New research from Gartner found that investment in the hybrid cloud is poised for growth in the next few years, with many more MSPs dipping their toes into secure online data storage services that can support corporate IT infrastructures.
According to the research, the hybrid cloud is now where the private cloud was three years ago, and by 2017, half of all enterprises will have deployed the storage system, Network World reported. This is exemplified by industry moves, such as VMware's recent launch of a hybrid service, along with other providers.
However, maintaining momentum and achieving this widespread level of deployment will not be without its challenges for MSPs and other channel firms - the biggest of which is cultural, the news source writes.
Being a self-service model, the hybrid cloud means that IT departments will have to grow accustomed to utilizing different types of expertise and developing relationships with their solutions providers. Gartner recommended beginning this process through a small group pilot program, as the benefits make this effort in companies' best interests.
"Virtualization reduces capital expenses, and standards and automation reduce operational expenses," said Thomas Bittman, Gartner vice president, cited by Network World. "However, taking the next step of adding usage metrics, self-service offerings and automated provisioning requires investment in technologies without a significant reduction in operational cost. With this in mind, the driving factor for going that next step should primarily be agility."
IT departments may slow deployment
Another challenge MSPs will need to overcome related to partnering with businesses and organizations is the very nature of the hybrid cloud. While the technology soothes many firms' security concerns by coupling private and public cloud storage, it will require MSPs to know their clients' IT data storage on an even more in-depth level and prepare them to move to the next stage of cloud storage.
For this reason, a recent article from ZDNet compared the development of a hybrid cloud infrastructure to the transition to fully electric cars and the beauty of the Toyota Prius, which it called a "pretty good halfway house."
"On balance, maybe we shouldn't be so purist about cloud," RedMonk's James Governor told ZDNet. "Maybe the hybrid is a good thing; the Prius is representative of the idea that maybe hybrid makes sense."
By working with clients and industry partners, MSPs can identify the opportunities open to them within this rapidly expanding sector.