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Artificial intelligence should enable the rapidly-expanding hybrid cloud to meet one of its biggest current challenges: how to control the life cycle of resources so they are used in the right place at the right time, and at the right price.

During this exceptional crisis period, the increased power of e-commerce and massive adoption of remote working have led most businesses to adapt with greater agility. Events have shown that the ability to react in such a short timeframe to such an unprecedented situation inevitably involves IT and digital. 

More specifically, the hybrid cloud, which links and interconnects private and public cloud infrastructure, seems to be the solution more and more businesses are adopting.

According to the Rightscale 2019 State of The Cloud Report, 58% of companies had already chosen a hybrid solution the previous year. “The hybrid cloud actually offers the best of both worlds: the security and control of the private cloud plus the agility and power of the public cloud,” says Hermann Dupré, Global Business Development Manager Datacenter & Cloud at Axians, the VINCI Energies ICT brand.

“On the business side, this type of setup makes it possible, through the public cloud, to respond more quickly to a need – to roll out teleworking, for example – by acquiring resources en just a few hours rather than several weeks on-premises [internally on site],” explains the Axians expert.

Hermann Dupré adds that “The public cloud’s potentially limitless resources and the ever-growing array of functionality on offer from the market’s three main “providers” (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform) make it possible to respond to large variations in workload and a wide variety of needs that the private cloud alone would have struggled to satisfy.”

Computing as a commodity

By using public infrastructure, the hybrid cloud makes it possible to limit local infrastructure costs, at least at first sight. From Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to Software as a Service (SaaS), computing tends to become a commodity that we consume like electricity, through a subscription, without worrying too much about where this pay-per-use computing power comes from.

“With artificial intelligence, the real-time optimisation of hybrid cloud tool and resource use in line with demand will generate cost savings”

“The cost of the system ‘as a Service’ is ultimately higher than if you purchase the equipment and licences, but you can avoid impacting on the company’s investment budget and hence its debt level,” Hermann Dupré explains. But he doubts that this higher cost will persist, because “In time, with artificial intelligence, the real-time optimisation of hybrid cloud tool and resource use in line with demand will generate cost savings.”

For the CIO, the hybrid solution also offers the possibility of avoiding “Shadow IT”, which is the propensity of employees to use the public cloud, such as Dropbox, for convenience, rather than going through the company’s tools. “With the hybrid cloud, the CIO takes back control of user behaviour, and can therefore guarantee security and ensure homogeneous management of every environment.” adds Hermann Dupré.

Nonetheless, the Axians expert finds that there are certain prerequisites with the hybrid cloud: “Precise cost management, consideration for changes affecting the user, some thought given to data sovereignty, compatibility of company-held licences with the public cloud, and lastly, IT knowledge management.”