Lynn LeBlanc is CEO and Founder of Hotlink Corporation.
For many enterprises today, running a standalone traditional data center doesn’t cut it. Customers and business partners demand and expect externally-facing applications to be available and performing around the clock, and IT infrastructures need to support this “always-on” mode of business operations.
While public cloud services can provide organizations with cost-saving benefits, more importantly from the standpoint of end users and customers, they deliver the agility, scalability and the high availability businesses need.
Given the growing importance of public clouds in supporting day-to-day processes, offerings such as AWS can serve very effectively as secondary data centers for companies. Enterprises can now build “cloud-attached” data centers, in which they can quickly and easily incorporate public cloud resources into their existing production data centers – without complex system integration projects.
Cloud-attached data centers are similar in concept to network-attached storage platforms, whereby all data center resources are shared across the entire environment. Companies actually “attach” the AWS public cloud to their on-premise environment and then utilize a shared pool of resources. This includes the ability to use existing management and operational workflows for cloud-based services, without adding the complexity usually associated with linking together disparate data infrastructure types.
This unified management approach is key to reaping the benefits of a secondary data center in AWS at price points that almost any company can afford. After all, the promise of what the pay-as-you-go public cloud resources becomes irrelevant if it’s unmanageable day-to-day. Cloud-attached solutions address these concerns by providing an efficient way to manage the internal and external IT environments, leveraging tools, workflows and skills already in place. And one of the most appealing aspects of the cloud-attached data center is that it can be deployed by organizations of any size and in any sector. It also addresses a number of broadly appealing use cases.
The Best Use Cases for Today’s Cloud-Attached Data Centers
1. Cloud-attached data centers are ideal for disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) programs. According to industry research, most organizations are not prepared, and if a disaster should strike, they won’t be able to quickly recover. In the always-on data center, this has real dollars attached.
A cloud-attached data center provides the protection companies need. With the AWS cloud as the secondary data center, enterprises and even smaller companies can have assurances that systems and applications will remain available in any type of outage -- even in the midst of a large regional event such as a hurricane or disruption to the power grid.
2. Another use case is bursting to the cloud. Many companies, including those in sectors like retail and shipping, experience peaks in demand for systems and capacity during specific times of year, such as holidays and popular vacations times.
AWS and other public cloud services are ideal for this type of fluctuating demand. The on-premise data center can serve as the steady-state resource, while AWS can help handle the increased workloads during the peak demand periods. This helps to avoid over- and under-provisioning by IT. From an economic standpoint this is ideal for companies with seasonal businesses. They only have to pay for the capacity they need when they need it, so this keeps costs under control.
3. Cloud-attached data centers are also optimal for hybrid IT operations. Many organizations are likely to operate IT infrastructures that take advantage of the cloud for select applications and their own on-premise servers for others. A cloud-attached data center can provide the management platform needed so that companies can administer, monitor and manage the entire hybrid environment from one pane of glass.
4. Finally, companies need to deliver applications customers quickly, so the development and testing process timeline needs to be as short as possible – and it shrinks every year. Cloud-attached data centers are ideal for supporting a rapid development and testing cycle, making an unlimited pool of compute resources available on a moment’s notice.
Having a cloud-attached data center that leverages a public cloud service like AWS can transform a company’s IT infrastructure and help enable a rapid return on investment for hybrid IT infrastructure. With the right architecture in place for streamlined and effective management of internal and external IT resources, organizations can enjoy the best of both IT worlds – low cost with virtually infinite capacity -- to meet the growing computing demands of the always-on data center.
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