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SIOS 2016 Predictions: Cloud Use Expands and The On-Premises Data Center Becomes an Endangered Species

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Jerry Melnick, President and CEO, SIOS Technology Corp.

Cloud Use Expands and The On-Premises Data Center Becomes an Endangered Species

In 2016, companies will move more operations than ever to public cloud environments (i.e., Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud) where they gain the flexibility to apply IT resources as needed for maximum efficiency and cost savings. Moving applications to the cloud also makes it easier and faster to give employees access to both mobile and corporate applications with 24X7 worldwide access to key business operations. Most companies have proven the benefits of cloud computing with test/dev and other non-business-critical applications. However, many have kept business-critical applications such as SQL Server, Oracle, and SAP in on-premises data centers where they can be sure to meet their stringent service level agreements (SLAs) for security, high availability, and application performance.

In 2016, IT will be looking for ways to deliver on their SLA commitments and provide the same level of availability protection for these business-critical applications in cloud environments as they do in traditional on-premises failover clustering environments. As companies move more operations to cloud computing, a more clearly defined set of best practices for planning, implementation, and ongoing management of cloud-based application environments will naturally emerge.

Flexible High Availability Protection for Business Critical Applications Tops the Priority List

The best high availability (HA) protection in traditional physical environments is typically provided by Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) or other HA clustering environments. In a failover cluster environment, two or more nodes are connected to shared storage via a shared storage area network (SAN). If there is a failure in one node, operations are moved to another node where the application continues operations with access to the most current data. Since SAN is either impossible or impractical in most public cloud environments, in 2016 we will see an increase in the use of SANless clustering as the standard practice for high availability protection for business critical applications in the cloud. By adding SANless clustering software to a WSFC environment companies can configure a cluster in the same way they do in a physical server environment. The SANless clustering software synchronizes storage in the cluster nodes using fast, host-based replication. The synchronized storage appears to WSFC as a traditional shared storage configuration, enabling IT to manage it in the same way as a traditional shared-storage high availability environment.

Companies with existing and older hardware that now employ HA clustering to protect their applications will look to cloud as an option to avoid steep capital acquisition costs for servers and SAN hardware replacements. And customers developing new applications requiring protection of critical databases will also be evaluating the cloud to achieve cost effective, timely, and flexible deployments. SANless clustering will increasingly provide a highly cost efficient alternative to physical hosting and enable hosting critical applications in the cloud.

The Emergence of the New Data Center

In 2016 we will see the further advancement of the new data center that mixes on-premises, cloud (public and/or private), and virtual environments in new ways to meet the fast-changing requirements of today's business. For example, by configuring a WSFC in an on-premises data center with failover to a public cloud, companies can gain full disaster protection without the cost and complexity of building a DR site. Some companies are creating private cloud environments and using public cloud for peak usage or geographically separate redundancy for DR. Companies are also moving their entire data center, including business critical applications to public cloud. They can configure instances in geographically separated areas of the public cloud (e.g., AWS EC2 availability zones or Azure fault domains) for failover with disaster protection.

We are already seeing the introduction of many features and options from cloud providers that make connecting the on-premise data center to public cloud faster and more seamless. In 2016, the lines between physical, virtual, public cloud and hybrid cloud will become even more blurred. Companies are already using an integrated hybrid cloud strategy to address challenges such as seasonal spike in demand for retailers.  And while many companies have chosen the cloud for point source solutions to individual use cases, companies will consider public and private cloud as part of an overall comprehensive infrastructure strategy. This will include the migration and integration of increasingly more important business applications requiring high availability service levels.

Given the increasing interest to use public and private cloud infrastructures to host the full suite of corporate applications, SANless clustering will be a key ingredient to the flexible deployment of these critical applications and an important capability promoting the advancement of the hybrid cloud and the new data center.

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About the Author

Jerry Melnick, President and CEO, SIOS Technology Corp.

Jerry is responsible directing the overall corporate strategy for SIOS Technology Corp. and leading the company's ongoing growth and expansion. He has more than 25 years of experience in the enterprise and high availability software markets. Before joining SIOS, he was CTO at Marathon Technologies where he led business and product strategy for the company's fault tolerant solutions. His experience also includes executive positions at PPGx, Inc. and Belmont Research, where he was responsible for building a leading-edge software product and consulting business focused on supplying data warehouse and analytical tools. Jerry began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation where he led an entrepreneurial business unit that delivered highly scalable, mission critical database platforms to support enterprise-computing environments in the medical, financial and telecommunication markets. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Beloit College with graduate work in Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Boston University.

Jerry Melnick 

Published Wednesday, December 30, 2015 10:33 AM by David Marshall
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