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Time to Rethink the Cloud

Thought Leadership Thought Leadership

January 31, 2024

As businesses strive to modernize their infrastructure, they face numerous challenges. Among them, ensuring cyber resiliency and security, managing data growth, and balancing sustainability. Significant trends are emerging as tech leaders revisit their approach to the cloud and examine ways of driving optimization across continually distributed environments.

Recent studies reveal a notable shift, with more than 70% of global leaders adopting consumption-based models like IT as a Service (ITaaS) to address ongoing modernization issues. This evolving trend is projected to gain further momentum. In addition, Storage as a Service (STaaS) is predicted to surpass 35% of enterprise storage capital expenditures, marking a substantial increase from the less than 10% recorded in 2023, per Gartner.

As navigating the intricacies of more distributed environments poses a formidable struggle, it's evident that a reevaluation of cloud strategies is not just a consideration but a necessity in this dynamic landscape.

Building a Strong Data Foundation

Digital transformation is now the key to staying competitive, with generative AI, data, and the cloud serving as key drivers. But transformation is not without challenges. Building a strong data foundation has been a complex challenge for a long time. It used to be an either/or proposition: Build a strong, unified data foundation. Or an agile, elastic, fabric for innovation.

Today you can build a strong data foundation much faster and easier because of the evolution of technology such as cloud, AI, and unified data platforms. Though lack of data quality, ensuring agility and scalability, and controlling costs remain at the forefront of challenges faced by tech leaders.

One of the major reasons for these challenges is that cloud operating models remain stuck in a quagmire of legacy processes, methodologies, and technologies. Overcoming this problem requires business and IT to take a step back and think holistically about their cloud operating model according to McKinsey Digital. That means organizations must change how they think about cloud.

Transforming Business with Hybrid Cloud

The cloud has evolved from a technology solution to a key enabler of digital transformation, or even disruptor, offering unprecedented agility, flexibility, and scalability. In many instances, cloud can enable you to adopt new technology faster, and at a lower cost and risk, than with legacy approaches. But, while in the past only attributed to public clouds, the benefits of the cloud shouldn’t stop there.

You can be every bit as cloud-like across all your environments by adopting a cloud-like operating model to transform even your data center into a high-performance environment. By adopting a cloud-like operating model, through hybrid cloud, you can break down silos, streamline workflows, and enable cross-functional collaboration. At Hitachi Vantara, we’ve learned quite a bit about harnessing the benefits of a cloud-like operating model by partnering with our customers on their cloud journey. For example, we worked with the National Physical Laboratory, the national measurement standards laboratory of the U.K. As a ground-breaking leader in scientific research initiatives, they set out to create the first ever molecular level map of cancer tissue; think of it as the “Google Earth” 3D mapping of cancer tumors (down to individual fats and proteins in the cell). As part of their “Rosetta project,” the lab was analyzing millions of tumor samples and needed to protect/manage roughly 500TB of data.

While they had previously favored reliability they associated with an on-prem solution, they needed to be more scalable, affordable, accessible, fuel collaborative innovation worldwide. Hybrid cloud/data center modernization delivered combined flexibility of cloud with security, resilience, and performance of traditional storage. “We needed a system that combines the flexibility of the cloud with the security, resilience and performance of traditional storage,” said Nigel Budd, Science Support Leader for the IT Services Unit, National Physical Laboratory.

AI and automation increasingly are playing a huge role in the future of industries, and hybrid cloud data infrastructure needs to be ready for that today. In healthcare, we are working with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to build the data foundation to elevate patient care using AI, automation and data analysis, such as to support key processes across the Pathology Department.

Hybrid cloud has proven beneficial in driving efficiency, optimizing resource utilization, and minimizing waste. Simultaneously, AI, working behind the scenes, enhances efficiency and agility through AI-driven task automation. While a unified data platform serves as a central repository for all your data, simplifying the maintenance of data quality across various sources and facilitating seamless data movement across different environments .To provide an example of data-driven automation:  Netherlands-based Rabobank, serving +10M customers across 47 countries, is subject to a wide range of constantly shifting unique, regulatory controls. Previously, they manually collected communications data across multiple sources and countries, which was a time-consuming, resource-intensive, and error-prone task. They needed a solution to improve efficiency and maintain compliance.

Hitachi Vantara helped them tackle this challenge, by implementing a data platform with automation to significantly improve the efficiency and flexibility of compliance investigations, cutting time for discovery searches from weeks to hours. The comprehensive and auditable solution allows Rabobank to both prevent deletion and apply automated, irretrievable erasure according to compliance policies. While their teams now access data from a single, central portal, without relying on IT, freeing them to focus on more strategic, innovation enabling initiatives.

To overcome the unique challenges often present in hybrid cloud management, using a consumption-based IT infrastructure with an as-a-Service (aaS) approach can help manage cost control, implementation, technical knowledge gaps and speed to value. A cloud-like operating model can move your organization beyond just digital transformation to business transformation.

While the cloud is a powerful tool, it's not a silver bullet. Not all applications belong in the cloud. You should also consider factors such as latency, data sovereignty, storage costs, security, sustainability, and service levels before moving applications. Remember that a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. It’s a journey, not a destination.


Before embarking on your hybrid cloud journey, take time to state your objectives. Analyze your workloads, understand your data, and choose the services that best align with your business priorities.

Remember to look at your overall foundation: Look at the data infrastructure you're deploying within this hybrid ecosystem, and ensure you have the ability for flexibility, intelligence, resilience, sustainability, and most of all, trust.

By taking a proactive and informed approach, you can create a hybrid cloud environment that delivers true value and success.

At Hitachi Vantara we're at the forefront of this transformation. We understand the challenges and opportunities that hybrid cloud presents, and we're committed to guiding our customers and industry leaders on this journey.

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