Is a Hybrid Cloud Solution Right for You?
May 25, 2013

The cloud has been a major technological push over the past year. This trend is fueled in part by the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. But cloud implementation has also been growing in response to the challenging economic conditions of the past several years. At its essence, cloud technology promises to save organizations money by allowing them to buy only the level of IT services that they need, without the added capital expenses of the IT infrastructure required to support those services.

Although it’s clear that the cloud will be an important IT technology going forward, it’s also clear that businesses have been slow in moving to cloud technologies. A number of important considerations—such as security, performance, and compliance—have been hurdles to adoption. Even so, cloud technologies have been evolving rapidly to leap these hurdles. The hybrid cloud is one of those innovations that can help mitigate the challenges faced by the public and private clouds.

Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud combines a public cloud infrastructure with your own private cloud infrastructure. For example, you might implement your database services on a private cloud that’s running on your on-premise infrastructure, in conjunction with an application layer that’s running on a public cloud infrastructure. Using this type of hybrid cloud solution offers several significant advantages over a pure public or private cloud scenario.

First, your application workload has the potential for the most volatility. Running the application layer on a public cloud infrastructure enables the application front-end to be dynamically scaled up and down to meet changing demands; you pay only for the computing resources that you require. You don’t need to buy excess computing capacity to meet temporarily increased scalability requirements. The public cloud infrastructure also provides the application front end with a high level of business continuity, without an investment in backup hardware or disaster recovery sites.

Next, the back-end database workload tends to be more predictable. Running the data tier on your own private cloud infrastructure gives you complete control over your company’s data. The scalability requirements of the data tier typically don't have the dynamic swings of the application layer, so your existing infrastructure can usually handle the workloads. Using a private cloud for the data tier allows your organization’s data to remain on-premise, where data security and backups are completely under your control.

Furthermore, in many countries, regulatory requirements mandate that businesses data remain within the boundaries of that country. Keeping the data tier on-premise in your organization’s private cloud allows you to have complete control over where the data is located and how it is accessed. That isn't always the case when the data is stored in the public cloud. There, you have no control over the cloud vendor’s infrastructure and storage location.

Virtualization and Cloud Solutions

You can build private and hybrid cloud solutions on your own, but that requires a level of expertise and resources that many businesses don’t possess. Fortunately, several types of solutions are available to help you take advantage of these cloud technologies.

One example of a technology that can help implement this type of hybrid cloud computing model can be found in the HP Database Consolidation Appliance. This private cloud infrastructure is specially designed to support multiple virtualized database workloads. The HP Database Consolidation Appliance functions as a private cloud for your data tier, enabling both high performance (through its optimized internal storage and networking configurations) and high availability (through its built-in Failover Clustering services). This type of database private cloud can then be used to support applications running in either the public cloud or your on-premise infrastructure.

Another solution that can help speed you on your way to the hybrid cloud is HP VirtualSystem. This family of optimized virtual server–appliance solutions leverages the expertise of both HP and Microsoft to design a quickly deployed server platform that provides excellent performance for virtual workloads. Unlike the Database Consolidation Application, which is specifically designed to support database workloads, HP VirtualSystem appliances support generic computing requirements, including database, application, or file server workloads. There are several members of the HP VirtualSystem family:

    • HP VirtualSystem VS1 is based on HP ProLiant DL380 servers and HP LeftHand P4500 storage. This cost-effective solution is targeted at small and midsized enterprise customers. It supports up to 8 servers and 57.6TB of storage.
    • HP VirtualSystem VS2 is based on HP ProLiant BL460c G7, HP Virtual Connect, and HP P4800 LeftHand storage. This solution is targeted at midsized and large enterprise customers with demanding density and performance requirements. The VS2 supports up 12 blades and up to 84TB of storage.
    • HP VirtualSystem VS3 is targeted toward enterprise customers. Like the VS2, the HP Virtual System VS3 is based on the HP ProLiant BL460c G7 and HP Virtual Connect computing and networking resources to which it adds HP 3PAR F-Series storage. VS3 supports up to 64 blades and 162TB of storage.
    • HP VirtualSystem VS MC1 is based on the HP Integrity Superdome 2 servers and is designed to handle the most extreme and demanding workloads. The HP Virtual System VS MC1 provides up to 16 sockets and supports up 111.4TB of HP 3PAR F400 storage.

HP CloudSystem is another set of solutions that can help your organization make the jump to the private, public, or hybrid cloud. HP CloudSystem Enterprise is designed to provide enterprise-level deployments of private and hybrid cloud infrastructures, whereas HP CloudSystem Server Provider is designed to support the deployment of public and hosted private clouds.

HP and Microsoft

With more than 25 years of combined market leadership, HP and Microsoft have joined together to create a family of highly optimized private and hybrid cloud solutions that help customers make the jump to the cloud. To help you deploy and support these solutions, HP Consulting Services for Microsoft Private Cloud has more than 23,000 Microsoft-trained consultants and more than 11,000 Microsoft-certified professionals that can help you design and implement your private and hybrid cloud solutions.