The hybrid cloud infrastructure model has become the platform of choice for most businesses for two reasons.
First, questions about security and sovereignty means that some operations are best retained in-house to maintain compliance.
Second, time sensitive operations, particularly operations that rely on real-time processing, need to be kept on-premise. Latency between local data centre and the cloud could prevent timely processing.
Time to blur the boundaries
Despite best efforts, current hybrid models emphasise the disconnect between on-premise and cloud. The number of applications and operations being run locally may have decreased, but the CTO must still deploy sufficient processing and storage capacity for those that remain.
This is where the choice of on-premises technology platform becomes crucial. Ideally you want to eliminate the barrier between local and hosted resources to create a seamless, unified platform on which to build.
One choice would be NetApp AFF storage. The ultra-low latency all flash arrays are powered by ONTAP, NetApp’s comprehensive management and configuration system providing cloud-connected storage.
Included in ONTAP is the FabricPool technology which allows you to connect various public and private cloud services directly to your on-site infrastructure. This forms the basis of your seamless hybrid cloud.
Time to get smart
A unified platform is just the start of a future-ready infrastructure, however. FabricPool goes further, using intelligent rules and analysis to automate data and workload allocation.
Mission-critical applications requiring the very highest levels of performance are retained in-house, using the NVMe flash to minimise latency. FabricPool then re-allocates other workloads to off-site cloud platforms to help balance performance and cost.
Embracing the multi-cloud future
Despite the best efforts of cloud providers, CTOs have been keen to avoid the trap of vendor lock-in. The ability to move workloads between providers cost effectively is important for future proofing and flexibility, driving a more towards multi-cloud deployments.
Best-of-breed infrastructure can be costly to set-up and maintain, mainly because the relevant skills are in such high demand. As a result, many of the cost-control opportunities of multi-cloud operations are lost through increased staffing and administration costs.
Again, NetApp AFF technology can help you build a multi-tier storage strategy. FabricPool analysis will identify and categorise workloads, moving data to the most appropriate cloud platform automatically. Shifting ‘cold data’ to a hosted archive service will help to reduce per-terabyte storage costs and free up valuable high-performance local capacity. Extra sensitive data can be piped to lower-cost private cloud storage if preferred too.
Cloud-connection will be key to the future
The beauty of cloud platforms is the flexibility they offer. With almost infinite scalability, your business is free to rapidly grow its systems without capital investment.
But while some workloads remain tied to the local data centre, there is no reason similar scalability cannot be deployed on premise. Choosing all-flash arrays with the ability to join on-off-site platforms offers exceptional processing speed and the option to extend into the cloud whenever required.
While the hybrid cloud model remains default, CTOs should pay close attention to their choice of on-premise systems. Cloud-connected storage offers valuable strategic opportunities – and a way to bridge the on/off-premise divide seamlessly.
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