In our first blog in this series, we let you know that the Cloud is not actually a cloud. It is just hardware and software which is usually owned and operated by someone else – you just rent or share part of it while accessing it over an internet connection.
How do you bring together the best of public Cloud and private Cloud for a consistent user experience? How do you empower your organisation to increase productivity, maintain simplicity and deliver more secure services at scale?
One core component of a hybrid or multi Cloud environment is a Private Cloud. When integrated or connected to a public Cloud you have a hybrid environment – the best of both worlds. When you interconnect multiple public Clouds with one or more private Clouds you have a multi Cloud environment.
Historically, there have been two common architectural variations which are core to building the Private Cloud component in a hybrid or multi Cloud environment.
This is where the core IT building blocks which are required to run software programs and to store, manipulate and transmit information are discrete. They can be separated and independently scaled up or down to meet the specific requirements of a business.
These core IT building blocks are referred to as the ‘compute, storage and networking’ components. At a very basic level you could think of the ‘compute’ as your PC or a server, the ‘storage’ as your hard drive and the ‘networking’ as your modem or router.
Often a converged stack will also include a virtualisation layer as well. Virtualisation allows you to create ‘virtual’ computers or other IT resources that run on a single physical machine. It means that you can share and use all of the physical resources of a single machine with multiple virtual ‘things’.
CI is also referred to as three-tier infrastructure. An example of a leading converged infrastructure solution is FlexPod, our choice for Converged Infrastructure from Cisco and NetApp.
HCI refers to Hyper Converged Infrastructure where compute, storage and networking components are combined into a single system called a node. These HCI systems can either be a physical hardware appliance where all the components are integrated into a single box or as hardware agnostic software i.e. software that can run on any type of server. These ‘nodes’ can be joint together to create larger shared pools of compute and storage resources. HCI vendors offer a similar set of core business benefits but there are some significant architectural differences between the solutions offered. You can read more here in our Guide to Understanding Common HCI Architectures.
There are various architectural approaches to designing a hybrid or multi Cloud environment which will depend on the business requirement(s) and desired outcome. It is important to partner with an open, agnostic vendor who can help address integration challenges and create a forward-looking hybrid or multi Cloud strategy.
When it comes to CI and HCI there is no panacea to solve your IT infrastructure needs, as there are advantages to each of these IT solutions. The architecture that you choose will ultimately come down the specific nuances of your organisation such as the workloads or Apps that you want to run, the volume and type of data you will generate and so on.
An emerging trend flowing on from CI and HCI is Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure which we cover in a separate blog.