Expand your infrastructure with cloud and VMware

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Oil-rig-VMware-500x332What might a retailer, an oil company and a tennis club have in common?

They all need to increase their IT capability for short periods of time to support a peak business need. Retailers run sales promotions at different times during the year. Oil companies receive and then process seismic data from potential oil fields. Once a year, the focus of the world is on a tennis club when it hosts a Grand Slam tournament.

In the past, this workload peak required enough on-site capacity to support it. Likely unused for the majority of the year, this was hardly cost-effective. Cloud provides the solution: by exploiting resources outside of the data center. Capacity access is one of the key use cases for hybrid cloud.

Extending your IT to the cloud may be a temporary state for a short period of time; you always intend to bring it back. It could also be a one-way step to a long-term move to cloud for some or all your current capability.

It looks simple to extend local IT capability into the cloud.  Workloads need provisioning.  Working data needs to be accessible, maybe by moving it to the cloud, too. All this, with the necessary security controls and operational visibility in place. But all is not as it seems.

Extension needs planning. It shouldn’t be ad-hoc. Letting automation tools decide how resources move often leads to poor results. Moving things around takes more time than doing useful work. In most cases, businesses know when sales promotions will be running. They know when seismic data will arrive. The dates for international tennis tournaments are set years in advance. Businesses often don’t need to react at the speed that modern IT technologies allow.

Extending IT into the cloud is only part of the story. How do you bring workloads and data back on premises again? This aspect is often not considered until it’s too late. Data is now in the cloud and there is no easy way to get it back. If you are using data center extension to migrate to cloud, this is not a problem you may care about solving. The approach you take will be different, however.

Using the same tools in the cloud and in your data center can help you address many of these challenges. If you run VMware today, you have an investment in tools, processes and skills. When your cloud platform also supports VMware, you have tools you are familiar with. This helps you remain in control while meeting your business’ changing needs.

Learn more about avoiding the pitfalls of expanding your infrastructure in the cloud.

Distinguished Engineer, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform

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