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Choosing the best-suited cloud strategy for your organization

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There is general shift by most organisations from traditional IT to the big public cloud, allowing them to respond better and faster to both business and customer needs.
According to Dennis Naidoo, senior systems engineer: Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Tintri, a producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualisation and enterprise cloud, it is widely accepted that public cloud delivers greater efficiencies for scale, agility and opex based economics. “However, choosing to move your organisation’s data into a public cloud may also require acceptance to the risk of potential leakage of confidential or personal information into the public domain,” he says.
Naidoo points out that there are several important considerations to take into account when choosing the best-suited cloud strategy for an organisation. These would include the company’s size, its in-house skills, infrastructure costs as well as its access to cash, risk profile, IT demands, and more.
He adds that the questions a business should ask, prior to choosing a 100 percent public cloud model and an appropriate service provider, are:
• Data location: Am I complied by local law to keep data within the borders of my country?
• Data privacy: Will my data be accessible to governments under their laws (for example the US Patriot Act)?
• Confidentiality: Can I be held accountable or sued if there is a data breach and my client’s data is leaked?
• Data sensitivity: What would be my exposure if data was made available in the public domain?
• Lock-in: Will it be difficult for me to change service providers in future or exit the public cloud with large data sizes?
“Even with the above concerns, there is no denying the obvious benefits that public cloud can deliver. These benefits include access to data anywhere, having granular and agile scale, driving down lower costs and on-demand services,” adds Naidoo.
“Most organisations are on their journey to some type of cloud model, even if it is just driving increasing virtualisation of workloads. There is a common misconception that having heavy virtualisation is the same as a private cloud. To make the most of a private cloud data centre, you need to increase automation of tasks, while also providing high levels of orchestration and some form of self-service to your consumers. Deploying a private cloud can deliver some of the benefits of public cloud, in terms of agility, responsiveness and self-service, without the concerns associated with hosting sensitive and confidential data in a public cloud. However the initial costs of building out a private cloud could be prohibitive to smaller businesses.”
For these reasons and more, explains Naidoo, most companies today are choosing some hybrid-cloud model, selecting specific workloads with less sensitive and confidential data that can be moved into a public cloud, that would reduce organisational risk, while balancing out costs of infrastructure.
“Whatever your choice of cloud platform, the right architectural choices are essential to ensure an organisation can more simply and cost-effectively build out their private and hybrid cloud platform within their data centre,” says Naidoo.
He highlights that it is, however, only VAS that is specifically built for virtualised applications – stripping out the complexity of LUNs and volumes so you can manage only the VMs that matter. When you can take every storage action (such as replicate, clone and analyse) on individual virtual machines, you save time, money and sanity.
And, that is exactly why VAS is increasingly sought after. It is also why storage companies are jumping on the VAS bandwagon. Many now tout their technology as VM-aware, VM-centric and other creative interpretations.
Fortunately, points out Naidoo, there’s a single question test you can use to determine whether or not storage is VM-aware: Has the storage system removed all LUNs or volumes from its architecture? If the answer is yes, that’s VM-aware storage. If it is no, unfortunately, it’s not VM-aware storage.
And when storage is truly VM-aware, it can do many things that commodity all-flash and hyperconverged cannot entertain. According to a Tintri paper, three things all flash can only do when it’s VM-aware are the following:
• See the source of latency across host, network and storage to pinpoint problems;
• Guarantee performance with VM-level quality of service (QoS); and
• Apply VM-level analytics to identify issues with individual applications.
As the leading distributor of Tintri products in Southern and East Africa, Networks Unlimited has seen the valuable contribution that Tintri can make in enhancing storage performance whilst saving costs for companies operating in the region.
“Tintri VMstore challenges the storage status quo. It is this kind of innovative product that is needed to boost business productivity and grow the future of the IT landscape in Africa,” says Anton Jacobsz, MD of Networks Unlimited.