How hybrid solutions support businesses in the scale-up phase

by Craig Tavares, Head of Cloud at Aptum

Companies in the scale-up phase often look to technology to gain a competitive edge over their established counterparts. However, eagerness to grow the organisation and a lack of IT experience can stunt the efficiencies of business processes and hinder growth.

In fact, a study by Aptum found that 55 per cent of IT decision-makers struggle to keep up with the pace of technology, and 28 per cent are unable to keep up with the increasing number of changes available to them.

Scaling enterprises often see their rate of business growth outpace the capabilities of current IT systems. Questions around the correct infrastructure, cloud platforms and emerging technologies are usually the main challenges identified.

The right managed service providers can help mitigate these issues Their experience means they know the appropriate stage to deploy suitable technologies. The burden of IT can, therefore, be lifted so an organisation can focus on the day-to-day running of the business and, ultimately, growth.

Future-proofing emerging technologies like 5G needs a new approach

Scale-up enterprises see 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), immersive content technologies like AR/VR, gaming, streaming and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as tremendous opportunities. Integrating these technologies with existing systems can be difficult, so organisations seek a different solution to what is currently in place, such as hybrid cloud with edge computing.  Lower latency architectures, like edge computing, bring the applications used by an organisation closer to an end-user to create a more efficient process. 

The growing use cases for 5G, IoT and AI such as enablement for autonomous devices require the transfer and processing of large amounts of data in real-time at the edge. When it comes to delivery, the discussion needs to be more around how to leverage regional data centres along with on-premise compute resources, understanding the economics of your data and how to avoid cloud vendor lock-in.

However, that doesn’t mean the cloud has no role in 5G. Hyperscale cloud has always helped to remove the barriers of entry so any organization can experiment with the various emerging technologies. We see scale-ups using hyperscale cloud on the development side, as the staging ground in the application cycle.

They take full advantage of the development tool kits and the community of information. But the conversation rapidly moves to hybrid at point of delivery which exploits the capability of both hyperscale clouds and edge computing.

The right platforms for the right reasons

For many of Aptum’s break-out customers, accelerating growth means accelerating innovation. They want to quicken the pace with the development process.  At some point, this will involve a legacy application modernization exercise if the application is not already cloud-native. As many older applications do not scale fast enough it might make sense to modernize by putting the application in containers.


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Flexibility is the key when it comes to deploying applications in a high growth environment. That inevitably means hybrid solutions. If we take Fintech enterprises, for example, they use high performance compute (HPC) strategies for high-frequency trading deployed within the data centre, but when it comes to lower performance object storage, they will use the cloud. 

For eCommerce businesses, on the other hand, we often see web-scale applications hosted in the cloud to meet once a year and peak demand points such as Black Friday shopping, while they keep back-office applications and large databases within the data centre.

In the end, decisions are made on an application by application basis. Economics, performance, governance and data sovereignty all come into play. A partner will weigh those elements and will advise whether to hosting a private cloud, on-premise or with a hyperscale provider.

Focus on the application itself rather than cloud infrastructure

The most successful scale-ups don’t see growth reactively as a problem. Building for scale is at the core of their strategy. Many automate their infrastructure to sit in the background and quietly work. Every scale-up is different, but there are some features and practices that these leaders share.

They have application security built-in from the start; they use on-ramp cloud tools like Microsoft Express Route to give them secure, private connectivity with an SLA for scaling and bursting on-prem HPC environments to the cloud; they have cloud optimization AI tools in place so they can see what resources are overused and underused, and finally they have a long term strategy in place that considers application readiness for future issues like workload mobility and machine learning data analytics.

Strong partnerships

Putting the above features together by yourself is almost impossible. That’s why the best scale-ups have strong partnerships in place with trusted advisors. Partners with deep expertise who can act as honest, unbiased consultants to help the business make the platform choices that support rapid growth in a sea of technology options.

Technology is no longer a black box, which stands alone and no one outside IT understands. It is front and centre for every business and organisation, and the right or wrong choice can be the difference between success and failure for companies during the scale-up phase of growth.

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