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Balancing and Navigating Legacy and Cloud Infrastructure – Doing the Trapeze Act!

The traditional idea of enterprise grade servers being locked down within the 4 walls of a strong room called Data Center is passé! The decisions on what workloads to run and where, are no longer a function of what an enterprise already has within its on-premises data center.

IT infrastructure capacity needs to be able to be scaled up/down in step with global expansion strategies with maximum agility and peak performance at minimum cost.

Workload demands are as dynamic as the data center environments – private, public or hybrid clouds – on which they need to be processed. The data center decision is no longer limited to once in a few years but has become an ongoing process.

Workload can start in one environment and move to another during its processing with minimal disruption. All this is exciting though riddled with huge risks unless enterprise IT is equipped with the right and proven tools.

There is also the specter of LOB (Line of Business) IT or a Shadow IT that often lurks when IT adopts a slow and legacy approach to commissioning the needed IT environments. Nothing stops LOB in creating an isolated IT environment outside the IT purview which could compromise the security by the time it is discovered.

Shadow IT islands create silos and their interfaces to enterprise IT environment are major trouble spots for enterprise IT.

Since 2011, data center (DC) efficiency which had meant just server virtualization has expanded its reach to storage and network with policy-driven automation across the DC.  Especially, in the last 2 years, enterprise mobility saw exponential rise fueling explosive demand for cloud computing with easy, instant and flexible access to compute and storage resources.

With several robust and proven public cloud choices, customers have realized that they are shortchanging themselves if they operate their multiple private and public cloud environments as silos.

There is also an unfulfilled need for dynamic decision making on optimal workload placement. This saw the unveiling of the major push into cross-cloud architecture from the industry leaders of virtualization technologies.

The decision to migrate to the cloud can also be prompted by several other factors, including data center lease expiration, required hardware upgrades, software license renewals, location requirements to meet regulatory compliance, global market expansion, increased developer productivity, need for change in operational model using a standardized architecture. Whatever the specific motivation, the move to cloud is clear.

As with anything, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In a hybrid cloud environment, enterprise IT needs to ask itself:

  • How do we continuously assess capacity?
  • How can we know the cost and performance of running a workload on a given environment?
  • How do we access the right cloud at the right time in the right manner to execute the right workload dynamically and every time?
  • Are we ready to exercise our choices; if so, are we equipped with the skills and flexibility to handle it with ease and efficiency?

Workload can be traditional applications like SharePoint, SQL, Oracle or cloud-native apps based on containers and micro services. Factors that influence workload placement decisions in a hybrid cloud computing environment are dynamic and context-sensitive.

Workload placement is also based on seasonality, Disaster recovery and pay-per-use OPex model considerations. With the easy tools being provided by leading virtualization vendors, workload placement translates to a simple self-service portal abstracting all the complexities of the dynamic infrastructure and intricate workload assessment.

The objective of efficient workload placement is to optimize cost, capacity, availability and performance. Workload placement decisions need to be pragmatic as well; some of the legacy applications are better run on legacy infrastructure instead of on cloud if they have not been re-architected.

As organizations invest in hybrid environments, they are concerned not only about the individual workloads but also the entire application portfolios or even the complete DC. Application mobility and migration are important capabilities demanded by the customers.

Smooth application mobility allows them to move seamlessly from one environment to another taking the compute as well as the network, security and storage resources with minimal downtime. This is often available as a SaaS (Software as a Service) capability.

Fortunately, native virtualization environments that customers use in their on-premises environments are now available on public clouds as a testament to deep collaborations between virtualization and public cloud leaders in the industry.

Customers are excited about this development which gives them the best of both worlds.  For example, customers of VMware Cloud on AWS will be able to migrate application portfolios to the cloud even more rapidly with Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) and AWS Direct Connect, while maintaining the optimal levels of performance, scale, and availability required for mission-critical apps.

This is possible even without refactoring and redesigning the applications or network configuration and hence is a fast, live and cold application migration. With features like site recovery, customers can also lower capital expenditures by eliminating the need for a secondary DR site and enable failover and failback with familiar management tools.

Ultimately, enterprise IT needs to pay attention to this trend for the freedom and control it affords them – more freedom for the business consumer and better control for IT.  SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) with virtualized HW, network, storage and security existing in an integrated cloud environment does come with the advantages of cost, performance, scalability, agility, resilience for the organization.

For example, in the airlines industry which has dynamic business demands and is extremely capital-intensive, CIOs can create low-capital IT environments and alter the capacity with agility if they adopt SDDC with seamless cross-cloud architecture. Enterprises need to invest in adequate capabilities and flexibility in operating their multi-cloud, cross-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments. This will be a competitive advantage and a differentiator that can tilt the scales in their favour.

(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)

Image Source: npfusion.com

About The Author:

Murad Wagh is the Director of Systems Engineering at VMware and is responsible for pre-sales functions at VMware India (West). He specializes in Data Center Automation, Virtualization & Cloud ]technologies, Infrastructure Management and Cross management-domain architectures.He comes with an experience of around 2 decades in sales engineering and enterprise management.

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