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Hybrid IT: The Journey to the Cloud

Kong Yang, Head Geek, SolarWinds | June 2, 2016
An Overview of hybrid IT and the skills needed to manage hybrid environments.

Skills for Hybrid IT Success 

SolarWinds recently conducted a survey among nearly 100 members of our thwack community of global IT professionals which provided insight into the top skills IT professionals say are the most needed to increase their confidence in managing hybrid IT environments. This includes: 


  1.  Service-oriented architectures 
  2. Automation 
  3. Hybrid IT monitoring and management tools and metrics 
  4. Vendor management
  5. Application migration
  6. Distributed architectures 


1.       Service-Oriented Architectures 

IT professionals who work with service-oriented architectures (SOAs) such as Netflix, today have many pillars and layers to consider, but at the core includes the service provider and the service consumer.  

Currently, the industry standard pillars of SOA are the consumer interface, business layer, services and their components, and the operational systems connecting the data model and the data flow. Cutting across these pillars are four layers: integration and protocol support, quality-of-service (QoS), business information and governance. Key performance metrics such as network bandwidth and network latency from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud as well as end-user experience (i.e. issues raised) are constantly being monitored, troubleshot and remediated by Netflix engineers and their scripts to ensure a smooth experience for all their concurrent users.   

To replicate this, more companies will need to be more agile, lean and cost-effective inevitably decreasing the barriers for consumer to use the service. IT professionals will need to leverage templates and services from marketplaces such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Bluemix while understanding how to integrate services via APIs like REST. IT professionals should also have a fundamental understanding of application architectures and how to scale them, a strong understanding of distributed systems, as well as how to consume and use APIs on top of strong background knowledge in IT operations.  

2.       Automation 

The evolution of automation should be expected as hybrid IT environments become more prevalent as automation enables the scale, agility and availability that businesses require. However, today's automation is done primarily with scripts. As more businesses move towards a hybrid IT environment, they will need more than scripts to enable automation as they reduce the friction to consumption for their end users.

Cloud service providers are already making changes to move towards removing the barrier to consume services by providing easy-to-use, pre-defined services. This includes options such as templates, blueprints, and APIs. For example, Amazon QuickSight abstracts all the requirements associated with building big data models and business intelligence implementations to allow users to quickly build visualizations and derive insights from their data proving that services will continue to evolve what automation needs to encompass in order to orchestrate many, concurrent workflows across multiple data centers in an increasingly hybrid IT future.

Automation in the hybrid IT environment will abstract away the operations layer and be integrated with machine learning algorithms that will automatically scale, move and remediate services. In addition, IT professionals will need to integrate their automation and orchestration workflows with provider APIs, which serve as the building and connecting blocks of their application stack. 


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