The Future Is Now: Hybrid Data Centers Go Mainstream


Printer-friendly version Email this CRN article
Luis Benavides
Luis Benavides

If your company is not yet leveraging public cloud services, especially from the largest cloud vendor, Amazon Web Services (AWS), you are likely evaluating doing so.

For the past several years, the market-leading AWS has been gradually redefining how businesses implement IT services within their existing data centers and beyond. Companies large and small are building out hybrid and cloud solutions to harness the flexibility and scalability of infinite public cloud resources while eliminating the upfront capital expenses associated with most IT functions. We all understand why public clouds are gaining traction; it’s simply expensive, time consuming and complex to build out traditional data centers to keep pace with the explosive growth and rate of change in today’s businesses.

This is changing the way we think of the data center and the agility of enterprise IT, especially as legacy enterprise manufacturers begin embracing hybrid architectures. As a result, the formerly siloed worlds of public cloud and private cloud are blending together and becoming unified.

Many of the initial conversations we have with customers begin with specific and compelling use cases for hybrid IT, such as disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC). Leveraging elastic, pay-as-you-go Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) resources for data protection is a valuable practice for most any IT shop, and its value is increased when IT managers can leverage existing data center environments and assets as well.

In the traditional model for backup, creating and managing a secondary data center with redundant infrastructure or using a colocation space is cost-prohibitive, and simply backing up and replicating systems does not provide any continuity of operations. Days and weeks of intensive IT work are often required to bring virtual machines (VMs) back online after a failure, which results in costly business downtime and lost productivity.

IT, however, can harness the compute resources of public clouds, such as AWS, for protection against such downtime for incredibly affordable rates, meaning the decision makes great business sense, regardless of the size of your IT budget. More importantly, the true value of business agility is being introduced with hybrid data centers.

The latest public cloud-based data protection solutions are changing the landscape by offering comprehensive data protection services with rapid recovery and continuity. Businesses are taking notice, enlisting service providers to consolidate or even shut down data centers while leveraging more extensive cloud resources.

Many IT shops want answers, not process, and hybrid DR delivers what they’re looking for. By connecting on- and off-premise resources into unified fabric-spanning applications, compute, storage and networking, IT managers can create a hybrid data center protection strategy that leverages consumption-based resources on demand and connecting their on-premise worlds.

In the event of an on-premise failure, restoration in the cloud happens within minutes, so business operations continue with minimal interruption. Best of all, you won’t need to make any hardware investment for this spare capacity in the public cloud.

Service Providers Offer Umbrella Insurance Policies

These days, no one has extra IT staff to explore all of the latest technologies. Service providers involve a wealth of knowledge experts on various hybrid data protection options to help guide them to an optimal choice for their organization.

Specialists in hybrid data protection solutions can provide knowledgeable guidance about how to build and implement a robust continuity plan for a cohesive, end-to-end umbrella insurance policy against disasters, ensuring your data protection policy actually works when you need to use it. Finding the right balance, maximizing efficiency and mitigating risk now falls onto those of us in the service provider ecosystem.

For example, one of our technology partners, HotLink, offers a solution that extends VMware vCenter administration and management capabilities to AWS for backup, replication, disaster recovery and business continuity of VMware workloads, all within a single pane of glass.

This means in the event of an on-premise VMware failure, protected VMs can be up and running within minutes in AWS, and workloads in the cloud continue to be managed alongside on-premise VMs. AWS workloads can be easily migrated back on-premise when the infrastructure is available. Automation is critical for effective DR/BC, and the integration of HotLink DR Express with VMware provides a solution for easily incorporating public cloud resources into existing operations and leveraging current skillsets and experience.

Technology partners like HotLink allow us to lead with a solutions approach that can quickly provide hybrid answers, avoiding months of process and engagement bloat.

Cloud is a blended story now, and once you have successfully implemented hybrid cloud-based data protection, you most likely will want to tap into the public cloud for other IT services you currently operate on premise like development, testing, backup and archiving. The IT shift towards production-level cloud services adoption is just around the corner. Public cloud economics is a powerful motivator, the tools, techniques and skills to leverage it are now mainstream, and enterprises have experienced the agility and simplicity that a hybrid environment can offer.

The future will be a blended hybrid data center design, and it is here today.

Luis Benavides is the CEO and founder of Day1 Solutions, a born-in-the-cloud consulting and managed service partner that assists businesses with designing and managing enterprise IT cloud solutions. Day1 partners with companies such as Amazon Web Services, NetApp and Cisco. Benavides has more than 16 years of experience in the technology sector, working for well-known cloud and enterprise vendors AWS, NetApp and EMC.

PUBLISHED OCT. 23, 2014

Printer-friendly version Email this CRN article