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IT managers: Concerns spurring hybrid cloud adoption

According to a recent study conducted by EMC, the top concerns of IT managers today could be contributing to an uptick in hybrid cloud deployments.

IT managers are concerned the skill sets of their staffs are failing to keep up with emerging technologies, they are losing control of IT spending, and they lack in-house expertise for on-demand services, according to a recent EMC survey.

Sixty-nine percent of the 10,451 respondents to the global survey said they anticipate difficulty training IT staff over the next two years, with rapid growth in cloud, big data and mobile technology. That is troubling, considering 71% said they believe IT must start to serve as in-house brokers for on-demand services to help business growth.

Those services can be both drivers and results of hybrid clouds. Hybrid cloud adoption has grown 9% since 2013, with 27% uptake across the globe, according to the survey. Nearly two-thirds of global respondents (64%) said they need a hybrid cloud model for the agility and security it provides, and 74% said they believe that increasing automation in their infrastructure is imperative to business growth

A hybrid cloud lets managers set policies to automatically move cold or nonproduction data to the cloud, while they still have control of business-critical data in-house. That allows them to keep data close while still taking advantage of the cost savings of cloud storage.

"Agility with a hybrid model means you can leverage the cloud in what I would describe as a burst situation where you need extra processing power during peak times," said George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland.

He also said performance would fall under the umbrella of "agility" when it comes to hybrid clouds. "You essentially get local performance when you deal with hybrid clouds -- a more typical performance model is something that really appeals to people."

Curbing IT costs is also a factor in cloud adoption. Almost half of the survey respondents think IT spending is moving away from their control, and adopting a hybrid cloud could be a strategic option to take advantage of cost savings while still keeping certain data in-house.

"We're seeing an increasing number of people who do development work in the cloud and pull it into the data center when it goes into production, so it saves them from buying equipment," Crump said.

Hesitation still surrounds cloud storage

The development work or bursting use cases for the cloud that Crump cited indicate that IT has yet to fully embrace the cloud. While public cloud adoption is growing (at approximately the same rate as hybrid cloud adoption, according to EMC) only 16% of survey respondents said they would put any application in the cloud. Applications respondents most commonly said they wouldn't store in the cloud included financial planning, human capital management and enterprise resource planning apps.

"There's still a fair amount of distrust so I think the hybrid model gives you the 'I can use it as long as it doesn't mess with me' kind of option," Crump said. "As businesses get larger I think hesitation with the cloud becomes more significant. I don't think there will be any slowdown in public adoption; hybrid will just appeal to people who won't go public."

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