Peaks and valleys, feast or famine – anyone in the business world learns to adjust to these disparate conditions. At peak times, you hire more people, leverage greater resources, stock more shelves; when the traffic dies down, you pull back to lower costs, but always remain careful to keep the home fires burning. And when disaster strikes, you want to have a solid plan in place.
Watch the Webcast between Eric Kavanagh and CloudVelox
For companies that ride the information economy, the flow of data and the stability of transactional processing will always be central to success. While backup plans for data are important, they represent just one piece of a significant puzzle. What about all the processing that makes the business run? What about the workloads that carry the weight, day in and day out?
Many of today’s cloud vendors offer specific functionality for businesses, employing models that involve centralizing all activity within their cloud infrastructure. There are also quite a few vendors who offer cloud-based backup services, but those typically focus just on backing up the data. A handful of pioneers are embracing the complete hybrid cloud vision, such as CloudVelox.
Unlike traditional backup or disaster recovery vendors, CloudVelox serves the dual purpose of safeguarding systems and data, while also providing elasticity into the cloud as needed. That second category embodies the essence of hybrid cloud, because it enables movement of both data and workflows to and from cloud environments. This is a very big deal for many reasons:
First, on-prem systems are in trouble. There are many issues that play into this situation:
a) The pain of maintenance – having to upgrade software, operating systems and even hardware is a process that can wreak havoc on people, functionality and budgets;
b) Security – the complexity of on-prem environments, combined with the onslaught of global hackers, creates a highly vulnerable scenario that will grow increasingly difficult to manage;
c) BYOD – the Bring Your Own Device mantra ensures that on-prem environments will only get more heterogeneous and complex over time;
d) Synchronicity – the diverse and dispersed nature of on-prem environments mean that data and functionality are scattered everywhere, resulting in data quality and business process issues.
Second, elasticity to the cloud means agility to the business. When decision makers know they have trusted options, they have the confidence to take calculated chances, which can often lead to new revenue streams or optimized business processes. Elasticity also provides visibility into efficiencies, both in terms of costs and timelines. All of this insight helps companies better understand their real costs and genuine potential.
Third, and perhaps most importantly for the long term, the ability to effectively move workloads from on-prem to cloud, or from cloud to cloud, will help to keep other cloud vendors honest. Amazon Web Services is famous for lowering the costs of processing. This corporate policy, which must be decidedly analytics-driven, puts constant downward pressure on the pricing of enterprise software. That’s good news for customers across the board.
The CloudVelox Approach
CloudVelox takes a very clever approach to enabling elasticity of data and workflows to the cloud. The process begins by installing the software on a client’s compute infrastructure and the rest of the steps are automated to enable a smooth transition to cloud.
First order of business – Discover both physical and virtual hosts characteristics for a particular application or workflow and then map all dependencies. The mappings are done in great detail, including all data and application servers and any web servers involved.
This allows for the creation of a blueprint for the workflow, which is then replicated in the cloud environment. Once the workflow process has been tested and synched, clients go into what’s called the “pilot light” phase, where the cloud engine is ready to fire upon demand, but otherwise remains in background mode.
One key to the architecture is that CloudVelox continues to monitor changes in any of the data, application or web servers involved as well as any operating system updates. Thus, the cloud version stays in synch with the on-prem environment all the time. That’s the kind of thing that can help systems administrators and senior executives sleep at night!
The “Elasticity” Option
One very interesting way to leverage the DR use case with the CloudVelox approach focuses on giving clients elasticity during peak times of their business. Consider online retailers, whose traffic will spike during the holiday season. The ability to predictably switch (failover) to cloud-based functionality (and leverage cloud native tools for horizontal scaling) during these critical time periods is extremely useful, because it allows these retailers to avoid turning away business. As with other such scenarios, the benefits include cost savings and overall agility.
The same value proposition holds for traditional data centers, many of which have been knocking on the door of overload for some time. A careful review of workloads handled by the data center will surely reveal many opportunities for cloud migration. This is hugely important for the simple reason that building a new data center to handle the overflow would be extremely expensive and, thus in many cases, cost-prohibitive.
The DevTest world can also benefit from cloud elasticity. During software development and testing, programmers want as much firepower and speed as they can get so as not to disrupt the flow of innovation. CloudVelox offers a special feature for these use cases by enabling authentication back to on-prem systems, like the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). This helps keep these environments safe and sound.
All in all, the range of functionality that CloudVelox offers provides a conduit to the hybrid cloud, a virtual on-ramp to the next generation of enterprise functionality. And there’s no question that cloud computing is here to stay. Just look at the number of vendors now trying to nip at the heels of AWS, such as Microsoft Windows Azure, Google Cloud, Rackspace Cloud, Red Hat OpenShift, even Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry. Being able to move to and between these environments will be a hallmark of success in the future of enterprise computing.