With digital transformation taking an increasing share of the headlines, cloud migration is seen as a key strategy to prepare the data center for the demands of the new environment. Speed, agility and service innovation are essential for a successful transformation and legacy systems can prove inadequate for the demands.

However, IT leaders are finding that some of their legacy systems are essential to mission-critical applications and services. At the same time, they may recognize that cloud migration is a long process and one that requires skills that may not be available within the organization.

Two-Speed Approach to IT

Gartner’s Strategic Road Map for Data Center Infrastructure forecasts that future data center services will be based on ‘an amalgam of premises-based, co-located, hosted and cloud-provided services.’

To support that strategy, Gartner recommends a process they call ‘Bimodal IT.’ This process is based on two-speed IT. One part of the team looks after existing infrastructure and legacy systems and applications (mode 1), while a second group concentrates on innovation, migration to the cloud and development of new applications and services (mode 2).

A bimodal strategy will help IT maintain the balance between the realities of maintaining existing infrastructure and meeting the challenges of digital transformation, according to Gartner.

This is important because around 75 percent of organizations surveyed by Red Hat are primarily in mode 1, where teams maintain technologies including traditional client/ server computing, email, legacy enterprise applications, and relational database management systems.

However, the Red Hat survey also found that some two-thirds of respondents were planning to move to a more cloud-centric environment within five years. To meet that goal, respondents recognized that they would have to overcome problems of siloed architecture, security issues and lack of skilled staff.

No Single Right Solution

These findings suggest that there is no single solution to suit every organization and, for some, a rush to the cloud could be counterproductive.  In fact, some organizations have found that the cloud has not delivered the benefits they planned and have moved part of their assets out of the cloud. Costs and problems in managing cloud resources were cited as reasons for withdrawal.

In planning future strategy, IT leaders must take account of all the factors before taking the decision to migrate to the cloud.

Automation Maintains the Balance

Where organizations decide to retain part of their infrastructure on premise, automation will be key to optimizing assets. Automation will enable teams to deal with diverse infrastructures and disparate data. It’s also an important step in creating a single platform across different environments so that data can flow across systems and be accessible in real time.

Automation will help teams improve the performance of the many different infrastructure environments they have to manage in the cloud and in traditional data centers, enabling them to operate a bimodal strategy and optimize all their assets.

With infrastructure accounting for 60 – 70 percent of a typical IT operating budget, optimization is essential across all environments.

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