Hybrid cloud and the infinite enterprise

The adoption of a hybrid cloud solution is essential for organisations targeting the establishment of an “infinite enterprise”.
Paul Stuttard
By Paul Stuttard, Director, Duxbury Networking.
Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2023

According to a respected research firm, the outlook for the global cloud computing market in 2023 shows significant increases in the adoption of hybrid cloud solutions and services, which will present increasingly lucrative business opportunities for organisations across multiple industries.

The hybrid cloud – often referred to as the enterprise hybrid cloud – represents an approach that combines at least two computing environments that share data and run a common series of applications.

For example, a hybrid cloud may include a private cloud and a public cloud, or multiple public or private clouds. In essence, a single computing platform is created, able to span and communicate with multiple clouds and optimise cross-cloud processes.

It is an approach needed to meet the increasing demands of the new breed of “work-from-anywhere” employees, as it encourages workload portability. It also supports the new corps of customers who wish to make purchases and do business from anywhere in the world.

In this regard, the hybrid cloud allows applications to work across any number of environments, while meeting requirements for agile, cost-effective computing systems and services capable of scaling in conformity with organisational growth and business practice evolution.

The infinite enterprise is based on the notion that every employee is a “branch of one”.

One of the central requirements of a hybrid cloud environment is advanced automation. This should be seen as an urgent strategic initiative, as conventional manual processes are already incapable of meeting today’s security and regulatory compliance challenges, let alone the requirements of routine network optimisation programmes.

The need for network, application and system security is also a clear prerequisite of the hybrid cloud environment, which is ideally suited to organisations requiring an offsite virtual backup for disaster mitigation, as well as the application of a “zero trust” strategy.

Zero trust has much to offer. Only permitting identified users, applications and databases to connect to the enterprise is an effective means of ensuring strong security in a distributed environment. Importantly, zero-trust organising principles, in line with a hybrid cloud adoption, can be implemented in phases over time.

A key feature of the hybrid cloud is its ability to give organisations superior control over their data, as the choice regarding where to store or archive data is flexible and can be based on a range of criteria, such as performance or availability through the provision of multiple routes to cloud destinations.

The growing popularity of the hybrid cloud concept is also indicative of the blurred lines between traditional cloud types and the far more complex nature of current clouds in which location and ownership are becoming increasingly abstract.

It is also symptomatic of the mounting need to bridge the gap between old and new development processes. The latter may often have to support traditional architectures together with new applications as business objectives rapidly advance.

Hybrid cloud acceptance reflects its growing tangible business value. From a practical perspective, it’s an architecture that can help boost collaboration among employees by facilitating the easier sharing of files and documents and “anywhere” access to applications and services. It also delivers competitive advantages through improved flexibility and multiple alternatives for workload deployment.

In this light, the adoption of a hybrid cloud solution is essential for organisations targeting the establishment of an “infinite enterprise”.

The concept of the infinite enterprise has gained currency since the COVID-19 pandemic and is often defined as the acceptance of technology solutions aimed at the creation of an ideal virtual workplace. It is also identified as one of the platforms best suited to enhancing the consumer experience.

The infinite enterprise is based on the notion that every employee is a “branch of one” and underpinned by support for the objective of infinitely distributed connectivity for users who consume network services – whoever and wherever they are.

The infinite enterprise is thus able to connect anybody, anywhere to any other person or application in an environment characterised by technology that revolves around the user’s needs and is always available, secure and manageable.

The boundaries that once defined businesses are disappearing as the infinite enterprise gets set to mirror modern society which is well on the path to becoming infinitely distributed.

Against the backdrop of this often-mentioned “new normal”, the realisation of the benefits of the infinite enterprise requires the upscaling of services and technology to provide secure, reliable experiences for everyone, everywhere. It’s a model whose genesis is in the cloud.

In order for an enterprise to effectively scale up and out – probably from hundreds of devices to possibly millions – flexible public cloud, private cloud and on-premises solutions that meet evolving and diverse demands for connectivity are essential.

Modern enterprise hybrid cloud applications, and the tools that support them, are therefore also central to the goals of the infinite enterprise and its tenants. These should include qualities such as the ability to allow all stakeholders to migrate to the cloud at their own pace and in their own time.