In today’s marketplace customers require flexible infrastructures and solutions that can rapidly adjust to meet their changing business needs. Both cloud computing, the mechanism that delivers services, and virtualisation, the key enabling technology, provide customers with exactly that: increasing business agility through the efficient use of resources, whether they be monetary or IT related.
Virtualisation is ultimately about making the best use of technology assets, writes Tumi Pooe, business unit manager for HP Storage Division, South Africa.
The key to reaping the rewards and full potential of a virtual infrastructure is to virtualise the data centre from end-to-end in an orchestrated fashion, applying the correct resources, when appropriate, and doing so on a routine basis, flexibly and quickly.
Rather than just languishing at utilisation rates below 20%, virtualisation helps organisation increase ROI and pushes utilisation rates up above 70%. Many businesses have so far concentrated on server virtualisation, but returns from a converged architecture which virtualises storage, networking and management are often even greater.
For example, the positives achieved through server virtualisation could be made redundant by ineffective or inadequate storage management.
To achieve the true benefits of convergence, users need storage solutions that easily accommodate data growth and align tightly to business applications. A virtual storage infrastructure can nearly double capacity utilisation and decrease the costs of management, sometimes by half. Every organisation should be actively using virtualisation to make the most of what it has.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, is about providing users with global access to highly scalable and flexible IT resources that can be turned on and off whenever a business desires while paying only for what they use. Cloud computing is a shift towards an “everything as a service” model where services are provided over the Web or “from the cloud”.
Cloud-based storage offerings are beginning to change how companies commoditise and store exponential amounts of data. For businesses to get the best return from these offerings, the hardware infrastructure requires servers and storage designed from the ground up to work in harmony to deliver the scalability, reliability and flexibility that is demanded.
Utilised together, cloud computing and virtualisation can work in harmony and definitely complement each other, although they are not necessarily wedded technologies. Cloud computing and virtualisation overlap as it is clear that cloud solutions are dependent on and leverage virtualisation to deliver their services.
Organisations that are not yet ready to adopted cloud based solutions can still use end-to-end virtualisation to get much better returns and results from their internal infrastructure.
For example, to be able to provide this style of “use what you need, pay only for what you use”, cloud computing providers will have to utilise virtualisation. It is the only way they will get the flexibility in their infrastructure to be able to deliver the flexibility the end-user wants. This applies whether the provider is external (public or shared cloud) or internal (private cloud).
Entering the cloud can be a daunting experience for many, and support is often required. HP offers a number of cloud resources to customers, such as workshops, which help businesses develop their own approach to the cloud and identify the best way for them to utilise the technology. This can be anything from providing cloud services, sourcing cloud services or deploying an internal cloud computing infrastructure.
A fully converged infrastructure, one that delivers a technology environment that rapidly adjusts to meet changing needs, is very much the choice for users looking to deploy more effective solutions as well as providers looking to build large scale cloud solutions.