Demand by computing applications can sometimes outstrip the capacity of a virtual Server or network, resulting in performance issues that bleed into other applications.
For example, a company selling online greeting cards may be inundated on Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day with an enormous volume of orders, using up a huge chunk of server capacity.
Virtualization in a public Cloud can mitigate the impact of such surges by allowing resources to dynamically spin up. Applications can also be moved in and out of the public cloud to scale resources up or down. And if a server in the cloud fails, resources can be instantly ported to another server.
Still, the combination of virtualization and the cloud may not be enough. This is where the strategic allocation of resources comes in. For instance, on-premise servers might be used with virtualization to run certain applications, while separate cloud servers are used to run other apps. The challenge for IT is making the optimum mix-and-match composite.
“There are issues involving licensing, software portability, legacy hardware, security, compliance and performance that need to be fully understood and appreciated for IT to make enlightened decisions on how to get the best of the cloud and virtualization,” said Scott Brindamour, Director of the Advanced Technology Solutions architect team at CenturyLink.
Hybrid Approach Slashes Licensing Fees
By combining virtualization and the public cloud, companies get the best of both worlds in most, but not all situations.
Brindamour provided the example of a traditional enterprise application like an Oracle database with a license based on the volume of computing power consumed by the server on which the app runs. If the database is on a virtualized server in the public cloud, the buyer will be charged a fee based on the power consumed by the server running this application and others.
“You may only be using a tiny slice of the server in the cloud, but the licensing model will charge you for the highest scale peak of overall computing power,” he explained.
In such cases, Brindamour advises prudence: Take the server on which the database is currently running and put it on a dedicated server in the cloud.
“This way, it would be separated from the rest of the company’s applications and software, providing significant cost savings,” he said.
Handling Resource-Intensive Apps
A similar tactic would involve the use of fully capitalized, legacy hardware with three to four more years of useful life remaining. In this case, a company might want to retain the on-premise server for front-end processing tasks, while running the back-end database on a server using virtualization in the cloud.
“This way you’re getting the advantages of the cloud, but still using the physical asset you’ve bought that has life left in it,” Brindamour said.
Another approach for balancing the use of computing resources involves an application that performs a huge volume of computations that, for instance, consumes one-fifth of a virtualization layer. In this category are applications for cognitive computing and artificial intelligence used by financial services firms. At peak volume, the app may cause the performance of other apps to decline. This can be avoided by running the app on a dedicated server.
Other factors, such as security and compliance, can cause IT to devise a nuanced approach.
“If you’re taking credit card data and are highly conscious of regulations mandating a high level of security, a shared public cloud model may not be the best solution,” Brindamour said. “It may be best to isolate this information from shared servers, networking devices and storage.”
So what’s the bottom line? Virtualization and the cloud are great bedfellows — most of the time.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all IT solution, at least not at the current time,” Brindamour said. “We help IT staff custom-craft the right solution for their needs, app by app by app.”
Take advantage of a free hour of consulting with a CenturyLink Hybrid IT expert to discuss how a Hybrid IT strategy can drive your business forward.
Are you attending the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, October 16-20th? Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Scott Brindamour to discuss your Hybrid IT and Digital Transformation goals.
Russ Banham is a Pulitzer-nominated business journalist and author of more than two-dozen company history books.
This article is a reprint from CenturyLink ForbesVoice.
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