If it seems that a lot has been written about hybrid cloud lately, that’s because there has – it is one of the hottest topics in the technology world, if not the hottest. The hybrid cloud is a combination of a private IT infrastructure and a public cloud. The public and private cloud infrastructures then communicate over an encrypted connection and can port data and applications back and forth. Hybrid cloud is hot because it delivers real benefits: increased speed of access time and reduced latency because of an on-premise, private infrastructure that is accessible directly as opposed to through the internet; more flexibility to have on-premises infrastructure that can support the average workload and to leverage the public cloud when the workload exceeds the power of the private cloud component; and more flexibility in server designs that can lower the costs of storage.
These benefits (there are many more, but the list would be too long) have IT departments excited to leverage hybrid cloud. As organizations gain experience with hybrid cloud, we are seeing more and more written about it. Most of what is written focuses on the hard-core IT issues. Industry blogs often dig deep in the ability to port applications from on-premise to the cloud and back without requiring re-architecting the apps or hitting major bumps in the workload function. Or, they might be about the ability to migrate server workloads to the cloud. This is clearly important stuff, but it is only painting half the picture. No one is talking much about where the information feeding these applications lives, or about how to ensure the information is accessible as needed.
This is why we need to see the full picture on hybrid cloud. The reality is the information will live all over the place and business workers will need unified access to it, without having to know the location. We should be talking about hybrid search equally as much as we talk about the other issues related to hybrid cloud. This is because end-user search experience is extremely important to executing successful IT projects. We have seen this up-close-and-in-person in the VDI market. Many organizations rolled out virtual desktops to employees and followed the best practice of turning off Windows indexing. When users went to search for their information, they were unable to do so and revolted. That is a lose-lose scenario. The solution, in that case, is X1 Search Virtual Edition – the only search solution that is architected specifically for VDI environments.
The lesson from VDI is simple: do not forget the business workers that will need to do their jobs (which tends to require finding their important emails and files quickly and efficiently). Products like X1 Rapid Discovery enable hybrid search that lets IT glean all the benefits of hybrid cloud while ensuring end-users are happy with their ability to find information. If we learn from that lesson as we venture into the hybrid cloud, we can avoid the nightmares that come when users are less than thrilled with the solutions IT rolls out to them. If we think about hybrid search now, IT departments embracing hybrid cloud can be heroes to the C-Level executives tracking performance and to the business workers they serve.
by Barry Murphy
Recently, I was contacted by an X1 user and fan and he asked me, “why isn’t X1 more famous?” His point was that X1 Search 8 solves a problem that every company has – people can’t find their information. They are unable to find that one email or document that they know exists, but that they just can’t remember where they put it. This X1 fan happens to be a consultant that works with many, many companies and reported that, no matter what client he visits, all have workers that constantly complain about not being able to find what they are looking for.
It can be a marketer’s nightmare to have someone ask why your product is not more famous, but it was a question I had already been giving some thought to. Part of the challenge when it comes to the “search market” is that most people think of Google when they think of search. Google is easy to use and helps everyone navigate the Internet much more efficiently. But, web search is a much different beast than search within a company. The reality is that 80% of what business workers are looking for exists in their email, file shares, desktop folders, or SharePoint sites. The worker knows the content exists, has an idea of what he/she is looking for, but simply doesn’t know where it is. But, when enterprise search solutions were first rolled out, they were built like web search solutions – as if someone wasn’t really sure what they were looking for.
The misperception that the Google search paradigm can apply within the enterprise resulted in enterprise search solutions improperly conflating several search use cases. But, web search and big data analytics – the new search du jour – are very distinct search types that require features and functions specific to their own unique workflows and use cases. Refashioning big data analytics or web search tools for enterprise search is a recipe for failure and certainly not an end-user driven requirement.
Big Data and the business intelligence (BI) tools built to address Big Data are hot topics. And BI can deliver some very good information to workers that are managing structured processes. Every company has deployed some kind of BI tool, but – as our consultant fan let us know – every company still has the problem of business workers not being able to find information. That is because, when it comes to business worker search, the human brain is the most powerful analytical engine for business productivity search. Other search solutions have sophisticated algorithms that try to predict things like document taxonomy classifications. That can be useful at times, but not to enable search for the business worker because the interface and workflow are not designed for business productivity search. Additionally, analytics-driven solutions require a lot of hardware to make those algorithms churn.
There is a more cost-effective way to solve the problem and ensure that business workers will stop complaining – deploy a search solution with a user-friendly interface that allows humans to use their brain to filter and sort through their information assets. X1 Search 8 can do that – and do it in today’s virtualized and Cloud-heavy environments. It is time to realize what business workers are really looking for when they turn to search tools – the one document they know exists that has the information necessary for them to do their jobs in any given moment.