CIO's Corner

Extend your VMWare environment into the Cloud

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Cloud computing can be a great enabler to deliver business value in terms of cost, speed, flexibility and security. But integration, extension and migration of workloads has to be done deliberately. Within the cloud the dynamics is very similar to what we have seen in the mobile space, where thousands of different apps all work independently. Regarding cloud strategy we see the same: people and businesses develop applications that fully lack integration and a strategic approach. One business unit might run something in Salesforce, another uses SoftLayer and a third opts for Azure – even though they should all work together.

My first recommendation on the ‘how’ is: step back into developing a cloud strategy. You have to be sure you build something sustainable on the long term, as supposed to the big bang where you get locked to independent solutions that don’t work together. The good news: when you are using VMware in an on-premises production environment, you already have a virtualization of private cloud strategy in place. The question then is how to extend that to deliver business value into a public or off-premises private cloud.

The second recommendation would be to implement the right technical building blocks. Think of an orchestration solution, the VMware NSx virtualization tool as a bridge to cloud from the networking perspective, and Virtual SAN for storage if you need that. Evaluate you existing tools and opt or new ones to manage your consolidated environment as a whole. If you are hesitant, ask a trusted party for advice.

Migration We see companies worry about the process of migration and extension. Transforming your enterprise applications to the cloud starts with an evaluation of the different application layers and stacks. How those work across all business units? Do you want to standardize or not? What do you want to convert to cloud ready? And then build the environment that matches. For example: what are the requirements regarding uptime, disaster recovery. The answers might also depend on the investments you have already done. When you have invested heavily in an on-premise environment, migrating to the cloud might not be the best option. You don’t have to be 100 percent in the cloud. Maybe there are enterprise applications that run fairly steady state and have a high utilization rate. And you might have a team that manages it effectively and efficiently. You have to make an evaluation of the ROI and the cost benefits to decide what to do.

There is one easy area to get started: migrating a test and development environment to the cloud always makes sense, because then it would match your production environment. These environments tied together makes it simpler to move things fast into production.

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