Apr 30 2014

Converged Infrastructure and the Cloud

An established CI can provide the basis for an organization’s eventual leap to the cloud.

Converged infrastructure is uniquely suited for cloud operations. In fact, it’s a relatively easy next step for hardware operating in the efficient architecture of CI. Organizations can make excellent use of their IT resources by deploying CI as the basis for an eventual leap to the cloud. Once the CI infrastructure is in place and the organization needs additional capacity, it can be obtained by using either the popular OpenStack protocol or common hypervisors that allow easy scalability and movement of virtual machines to the cloud.

Organizations that want to maintain complete control of their IT environment, while employing cloud computing, generally elect to establish a private cloud. With this model, sensitive data and applications remain under the control of the organization, which is responsible for both physical and logical security.

Conversely, many organizations expand from CI into public clouds, in which a service provider makes resources such as software and storage available to customers over the Internet. Examples of public clouds include IBM’s Blue Cloud, Sun Cloud and the Windows Azure Services Platform. Combining an organization’s CI-enabled private cloud with a public cloud creates a hybrid cloud architecture.

Introducing the Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud may, for example, host high-security information on a private cloud and run day-to-day business infrastructure on a public cloud leased from and maintained by a provider. With a solid CI to work from, any cloud configuration is possible. In fact, moving a CI deployment to the cloud has many advantages. A move to the cloud opens more floor space for an organization. And the cloud bolsters disaster recovery operations because data isn’t locked down at one location.

But the biggest advantage is that cloud CI providers offer dynamic IT infrastructure growth as needed. If a company suddenly needs more capacity, instead of experiencing downtime or poor performance, more cloud-based resources can be easily added, with the company paying for the increased capacity.

A cloud-based CI solution works the other way too. It allows an organization to easily reduce the resources it uses — and the bills it must pay for those resources — if extra capacity isn’t needed or used.

Want to learn more? Check out CDW’s white paper, “The Power of Convergence.”

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