Navneet Singh is Senior Manager of Product Management for Bracket Computing.
Today’s enterprise needs to be nimble—prepared to react quickly to changing market conditions. Traditional data center architectures provide the security, performance and availability necessary to support predictable, ongoing business processes, but enabling more agile business models requires levels of scalability, flexibility and speed of deployment that aren’t possible using traditional infrastructure. Enter the cloud.
Public clouds provide IT with an alternative to managing their own data center infrastructure, freeing them to focus on essential business innovation. These clouds offer powerful building blocks that make them very appealing, however, questions remain around security, control and the ability to achieve consistent performance. These concerns must be answered for enterprises to feel comfortable running production workloads or moving sensitive data to multi-tenant environments. As a result, enterprise use of the public cloud has remained a great idea whose time has yet to come.
Enterprises today can leverage the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud while maintaining the same robust policies and SLAs as in their existing data center. Here’s how:
Identify Where Fast Scaling and Flexibility are Most Needed
The cloud’s hyperscale capacity is virtually limitless. Amazon, Google Microsoft and other cloud providers can and will continue to build gigantic data centers that provide almost limitless capacity for companies around the world. Launching a new product? Provision additional servers. Holiday shopping season is over? Scale capacity back to save money. Expanding into the Asian market? Amazon has a data center in Singapore that can provide all the capacity you need.
Economies of scale and global footprint mean letting cloud vendors purchase, deploy, provision and manage physical infrastructure while enabling enterprises to only purchase what they need, when they need it and where it makes sense when growth is fast or usage is highly variable. Identifying the most appropriate applications to run in the cloud enables enterprises to take advantage of dynamic market opportunities and frees up both personnel and resources to meet other needs.
Set and Meet SLAs in Real Time
SLAs keep IT honest, making it responsible for maintaining acceptable performance and availability service levels for the rest of the business. Why should SLAs go out the window when workloads are migrated to the cloud? They shouldn’t. Enterprises should set service levels for key metrics such as response time and IOPS on the public cloud and manage the infrastructure programmatically in real time to meet them. This will deliver a better experience for users and developers and ensure infrastructure meets the needs of the business.
Extend Your Zone of Trust
With so much at stake, enterprises are skeptical about letting cloud providers handle security and data protection for their most sensitive workloads. And who can blame them? Recent high-profile events have exposed vulnerabilities in both on-premise and cloud environments, leading enterprises to close ranks and tighten control over their data. However, as we’ve seen, physical control over data isn’t by itself sufficient. Logical control built on safeguards such as encryption and key management, authentication and network segmentation is critical—no matter where applications run.
Fortunately, enterprises now have the ability to extend security and data management policies from their data centers to the cloud, ensuring consistency and a single operational model across all their environments. This includes encrypting data that resides across environments and maintaining ownership of key management. At the same time, data management technologies inherent on data center infrastructures—such as snapshotting, cloning, redundancy, data striping, backup and replication—can also be extended to workloads running in the cloud. This ensures that existing policies in the data center are applied consistently across all environments—whether the infrastructure is on-site, in a private cloud or in the public cloud.
Pre-Configure Resources for Speed
Enterprises can package these policies and service levels with required resources to create application-specific templates that can be replicated exponentially across data centers and the cloud. Doing so will allow users to quickly deploy highly-reliable, highly-secure workloads at the press of a button to custom environments made up of on-site infrastructure, public cloud platforms or a combination of the two. Configurations can be tweaked automatically in real time, ensuring that applications run consistently across different environments.
Enterprises no longer have to choose between the flexibility and scalability of the cloud and the reliability and performance of the data center. They can have their cake and eat it, too. Done right, this control over public cloud infrastructures makes it possible—and desirable—to deploy even the most sensitive production workloads in the cloud.
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