By 2020, hybrid cloud will be the default cloud computing environment for small, mid-size and enterprise organizations. Cloud adoption by industry may happen at different rates, but no matter the study you look at — Gartner, IDC or 451 Research — one thing is abundantly clear. We all live and work in a hybrid cloud world.

To prepare your organization, you need to first recognize there will be barriers to hybrid cloud adoption. Your company’s success will be determined not by what platforms you select but by how well you identify these challenges, acknowledge their requirements and manage the technical and operational evolution of your organization.

Having helped many companies develop their cloud strategy and support their transformation, we know what the common questions are, where the pitfalls lie, and how to answer for both so you can reap all the benefits of hybrid cloud computing.

See how we handle hybrid cloud

What is hybrid cloud adoption?

Look closely at any industry and you will see how cloud computing is changing it. Every day, adoption of cloud is growing and technologies are evolving. As this happens, new businesses are developing and old ones are being required to transform, dramatically. Think about how you do the simple things in your business in an average day — email, tapping tools that manage your business relationships, editing shared documents on your phone – none of this is possible without cloud technology.

At the same time, it can be hard for businesses to know whether private vs. public cloud computing is best for them. Private cloud is owned and meets maximum security requirements. Public cloud can sometimes be cheaper, but the fact that your data lives in a shared space can be a major inhibitor of public cloud adoption for some organizations, even when there are ways to make sure your security, governance and compliance requirements are met.

Adopting hybrid cloud resolves the private versus public cloud dilemma by giving you the best of both worlds. Good cloud consulting services will help you architect a hybrid cloud environment that combines on premise, private cloud deployments with third-party, public cloud services. The best cloud computing providers will architect your solution so there’s automation and orchestration between the two platforms, allowing your data and applications to live in the environment that’s best for them – whether those are static destinations or on-demand migrations between platforms driven by rapidly changing business conditions.

Why hybrid cloud?

Flexibility is the biggest reason hybrid cloud adoption rates are. Being able to pick between private and public cloud computing — effectively gaining all the advantages of cloud computing while avoiding all the downsides — gives business the best opportunity to use the cloud most effectively.

Hybrid cloud adoption trends will keep that hockey-stick formation in all industries and all size businesses as long as it enables IT organizations to optimize their investment and performance on an application-by-application basis. Deploying the right applications in the right cloud at the right time to meet availability, reliability, and compliance requirements is no longer nice to have. It is must-have.

Hybrid cloud benefits grow with digital transformation

Rewriting your applications for portability feels like an insurmountable task, but it’s not one you have to tackle right away to realize the benefits of hybrid cloud. Application portability is still an advanced concept, even for modern, purpose-built applications. It’s okay to leave this idea on your roadmap for the future and make plans to tackle these digital transformation initiatives down the road. Digital transformation represents significant investments in technology, culture and business process development and should not be undertaken lightly. This is a multi-year effort involving all facets of your business. While you work towards these goals, however, there are plenty opportunities to take advantage of the benefits of hybrid cloud computing.

The barriers to hybrid cloud adoption

We’ve handled enough hybrid cloud strategy and migration projects to know there’s no such thing as an easy, by-the-book move to the cloud. Every migration is different. Your migration is based on your current business environment, your current operating model, your current technology deployments and your unique opportunities, challenges and risks. Your cloud needs and the benefits you are seeking by moving to the cloud are yours and yours alone.

While there will always be arguments against cloud computing, you only need to look at the hybrid cloud adoption statistics to know that for most, the benefits far outweigh the downsides.

The two obstacles that most often trip up businesses looking to migrate to a hybrid cloud are infrastructure silos and application silos. Different virtualization environments, different clouds, multiple OSes, unique storage architectures and platforms, as well as disparate geographic deployments and connectivity requirements supported by wildly varying maintenance windows create complexity and uncertainty. If you choose the right hybrid cloud provider and the strategy and migration plans are tuned specifically for your business, however, these barriers can be easily overcome.

Overcoming the obstacles to realize the advantages of hybrid cloud computing

The best way to defeat obstacles to hybrid cloud adoption: Planning. You have many different applications, each with completely different requirements, not to mention infrastructure strewn all over the place, but as long as you’re able to sit down, sort through what you have, and create a cloud migration strategy, you’ll be able to architect cloud solutions that work for you. Here are three steps everyone can take to overcome the barriers to hybrid cloud adoption.

Assess your cloud adoption strategy: Know what you have, where it is, who uses it and what its future holds

At ServerCentral, we begin by identifying the current status of your existing infrastructure and applications. It may sound daunting, to take stock of everything – even the oldest and least reliable pieces. We promise. It’s not. Modern tools, automation, and two decades of operational experience allow us to quickly identify which applications are solid candidates for cloud migration, which applications can be easily refactored to capitalize on cloud solutions, and which applications need to remain where they are.

At the end of your assessment, you’ll have a clear plan that lays out the case for cloud computing for your business, and what your hybrid cloud model will look like in the short-term and the long-term. We’ll help you explain to stakeholders why you’re moving to the cloud and identify the decisions that need to be made before migration. Then we’ll work through each of them with you until you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Moving to cloud computing: Take what can be moved and leave what can’t

Once we have a plan in place, we’ll use the most advanced technology and our best (and proven) practices to seamlessly migrate applications and data to the appropriate platforms. Our goal is to make the move so painless, no one in the nontechnical C-suite even knows it’s happened – until they start to see the performance improvements, cost reductions and drop in support tickets.

When the migration is complete, your comprehensive hybrid cloud environment will be fully documented and architected to flex and grow with your business.

Managing your cloud solutions: Your business isn’t stagnant, so your cloud can’t be, either

Just because the hybrid cloud migration is done doesn’t mean the work is. If you’re opting for fully managed services, our team at ServerCentral will regularly put your infrastructure through its paces, testing your disaster recovery plan, upgrading and patching systems when needed, and looking for every opportunity to improve performance and/or lower your costs.

If your own IT team is waiting to take ownership of your new hybrid cloud, we’ll train them how to do the same. Instead of handing you the keys and telling you to drive, we provide the hands-on, behind-the-dashboard time and ongoing support you need to master your new environments. And when you do need changes, we’ll be there to help every step of the way, with 24x7x365 support provided by certified system administrators, certified cloud architects and certified network engineers.

The future of the cloud is hybrid, and so is the future of your business

Successful hybrid cloud adoption is all about planning, quality of execution and attention to detail. If you put in the work upfront, and find the right partner to help you, no amount of complexity will stop you from realizing hybrid cloud’s computing benefits.

As the global hybrid cloud adoption roars forward, now is not the time to let a little work stop you from pursuing the infrastructure your business will rely on. Now is the time to make a bold move forward into the hybrid cloud.