On Tuesday, IT management software provider SolarWinds released its annual report titled IT Trends Report 2016: The Hybrid IT Evolution, detailing some interesting trends around cloud adoption in the enterprise and the rise of hybrid IT.

First off, according to the results of the report, cloud adoption is a foregone conclusion for most businesses. The report found that 92% of the IT professionals who were surveyed said adopting cloud was important to long-term success in their business. Nearly 30% labeled it extremely important.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy Template (Tech Pro Research)

However, despite this widespread adoption, most organizations aren’t fully embracing the cloud within the whole of their organization. Joel Dolisy, CIO of SolarWinds, said that is because the cloud isn’t the best option for all workloads.

“The findings of this year’s study paint a clear picture: Cloud adoption is nearly ubiquitous, but it’s not now and will not in the foreseeable future be suitable for all workloads, and even if it were, very few if any companies would convert all of their existing applications to run in the cloud,” Dolisy said in a press release.

The data to support Dolisy’s statement came from the report as well. Only 43% of respondents said that half or more of their IT infrastructure will make it to the cloud over the next 3-5 years. And, 60% said it is unlikely that their entire infrastructure will ever be fully cloud-based. Additionally, 9% said they hadn’t migrated any piece of their infrastructure to the cloud.

Dolisy called the resulting dynamic hybrid IT, where an organization blends critical on-premises tools with cloud-based technologies. This affects IT as well, he said, because it shifts the dynamic of the corporate IT professional to one who can guarantee always-on performance regardless of where he or she is based. Additionally, these professionals need new skills and tools to effectively deploy and manage these environments.

Basically, the rise of this hybrid IT means that IT professionals are faced with two key tasks: Leveraging the cloud to increase efficiency and performance, while maintaining security of critical systems.

So, what are the benefits of this hybrid IT infrastructure? The SolarWinds report listed three in ranked order:

  1. Infrastructure cost-reduction
  2. Increased infrastructure flexibility/agility
  3. Relieving internal IT personnel of day-to-day management of some infrastructure

However, there are some challenges to managing this type of infrastructure as well. Of the respondents, 62% listed security as the top challenge within these type of environments.

Then, of course, there are also inherent challenges to encouraging cloud adoption as well. SolarWinds pegged the top three barriers to overall cloud adoption (which, in turn, affects hybrid IT) as follows:

  1. Security/compliance concerns
  2. Legacy system support
  3. Budget limitations

Nearly 70% have migrated their applications to the cloud, almost 50% have migrated their storage, and 33% have moved their databases.

SEE: The state of IT: CIOs targeting hybrid cloud and packaged services (TechRepublic)

So, how does this affect your organization? Well, new trends in infrastructure often require new skills to support them.

According to the survey, only 27% are convinced that their IT department has the skills needed to fully support a hybrid IT environment. To succeed in hybrid IT, respondents said they needed better monitoring tools, application migration support, distributed architectures, service-oriented architectures, and automation or vendor management tools.

Hybrid IT also require support from leadership as well. Of those surveyed, 56% felt that they had the support needed to do hybrid IT right.

“In short, IT is everywhere,” Dolisy said. “Effectively managing and monitoring the new environment–from on-premises to the cloud with multiplying endpoints–to be able to act when needed is more critical now than ever.”

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Hybrid IT, a mix of cloud and on-premises solutions, is growing as the prevailing trend in IT architecture. Almost all respondents said cloud was critical to future growth, but many felt that their organization would never be fully cloud.
  2. Hybrid IT can offer cost reduction, increased agility, and management relief. But, it also brings security challenges, issues with legacy systems, and budget challenges.
  3. If your organization is engaging hybrid IT, your IT professionals need the proper tools and skills to stay on top of it. Look into monitoring, different architectures, and automation to help support your staff.