Bob McCouch recently wrote about some Networking Challenges to Hybrid Application Deployment and it got me thinking: what questions would I need to answer to identify opportunities to introduce “hybrid enterprise” concepts in my environment? How can I ensure successful transition to this new way of providing IT services? This list is very, very far from exhaustive, but I’ve settled on three “starter” questions that I think are important for every IT organization to ask.
What services are my users missing or unhappy with?
I wrote previously about making sure to pay attention to shadow IT trends in your organization. In many cases, identifying these problem services will turn up opportunities to succeed with a hybrid delivery model. For example, users may be dissatisfied with your homegrown CRM application and struggle to perform job functions because of its poor performance. This is an immediate opportunity to turn to a SaaS product like Salesforce.com, monitor and accelerate the delivery with SteelHead/SteelCentral, and secure a huge win for your hybrid enterprise initiative.
Where could my operating costs be lowered by going hybrid?
One of the most straightforward targets for cost savings by moving to a hybrid model is the network. Identifying inter-site network traffic that can move off of expensive MPLS WAN connections to the public Internet can afford great savings. Obviously this probably comes at a reliability, visibility, and performance cost, and the exercise of weighing the options here is one of the major facets of the successful hybrid enterprise! As noted in my previous post, a successful hybrid network will support the rest of your hybrid enterprise design.
What problems might I run into?
Moving your organization to a truly hybrid model is rife with opportunities to encounter performance and availability problems. In one example that Bob described, an application that wasn’t well designed for WAN deployment, or an n-tier architecture with servers in the wrong location can destroy performance, and more visibly, end-user experience. Before you make the leap, be sure to consider the way your applications function, the way they’re accessed by users, and the way you currently have visibility into the service. As visibility changes, an excellent choice for monitoring end-to-end performance is SteelCentral.
As you do the research required to answer these questions about your environment, you’ll likely uncover more opportunities to consider a hybrid approach. The possibilities are broad, and the potential impact to your business is great. As you explore the hybrid enterprise delivery model in your organization, what other questions do you find yourself asking that might be helpful?