Moving to a public cloud environment takes time and consideration. No organization should simply jump in without evaluating ROI and the pros and cons of moving to such a platform. Still, there are powerful reasons to adopt the ever evolving technology. With denser environments, more WAN capabilities, and better cloud management, data can be delivered faster and more economically across vast distances.
With the cloud movement, organizations should take the time to see how and where their business and IT goals fit in with a public cloud environment.
Public cloud computing extends the data center
Without a doubt, one of the most powerful benefits of cloud computing is the ability to extend the existing environment beyond the current datacenter walls. Administrators are able to do more with less as cloud computing components have become much more affordable. Now that both unified computing and WAN-based solutions have come down in price, IT environments are quickly seeing the direct benefits that cloud computing can bring to an organization.
So how can an organization extend their data center with a public cloud architecture? Consider this:
- Adopting the “pay-as-you-go” model. Instead of having servers simply sitting at a co-location, administrators are able to adopt a pay-as-you-go model. This is where servers and VMs are provisioned only when needed. This is great for environments that don’t see the use of a given workload over a long period of time.
- Using cloud resources. By “borrowing” cloud resources IT environments don’t have to invest in their internal infrastructure. Whether it is storage, bandwidth, or virtual machines, administrators are able to use these resources as need instead of just buying them up for an existing datacenter.
- Evolving disaster recovery. Public cloud environments have taken disaster recovery strategies to a whole new level. With site-to-site replication, emergency resources can be spun up via automated workflows. This can have an entire infrastructure back up and running quickly and efficiently. Many organizations are now working with public cloud providers to add that extra level of redundancy to their infrastructure.
- Applying BYOD initiatives. A big benefit of cloud computing is the ability to use almost any device to access centralized data. With a public cloud environment, an organization can provision servers which will specifically handle and deliver workloads for a BYOD initiative. Applications and even desktops can be pushed down to the end-point from a public cloud environment.
- Creating distributed datacenters. Having data in multiple locations not only creates a point of high availability – it also helps with accessibility. Users close to the datacenter will be able to access their information quickly with fewer hops in between. More so, this type of environment creates data and application redundancy. So, if any piece of an environment fails – with a public cloud – administrators can redirect traffic to a different cloud-based datacenter and continue operations.
- Evolving testing and development. Public cloud environments have played in favor of administrators looking to test out new infrastructure components without actually purchasing any gear. This is where the public cloud can really shine. IT environments can test applications, workloads, delivery methodologies and a slew of other technologies without enduring the local datacenter infrastructure cost. They use what they need and then de-provision those resources. This is a form of very efficient development computing.
And now the interesting part. How are you using the public cloud to extend your data center? Some have begun adopting tools like ShareFile or other corporate file sharing tools. Also, consider this – deploying workloads once bound by compliance and regulation is now a lot easier with updated rules. For example, E-commerce in the cloud has always been a bit of a challenge. The passing of sensitive information caused serious issue for cloud providers. And so, providers like Rackspace decided to get creative. By intelligently controlling data through the cloud, the organization’s servers and the payment gateway, you’re able to continuously control the flow of sensitive information. According to Rackspace, when you host your infrastructure in their cloud, you can also sign up with a separate payment processor to provide tokenization, which occurs when you replace credit card data with meaningless numbers or “tokens.” When you accept a payment, non-PCI data is routed to your Rackspace-hosted environment, while the tokenized credit card data is routed to your payment processor. Since your customers’ credit card data is not routed to your Rackspace hosted infrastructure—only the payment processor—your Rackspace environment stays out of the scope of your PCI requirements.
The point is that cloud computing, through APIs, connection points, and software-defined technologies, has changed the way we replicate and control data. Public cloud technologies aren’t perfect, but they create a powerful new architecture to help the elasticity of your data center and business. If your organization needs to boost capacity for a new location, more users, or to support your business, public cloud platforms can help.