cloud-connected storage

Is cloud-connected storage your path to the future?

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.

Useful Links

White Paper: Optimise Oracle Workloads with NetApp Solutions

hybrid cloud computing

How Your Business Could Benefit from a Hybrid Cloud Approach

In the not-too-distant past, many firms proudly promoted their “cloud first” strategies. By moving infrastructure and applications to the cloud, these adventurous organisations hoped to increase operational flexibility (and reduce costs). Over time it has become apparent that some workloads are not currently suited to hosted platforms. Anything that is time sensitive (IoT and real time analytics) or exceptionally sensitive (personally identifiable information, intellectual property) may be more effective in the on-premise data centre. The hybrid cloud developed as a natural response to these different workloads – and has gone on to become the new norm for most organisations. This change in strategy is not necessarily a bad thing – there are definite benefits to the hybrid operating model according to research from the Aberdeen Group.

Improved application performance

Speed of IT is closely associated with speed of business, so any gain is important. 50% of hybrid cloud adopters report improved application performance.

Increased IT infrastructure agility

The ability to change operations and processes quickly is vital to competing with disruptive start-ups and shifting customer preferences. 43% of hybrid cloud users believe they have a data platform capable of supporting that change.

Genuine cost savings

Early cloud platforms promised enormous financial savings – but only if applications were re-engineered around the pay-as-you-use business model. By retaining control of some apps and data in house, 38% of hybrid cloud using companies have achieved an overall reduction of IT expenses.

Improved system reliability

In most cases, data availability is as important as speed. By moving to enterprise-class hybrid cloud platforms operated by data centre experts, adopters can reduce at least some of their on-premise footprint. The fewer “moving parts” they operate, the lower the risk of outage – as confirmed by 35% of users.

Building for the future

Once they have established some of their operations in the cloud, hybrid users have the option of increasing capacity and resources as and when required. And as other applications become cloud-enabled, they can migrate more of their workload off-site to compound the benefits and gains listed here.

Hybrid cloud doesn’t “just happen” though. You will need a proper cloud strategy, one that assesses current workload and identifies which assets are suitable for hosting in the cloud. Systems that remain on site will need at least some degree of reconfiguration for optimal performance and compatibility.

With the right technology platform and cloud partner, you can define a roadmap that offers maximum flexibility moving forwards. In return you can expect to reduce operating risk and increased control of your entire IT estate.

If you would like to learn more about hybrid cloud and exactly what it means for your business, please give us a call.

Useful Links

White Paper: IT Benefits from a Hybrid Cloud Approach Continue to Grow