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I have written at great length about the Hybrid Cloud approach to IT, and, over the last 18 months, there has been a massive shift in the industry toward the flexibility, security, and scale of a Hybrid strategy.

A Hybrid Cloud is no longer just a “valid alternative” to moving everything to the cloud – it is now the differentiating factor for any business looking ahead at their long-term ability to outperform competitors.

I believe it’s time for enterprises to start asking the “Why Hybrid?” question and start thinking about the components they’ll need for their own Hybrid Cloud.

The move to a Hybrid environment is so valuable that I encourage everyone reading this to attend the upcoming Azure IaaS for IT Pros Online Event. This free four day event is led by my friend Mark Russinovich, and it will go deep into the relevant technology to help you better understand and build your foundational cloud skills. You can register right now here.

 

Every week I talk with CIO’s and implementers from around the world, and, over and over, I hear stories that emphasize just how important a Hybrid Cloud has become. There are a lot of reasons: It allows existing SCCM investments to be used for cloud-based management (see here), it empowers organizations to use cloud scale/power while keeping any assets they choose on-prem (see here), it allows on-prem and cloud-based tools to work together in a “Managed Everything” model (see here), and it extends identity management to every device in your infrastructure (see here). And the list goes on!

This move to a Hybrid setup is already well underway: A Forrester Research report from this Spring (Titled: Strategic Benchmarks 2014: Data Center Strategy) noted that survey respondents stated 69% of their enterprise infrastructure was still housed and managed in company-owned facilities. Looking ahead, the Forrester report showed that, over the next four years, that number would shrink 25%. This kind of reduction means the addition of a lot of cloud scale and a lot of Hybrid scenarios.

The Hybrid Cloud approach empowers IT to support a global workforce that expects to be connected and productive from anywhere on any type of device while comprehensively protecting corporate assets. This Hybrid model also easily integrates into other pieces of your infrastructure, like Office, Office 365, Active Directory, and ConfigMgr. As huge as these benefits may be, the cost savings make them even more valuable. A Hybrid setup reduces the costs associated with DR/backup, migration, regulatory compliance, and continuity.

If you need some additional concrete analysis to really make the case, simply check this link. Microsoft is the only organization ranked as a leader in all 4 of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants measuring cloud infrastructure.

I also recommend reading this post about the big improvements and innovations that have taken place within Azure over the last year.

Customers and partners evaluating our Hybrid Cloud approach sometimes ask a very legitimate question: “With all this focus on the cloud, are you neglecting the on-prem solutions?” The great news here is that the opposite is actually the case: On-prem management is in Microsoft’s DNA, and we are committed long-term to creating the best on-prem solutions in the industry.

We have 2 primary, over-arching goals with the on-prem products we continue to build and support:

  1. Constant improvements and innovations (check out Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server, for example).
  2. Make all of these on-prem products work great with our cloud solutions.

Mastering these topics and adding the Hybrid Cloud’s tools to your technical repertoire is no small accomplishment, and the upcoming Azure IaaS for IT Pros Online Event is your chance to really build your expertise on this important topic.

If you have a chance to attend, let me know what you think of it!