If you’ve already started down the path to virtualization within your data center, you’re in the majority these days. Many companies, large and small, have seen the advantages of virtualizing their servers and storage into pools of resources to be shared as needed. But do you really have to choose between your current strategy using advances in virtualization, or should you move to the cloud for delivery of infrastructure services?
Virtualization Pros & Cons
Virtualization has advantages over bare-metal performance, such as:
- Reduced downtime
- Higher application availability
- Increased productivity
- Lower acquisition and operational costs
- Improved business continuity and disaster recovery
While the success of sharing resources initially resulted in better efficiency than legacy IT, it seems as the volume of data and VMs grew, IT vendors have added even more features to cope. New features like clustering, load balancing, distributed resource scheduling, automated provisioning, and automated management help with managing growth, but come at the cost of added complexity and increased license fees.
Virtualization success has also fueled raised expectations:
- Developers want to be able to set up VMs, use them for testing new applications, and then rapidly tear them down in order to move on to the next project.
- Management may decide to add new services such as VDI to streamline and centrally manage users’ desktop environments.
- Some mission critical workloads have demanding performance requirements that vary dramatically over time, putting pressure on underlying resource scalability.
Cloud: Moving Beyond Virtualization
Rising IT expectations have created a void in the marketplace that service providers have recognized and responded to. The co-location services of yesterday have evolved over the past decade to form cloud services offering myriad choices designed to handle everything from infrastructure and platforms to software applications. There are so many choices today that the quest to determine which applications and workloads to move to the cloud and when to move them can seem overwhelming.
Cloud services build upon the foundation of virtualization and go beyond it to encompass five essential characteristics:
- On-demand service
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured service, or pay-per-use
Advanced virtualization features coupled with some of the latest advancements in IT converged architecture designs can match most of these characteristics; but they come at a price: costs increases, complexity and orchestrated management.
Thus, many IT managers find themselves at a decision point: Stay with virtualization or move some applications to the cloud?
Deciding whether to move applications to the cloud isn’t as simple as market hype would lead one to believe. To balance efficiency with performance, consider:
- Time: Do we have enough time to manage the configuration, deployment, and monitoring choices necessary to run our applications in the cloud?
- Money: Can we afford to over-provision services when we’re not sure what application requirements are now and in the future?
- Control: Is the service resiliency promised by the public cloud enough to outweigh the lack of transparency and security?
Moving to Cloud for IaaS
Gartner predicts that by 2021 IaaS is going to become the second largest cloud industry segment after cloud advertising. Clearly, there’s a growing market demand for cloud infrastructure solutions. But how do you know cloud IaaS is right for you? Cloud IaaS might be a successful strategy for your company if:
- IT requirements are relatively low: If you’re not running any complex production operations then cloud IaaS is surely your best choice.
- Your system requires small number of integrations: If your system doesn’t require integrating many modules and applications and using bi-directional sync, then it’s fixed and stable and may be easily transferred to cloud for IaaS.
- Your business uses standard applications, which are pretty much the same throughout your industry: All software for your day-to-day operations is easy to customize, upgrade and operate. If your business doesn’t use any unique applications, your cloud shift will be quick and painless.
- Your organization uses the operating expenses budget model to finance its IT costs: In this case, you will be at ease with annual subscription fees and occasional operational expenses and include cloud services into your operating budget.
- Business objectives require increased flexibility and agility from IT: Your business needs to develop new products and launch new services, without having to wait weeks or even months for infrastructure deployment.
Many organizations are ready to spend more money, effort, and human resources on running data center virtualized infrastructure for the sake of predictability and security it offers. Others choose to go with a hybrid cloud model in order to benefit from BOTH advanced virtualization and IaaS.
You Don’t Have to Choose Between Virtualization or IaaS
What if you didn’t have to work on balancing both external and internal resources to benefit from BOTH advanced virtualization as well as service flexibility? One answer is the Cloudistics Ignite private cloud solution. The Cloudistics solution is a composable platform that gives you everything public IaaS has to offer, plus the security, transparency and non-disruptive management and performance of your private advanced virtualized environment.
Cloudistics meets all the characteristics necessary for a cloud:
- On-demand service: compute, storage and network resources are accessed through Virtual Data Centers to support applications; intelligent workload placement of both VMs and vDisks when a workload is deployed optimizes performance and reduces waste.
- Broad network access: the Cloudistics Ignite platform includes true virtual overlay networking functionality with no VXLANs, Port Mapping or Virtual Switching required
- Resource pooling: The resources needed to run an application are “composed” at runtime, and intelligent workload placement with SLA enforcement ensures guaranteed performance
- Rapid elasticity: The Cloudistics platform is hyper-scale, allowing each of the resources (storage, server, networking) to scale independently without traditional clustering limit
- Measured service (or pay-per-use): It is a multi-tenant platform that supports self-service for different business units of an enterprise customer or different customers of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
Named a Gartner Cool Vendor in Cloud Infrastructure, 2017, Cloudistics comes as a compact platform which can launch your applications within 5 minutes after it has been plugged into the network. It uses commodity hardware and will run alongside your existing infrastructure. It is also future-ready because it includes a built-in Application Marketplace which allows you to easily access enterprise applications or the latest software for containerization and security. From a financial point of view, the Cloudistics solution offers the same flexibility and simplicity of the public cloud at a one third lower price than AWS. This Cloud ROI calculator will help you estimate exactly how much you would save with Cloudistics composable cloud.
So, the bottom line is this: when deciding whether to stay with virtualization or move to the public cloud to support agility and digital transformation, you don’t have to choose. You can support both application development needs and performance efficiency with a foundation such as the Cloudistics Ignite Cloud Platform.