IT Management

Is it just me or is “hybrid” taking over as one of the hot descriptors in the world and the technology industry today? In IT, there’s a lot of buzz about hybrid infrastructure, hybrid enterprises, hybrid events, hybrid cloud, and the hybrid workforce. Hybridization efforts are, of course, all related because their genesis comes from the need to evolve and constantly improve. In IT, it comes from the need to improve service quality while reducing costs even as you experience rapid growth. It’s important to understand what’s behind these challenges to clearly see why there’s a definitive shift toward this hybrid world.

In a recent keynote at the CA Technologies’ May Mainframe Madness virtual education and networking event, renowned academic expert Dr. Howard Rubin presented “Rubin’s Law: Why IT Spending Is About to Hit the Wall.” In the session, Rubin points out that demand for technology is growing at unprecedented rates, but it’s doing so independent of revenue and operating expense patterns. Basically, infrastructure costs are outpacing the revenue and profit growth of many businesses. This is forcing CIOs to manage the dynamics of upward demand and downward cost pressure. This challenge helped drive innovation with the introduction of cloud computing. Rubin points out that cloud computing is a disruptive technology that’s a critical weapon to IT success, given current technology economics.

Of course, as cloud adoption increases, so do the challenges of managing the increasing complexity of IT infrastructures. Most of the world’s largest and most successful companies currently rely on a combination of mainframe and distributed computing. The same cost pressures driving cloud adoption are causing IT leaders to look for ways to more efficiently manage across mainframe, distributed, and cloud. So what’s happening to leverage all these IT assets and manage service delivery across them all economically? 

Hybrid approaches help leverage the best attributes of all these IT assets and economically manage service delivery. This shift is breaking down walls between formerly siloed mainframe and distributed IT teams, with budgets moving toward inclusion of cross-platform architectural design and the need for IT staff to manage across them. In keeping with this, I’d wager you have been or soon will be engaged in one or more of these hybrid areas:

Hybrid computing: Applications spanning mainframe and distributed systems are already quite common in banking and are growing with large e-tailing operations. With the release of zEnterprise and new management tools such as cross-enterprise application performance management and enterprise workload automation, these solutions should become even more prevalent as companies leverage mobile and Web-based distributed computing as the front-end of powerful, secure mainframe-hosted systems.  

Hybrid cloud: A cloud composed of two or more public or private cloud infrastructures that remain unique entities, bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds). Get used to this one.

Hybrid IT workforce: As organizations evolve and adapt to changing technologies, funding and staffing realities, many IT workers and managers have been asked to take on multiple, new duties. IT employees able to develop, manage, and/or support mainframe and distributed computing systems are an emerging and increasingly important group. Perhaps the most employable and in-demand new job category of the evolving IT sector, the hybrid IT worker, will be invaluable as organizations adopt the cross-enterprise technologies and eventually evolve to hybrid cloud models. 

Hybrid computing is clearly the future, and it stands to reason that a hybrid workforce to manage and monitor these applications and systems would naturally follow. Silo-based management will likely soon become obsolete and vendors will need to enable these hybrid workers to become effective quickly and efficiently.

So, it’s now up to the vendors to support this evolving hybrid world by providing the management tools to modernize and simplify management, and assist in making it easy to deploy and manage cloud and other enterprisewide services. This is an evolutionary challenge that vendors will either embrace or which may cause their extinction.

Note: To view a replay of Dr. Rubin’s keynote, visit the May Mainframe Madness on-demand site at and register for free, or login in if you’re already registered.