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Are You Getting the Most Out of the Cloud Right Now? | @CloudExpo #Cloud

How can IT guarantee application availability when so much has already been invested in current programs and infrastructures?

The pace of technology today means organizations are increasingly tasked with delivering applications that are fast, efficient, and capable of doing more than ever to keep up with the demands of the business. They're looking to improve existing applications and add new ones. But how can IT guarantee application availability or create new applications when so much has already been invested in current programs and infrastructures?

The answer is simple: the hybrid cloud.

As an industry veteran who has worked closely with partners and elite customers over the years, I've seen the transformation and value that the cloud can offer. It has an uncanny ability to not just lower costs but also address some of the enterprise's biggest challenges. The cloud can deliver operational transformation, efficiency, resilience, and security in unprecedented ways. That said, many IT admins are unsure how this thing called "the cloud" will impact their decisions and how their organizations should integrate it into projects.

That's where hybrid cloud comes in. The combination of the public cloud's agility and access to new technology, combined with a business's existing data center infrastructures and applications, has a unique appeal to many companies. The model's flexibility allows businesses to rapidly modernize applications while maintaining the security and availability IT is accustomed to.

At VMware, for example, we engineered our public cloud, vCloud Air, so that customers can dynamically allocate compute, memory, or storage resources that are fully compatible with on-premises workloads, making it simple to migrate VMs to the cloud without change. Its seamless network integration allows companies to not only stretch network architectures, but also retain network rules on which have been built and standardized.

That helps tackle some of the toughest hurdles IT admins face when integrating cloud with their existing infrastructure. Bridging the physical divide between on-premises data centers and the cloud allows IT admins to free up valuable on-premises assets for other functions by treating cloud resources as extensions of the data center, which reduces the complexity of managing disparate environments and maintains the security best practices used on-premises. Then, as the enterprise environment evolves, modern applications can be composed of services that might be built in one place, tested in another, and deployed to a third.

Last, every business needs their applications and data to be secure, and a cloud platform helps there, too. For example, vCloud Air makes the most of security and high availability built in at the hypervisor layer. This allows IT to remain in control, using all the same procedures and tools they are already familiar with, without having to make any major changes.

A recent IDG study found that within the next 12 to 18 months, 60 percent of customers were looking to the cloud to quickly develop and test applications; 63 percent wanted to deploy standard packaged applications; and more than 60 percent planned to deploy disaster recovery options for infrastructures or databases. The broader trend is that IT admins are looking to capitalize on the cloud's strengths in three main ways:

1. Agile, Cost-effective Data Center Extension
Scaling your data center infrastructure to meet the needs of your applications can be tough, especially when your periods of peak demand are transient or temporary. A VM-oriented hybrid cloud environment allows IT organizations to move workloads onto cloud resources as needed, often using familiar management tools and without requiring applications to be rewritten.

2. Outsourcing and Replacing Traditional Data Center Investments
Sometimes, moving workloads from an on-premises data center to the public cloud is the best solution. For example, rather than embarking on a costly equipment refresh, an organization might choose to move an application to cloud infrastructure. This allows IT to outsource day-to-day hardware and infrastructure maintenance activities and concentrate on the applications themselves. But replacing traditional data centers means ensuring that the cloud environment can deliver the same security, availability, and performance that IT is accustomed to.

3. Implementing Flexible, Affordable Disaster Recovery
Organizations want simple, secure, asynchronous replication, failover, and failback - all of which a hybrid cloud scenario can provide. The cloud allows organizations to determine what to protect and when, with a high level of self-service capabilities built in. It can also help eliminate the need for underlying infrastructure hardware or data center mirroring.

These examples are just a reflection of how more than half of customers are already benefiting from the agility and flexibility that hybrid cloud has to offer. Organizations are not only making the most out of hybrid cloud platforms but are creating environments that are delivering true business value beyond the data center.

With this in mind, now is the time to ask yourself (and your IT department) if your business is getting the most out of the cloud - because chances are, your competitors are already asking the same question.

More Stories By Jenny Fong

Jenny Fong is Director of Product & Technical Marketing for vCloud Air. She has over 12 years of experience in the technology sector including roles in business and marketing strategy and applications engineering. She has been with VMware for 5 years, previously supporting vSphere product marketing. Jenny has a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.

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