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Coming to grips with the enterprise cloud

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At present, conversations in IT organisations are centred on the topic of “enterprise cloud”. In the simplest terms, enterprise cloud is cloud infrastructure designed to deliver the same agility as the public cloud, but within the enterprise data centre.

At the top of the enterprise cloud model (the first layer) are familiar cloud pillars as defined by the National Institute of Standards (NIST): self-service, broad network access, elasticity, resource pooling, and so on. “Enterprise cloud must provide all of these,” he says Kieran Harty, chief technology officer and co-founder of Tintri.

The second layer of the model is where enterprise cloud begins to differentiate itself. An enterprise cloud must be able to run both traditional enterprise- and cloud-native applications efficiently.

“Enterprise applications are mostly preexisting applications written in a style that makes assumptions about the underlying infrastructure on which they run,” explains Harty. “For instance, enterprise applications often run in a virtual environment such as VMware or Hyper-V. They also frequently expect that data protection, disaster recovery, and other services will be provided external to the application.”

Examples of enterprise applications include both in-house-developed applications as well as common applications such as Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle, and so on.

Cloud-native applications are typically built from scratch to run in a cloud environment such as AWS or Azure. Examples might include mobile applications and customer-facing web applications. “These applications are designed to be highly scalable and written in a way that doesn’t assume much about the underlying infrastructure,” points out Harty.

“To make this clear, an enterprise cloud must provide the infrastructure and services needed by traditional enterprise applications, while also delivering the ability to run new cloud-native applications. While it is often possible to run enterprise applications in a public cloud, all the underlying capabilities the application needs may not be present. In addition, enterprise applications tend to be less elastic, so they can be expensive to run in public cloud due to continuous resource consumption.

“It’s probably becoming more evident that enterprise cloud does not have a singular definition,” he says.

That is, every enterprise will employ a variety of models according to individual need – a combination of private data centre, public cloud, and outsourced service providers. And so, being able to integrate between on-premises data centres, service providers, and the public cloud, is a key element of enterprise cloud.

“Tintri satisfies enterprise cloud requirements with storage infrastructure for on-premises data centres and service providers as well as integration with public cloud services. The Tintri Enterprise Cloud platform delivers public cloud agility inside your four walls. And, because Tintri’s enterprise cloud platform is designed to operate directly on VMs, vDisks, and containers, it is able to do things that other storage cannot,” highlights Harty.

Anton Jacobsz, MD of Networks Unlimited, a value added distributor of Tintri in Africa, adds: “Organisations in Africa are grappling with the term enterprise cloud, the exponential growth of data and, so, the challenge of storing this data. Networks Unlimited is pleased to offer Tintri, a powerful product throughout the region to address not only these issues but also the TCO problems in an organisation.

“A real bonus is that it offers users the end of a tedious journey, by automating mundane tasks, and increases performance for less in an enterprise. It’s all about economies of scale in the enterprise cloud.”