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A report published by S&P Global Market Intelligence finds well over half of organizations (57 percent) are now pursuing some form of a hybrid cloud computing strategy, with 39 percent of organizations reporting they are actively implementing that strategy. In comparison, 17 percent said they are developing a plan while the remaining 43 percent are just getting started.

The challenge with implementing any hybrid cloud computing strategy is how quickly cloud computing platforms are evolving. Hybrid cloud computing once simply referred to any effort to integrate an on-premises IT environment with a public cloud computing service. The biggest issue back then was that each environment tended to be based on very different types of virtual machines.

Now, not only are organizations employing multiple clouds that each have their own preferred virtual machine platform, but the types of applications being deployed are also starting to become more complex. Organizations, for the most part, have spent the last 10 years deploying the same type of monolithic applications in the cloud that they have been running in on-premises IT environments for decades. The only thing fundamentally different is who owned the infrastructure.

Today, organizations are starting to deploy so-called cloud-native applications based on microservices that are constructed using containers and serverless computing frameworks. These applications are much more modular, which makes them easier to update by replacing one microservice with another. They are also more resilient because if a microservice is unavailable, traffic will be rerouted to another microservice to handle that request.

The challenge is all the dependencies that exist between microservices make it more difficult to build these applications. More challenging still, while these applications are less likely to outright fail any time there is an issue, it is hard to determine the root cause of the issue that inevitably hurts application performance.

It’s not just the cloud that is evolving

On-premises IT environments increasingly now include a wide variety of edge computing platforms. In effect, the on-premises IT environment is becoming more distributed as organizations attempt to process and analyze data closer to the point where it is being created and consumed. Over time, batch-oriented applications that process data overnight are going to give way to applications that process and analyze data in near real-time, as organizations continue to expand the scope of their digital business transformation initiatives.

The upside from a managed service provider (MSP) perspective is that the number of organizations that have all the skills required to manage hybrid cloud computing environments are few and far between. There is no doubt most organizations will need to rely more on external expertise.

The challenge, of course, is MSPs need to make significant investments themselves to acquire the skills that will be required to remain relevant. This is not the first time MSPs have been confronted with a training challenge, but the scope of the current challenge is significantly higher than ever before.

Savvy MSPs are making significant investments in training to meet the increased demand for cloud expertise. The issue is that the demand for that expertise isn’t going to be as much for where cloud computing has already been, as much as it where it is heading next.

Photo: your / Shutterstock


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Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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