I was at the #Structure2017 conference and the term hybrid cloud (at last count a day and a half into a two-day conference) has been used 131 times. However – I hazard that between the panelists, interviewers or the audience members who used this term – all have different definitions interpretations of this catchphrase. Why is this so? Let’s start with an analogy first.
Let’s say you have decided to move homes. Why? You are looking for something sexier and more contemporary. And your dream for this newer home is that it is more efficient, fully wired (or wireless), all solar, cognitive etc. Lucky you-you found it. And to entice you, so you are not put off by the sticker shock, the builder decides to give you a month-to-month lease. All good! And everything in that home is on a lease as well – furniture, appliances, all the digital exhaust that you generate (no catch here – just yet). So, you decide to go all in. Except, your significant other recommends (you know what recommend really suggests here) that you keep your existing home while “trying” out this new home. And herein lies the catch. (Bear with me a little longer and the relevancy to the CIO and CISO’s dilemma will become clear). There are a few paths forward in the fork ahead.
Minimize the ‘pain’ of maintaining two homes by pretending the ‘new home’ is your existing home on steroids. What does this really mean? Use your existing home security system with the same pin and sensors – even though the new home has biometrics, facial recognition, image sensors etc. – in short, pretending the new is akin to your old. Why would anyone in their right mind do this? Because there is the inherent fear of the new – especially one that is so different. To exacerbate, if you have lived in your existing home for years, decades even, then you are trained and steeped in certain behaviors. And there is comfort in knowing that those same activities – however suboptimal and outdated – can be applied to this new house. But it is an approach and gives you the illusion that you are in both the new and the legacy at the same time with minimal unlearning and relearning. What about the new technology available in the new home that you never had in the old home? Easy – just ignore it or turn it off. I never said that this was the best approach – but it is an approach.
The future beckons and I am totally going there. In this model, I am going to sell my dump (if anyone will buy it) and move to my new paradise. As part of that, I am likely going to sell all my aging assets and embrace all the tech embedded geekiness that my new place has to offer. Yes – that means I need to learn new stuff – bring it on. And – god forbid – if I am unhappy at that new place, there is another property that offers similar or even more cutting-edge amenities – and I will go there and learn (and unlearn what I learned in my previous new home). Yes, it may be painful but not as painful as staying in my current dump. #Onwards.
And then there is a more nuanced approach. One that DOES NOT take ALL the learnings – good, bad and ugly – aka #1, but rather focuses on the ‘principles’ that you care about that need to be carried over. These could be for example ‘my house ambient temperature should be at 68 degrees during the night’, ‘need to retain my house security code of CookingPapa ‘in my new house. BUT – this is key – there is always going to be new technologies and innovation in the new house that did not exist in your existing house, and it is incumbent upon you to learn that for your own betterment – but you can choose to do that at your own pace. This is the path where there is no ‘pretense’ (thinking the new house is a carbon copy of the old one) since all the amenities and gizmos are in your face all the time Likewise there is no ‘abandonment’ where you pretend to do a suboptimal memory flush jettisoning all your excellent learnings and principles and start anew – no siree – you are carefully taking the key pieces of the things that matter to you and apply them in the new house.
I lied. The CIO and CSO analogy to your house migration problem will be tackled in the next blog of this series – not in this one. But I will leave you with a teaser – hybrid cloud. There are paths to a public cloud that every enterprise and service provider CIO and CISO are seeking. And they are like the paths in our home migration story. #StayTuned