At times it is just blatantly obvious why well managed IT plays such an important role in any successful business, and nothing shows that better than when we consider IT infrastructure. IT infrastructures have come a long way in recent times to now being able to sort out, store, and calculate nearly infinite pools of data and information as and where we need it. The latest of these infrastructures, and indeed proving to be most effective, is Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure. A system that combines the best of Private Cloud infrastructure (Converged Infrastructure & Hyper Converged Infrastructure) with the flexibility and precision of public Cloud services.
Is it a hyped-up marketing term or is it a valid architecture?
We believe that Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure is the next evolutionary step of CI (Converged Infrastructure) & HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure).
Originally, the main premise of HCI was to simplify and improve the management of the classic 3-tier converged IT systems (Converged Infrastructure). HCI simplified all business’ IT infrastructure through a combination of compute (servers), storage, networking, and hypervisor (the virtualisation tool) into a single easily managed solution – essentially, scale out building blocks. The business benefits include ease of purchase, simple to set up, consolidated management across all components, one-stop support, and payments aligned to use. Unfortunately, simplifying these IT building blocks also introduced new unintended constraints.
Put simply, Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure allows for an organisation to manage their data and many other IT assets between private and public Clouds as a single cohesive resource. This is ideal for streamlining business IT and productivity and provides a greater return on your investment.
A good example of Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure is NetApp HCI and their Data Fabric. In our view, NetApp’s HCI is one of the best and well considered HCI systems on the market that provides flexibility not available in the other HCI solutions. When connected to one or more public Clouds using the NetApp Data Fabric you have a robust and scalable Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure.
At a technology level, the subtle differences in NetApp’s HCI provides a compelling business case as it allows you to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). One significant way that this is achieved is through lowering hypervisor and database licencing costs by separating the storage and compute nodes. You can add more compute or storage nodes according to your needs rather than being forced to scale both at the same time regardless of requirements. NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud infrastructure rides on the back of something called a Data Fabric which uses software to build and connect an environment that can ‘stich’ together several different private and public Cloud services and make them work as one.