentre managers to run these environments, handing over some of the reigns to expert outsourced providers makes sense.

With the ongoing move towards hybrid cloud environments there comes an extra layer of complexity; nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Hybrid cloud environments are by its very nature a mix-match of various technology options including centralised cloud, regional edge datacentres which include significant compute and storage options and local edge that consist of smaller IT assets utilised by branches and satellite offices.

The reason is relatively straightforward, increasingly mature systems such as CRM and other can be hosted on the cloud but others such as those managing counting machines in manufacturing environments must be at the coalface and provide consistent performance and immediate data delivery.

The challenge therefore is how do you manage these somewhat diverse environments in a manner to provides consistent data and performance?

Edge datacentres, which are located closely to where the data is generated, provide organisations with a metadata view of their information but must also be managed accordingly.

The challenge is to make organisations understand that these smaller datacentres must also enjoy priority. Whilst a node site, it still a vital cog in an overall machine and can derail in organisation’s entire hybrid cloud posture.

Additionally, edge datacentres are often vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Located at smaller branches, its’ often surrounded by aging technology that simply can’t run the requisite security software to keep the environment safe which has a vicious knock-on effect impacting the edge datacentre.

When considering the above, we are finding that organisations with hybrid cloud environments are increasingly investing in:

* Software that offers visibility into all datacentres.

* Software management tools.

* Standard operation procedures (SOPs) to manage these diverse environments.

Software management tools come with increasingly sophisticated functionality that allow organisations to gain valuable insights into their environments. For example, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), these tools can provide the requisite analytics to solve an issue remotely without human intervention which saves on costs and precious manhours.

Additionally, software management tools provide predictive analytics which can extend, for example, the service cycle of equipment. The tools with assess the lifespan of equipment and provide a real-world service scenario, again saving on service costs.

Software management tools, therefore, offer the following important benefits to hybrid cloud environments:

* Hosted, vendor-neutral, monitoring, management, and planning.

* Smart-alarming and data-driven recommendations powered by AI.

* Risk planning, capacity management, and automated workflows.

Ultimately, software management forms an important part of managing any hybrid cloud environment ensuring information is collected and analysed from all data points, be it in the cloud or at the edge.