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02 Jun 2016David Richards, Cloud Tech News

Hybrid Cloud and software defined data centres: how companies can have it both ways

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the fastest growing enterprise company that the world has ever seen - a testament to the fact that huge numbers of businesses are moving their data to the cloud not only to save on costs but to be able to analyse their data more effectively.  Netflix, Airbnb, the CIA and other high-profile organisations now run large portions of their businesses on AWS. Yet with lingering concerns about a ‘big bang’ move to cloud, many businesses are adopting a hybrid cloud approach to data storage.

Hybrid cloud is the middle ground of private storage with lower infrastructure overheads plus superfast, low latency connection to the public cloud. Companies increasingly have their own mix of cloud storage systems reflective of their legacy IT infrastructure, current budgets and current and future operational requirements. As a result, many CIOs are having to think about how data is moving back and forth between various on-premises systems and cloud environments. This can be challenging when the data is transactional and the data set changes frequently. In order to move this data, without interruption, active-active replication technology like WANdisco Fusion is required so the data can be moved and yet still fully utilised with business still operating as usual.

Software defined data centres (SDDC) – with virtualisation, automation, disaster recovery and applications and operations management – are making it easier for businesses to build, operate and manage a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Such a system enables businesses to move assets wherever they need to whilst maintaining security and availability.

As a result, according to an IBM study, “Growing up Hybrid: Accelerating digital transformation” many organisations that currently leverage hybrid cloud and use it to manage their IT environment in “an integrated, comprehensive fashion for high visibility and control” say that have already gained a competitive advantage from it. In many cases software defined data centres with hybrid cloud are accelerating the digital transformation of organisations as well as making it easier for companies to use cognitive computing such as predictive intelligence and machine learning.

Although hybrid cloud is rapidly becoming the option of choice by reducing IT costs and increasing efficiency, this shift is creating new concerns as CIOs must ensure a seamless technology experience regardless of where the company’s IT infrastructure resides. Whilst businesses are increasingly comfortable transitioning business-critical computing processes and data between different environments, it is vital on-premises infrastructure, private clouds and public clouds are monitored as changes can occur in any of these segments without notice.

In January this year HSBC saw a failure in its servers that left UK online banking customers unable to log in to their accounts for 9 hours. It took more than a day to identify the cause of the issue and as a result customers vented their anger on social media and the case made national headlines. Failures that cannot be quickly identified have the potential to cause huge financial losses as well as significant reputational damage. Businesses must have real time visibility in a hybrid cloud environment to enable them to be able to head off or respond to issues in real time.

With companies needing to indefinitely maintain legacy IT infrastructure, a software defined data centre supporting a hybrid cloud can allow a business to have the best of both worlds – the cost effectiveness with elastic expansion and contraction of public cloud computing and the security of a private cloud. If you want to future proof your business and remain at the cutting edge of innovation in your sector, hybrid cloud and software defined data centres are what you need to ensure you can access public cloud resources, test new capabilities quickly and get to market faster without huge upfront costs.

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