Four Hybrid Use Cases to Get Your Head in the Cloud
“Can my application run in the cloud?”
It’s a question we get more frequently than you might think — and the answer is almost always yes. Just yesterday, we got a web chat from an individual who wanted to know if a cloud server could run his e-mail server, SMTP-based, with PowerMTA, or if he would need a dedicated option. Mail servers are frequently run on virtual machines, so this configuration should pose no problem as a cloud server.
There are thousands of applications, running on a wide variety of operating systems, that play nice with VMware virtualization platforms (the basis of the gBlock cloud). Here are four hybrid cloud use cases to get you started.
1) Backup, Disaster Recovery, and/or Storage
One of the easiest ways to migrate to the cloud is also a great first step into hybrid cloud computing. Backups of your critical IT systems are essential to avoid downtime (which comes with a major set of business costs). The expense of completely recreating your production environment in a geographically separate physical data center is often much higher than implementing a cloud solution.
Pure cloud storage is a simple way to implement backup, though network transfer of data can be slow and expensive. This can be mitigated by sending physical copies of your data to a service provider. Cloud storage also enables a hybrid storage solution where you can expand your onsite storage capacity when you need it — and remove surplus capacity when you no longer do.
Some options for cloud backup include Veeam, Avamar, backup as a service, and direct copy via FTP or other protocols. Disaster recovery comes in many flavors, including DRaaS. Our preferred software is Zerto, but Avamar has options as well, and built-in VMware Site Recovery Manager tools can suffice for some applications.
Cloud storage is available in three basic types: file, block, or object storage. No matter what kind of files and applications you have in production, cloud storage can be used to extend and manage ever-increasing amounts of data.
2) Standard/Package Applications
Basic, essential business applications like e-mail, collaboration, and CRM/ERP software are a perfect fit to extend to the cloud. When a hardware refresh, lack of capacity, or software upgrade force you to consider future IT strategy, look towards a cloud deployment of these packaged apps.
There are thousands of applications that are already certified to run on VMware vSphere, without necessitating software rewrites. If you’re already virtualized on-premise, migrating to a hybrid cloud couldn’t be simpler — you may even be able to use one login to manage on-premise and service provider virtual machine workloads.
Other options include Software as a Service applications that offer the same features as their more traditional desktop/PC/server-based predecessors. Many cloud providers can also manage these applications for you to guarantee security, performance, and interoperability with your existing infrastructure. One common option is managed Office 365.
3) Development and Testing
Software developers have been some of the most ardent supporters and earliest adopters of cloud resources, and for good reason. Creating, administrating, and removing servers in the cloud is easy and relatively inexpensive. An entire VM can be cloned or migrated between virtual data center and on-premise data center as needed. Pause, decommission, or store entire workloads easily, depending on where you are in the development process.
When testing is complete, move the VM onto your production servers with minimal fuss.
4) Location-specific workloads
There are many instances in which applications and data must be processed and delivered from a nearby data center. Some examples include:
- opening a remote office
- access to your applications from areas that are far away from your primary data center
- latency sensitive applications like finance or gaming
- backup and disaster recovery
- compliance issues related to the location of data
By placing applications closer to the end users, you can avoid higher bandwidth costs, security risks, and data corruption. Users receive better performance or better service than if they had to connect over long distances (consider that even crossing half the country will likely involve several network hops).
You can keep your primary data center and set up hybrid cloud nodes wherever you may need auxiliary facilities. If your needs change, it is easy to migrate from one data center zone to another.
These examples are largely introductory in nature and intended to get some ideas churning as to how you can take advantage of hybrid cloud resources. If you still aren’t sure about a specific application or use case, give us a call! Green House Data specializes in the assessment, design, and operation of IT infrastructure of all stripes. We can help you design a hybrid cloud that meets your application requirements while minimizing cost and security risks.