Finding optimal workload placement

A hybrid cloud allows organizations to use the best platform for their needs

Many IT organizations are in the process of modernizing their infrastructure as part of either a digital transformation strategy or a desire to improve efficiency, reduce the complexity or lower the cost of IT operations. At the same time, organizations are deploying next-gen apps that are placing more stringent demands than ever on IT leaders to meet agility, performance, availability and data management requirements.

Cloud technologies figure prominently in modernized infrastructure. Cloud platforms deliver increased IT agility, provide on-demand access to IT resources and move organizations to subscription-based pricing models that allow them to align expenditure much more closely with actual usage. Although public cloud may have initially been the way organizations began adopting cloud technology, organizations should start their modernized infrastructure journey by crafting a hybrid cloud strategy first.

A hybrid cloud environment delivers traditional on-premises and private and public cloud deployment models under a unified management dashboard, delivering a common operational experience across all platforms and environments. A hybrid cloud strategy provides the most flexibility for optimal workload placement because it offers all three options—each of which offers its own unique advantages.

For each workload at any given time in its life cycle, there is generally one option that is better than the others. Through these flexible hybrid cloud platforms, organizations can place workloads on the most appropriate infrastructure based on workload requirements and organizational priorities. For organizations crafting a successful hybrid cloud strategy, the ultimate goal is to make strategic workload placement decisions that meet service-level agreements (SLAs), enhance security and maximize efficiency at the lowest cost. Hybrid cloud platforms enable enterprises to select the right infrastructure for the right workload.

According to a survey by IDC, a global market intelligence firm, the key considerations that are taken into account when determining workload placement are security, performance, ease of management, availability and cost. Prioritizing those drivers and determining which of the three platforms to use for each will differ across industries and IT verticals.

In manufacturing 

As the manufacturing industry moves through digital transformation, it is deploying next-generation applications to help drive more value out of the data that companies are collecting about customers and end users as well as their own internal processes. Many of these new workloads have a real-time orientation, driving very high performance requirements. This has implications across compute, storage and network infrastructure.

As manufacturing IT organizations add new workloads to drive increased value from the data they are capturing, storing and analyzing, they are thinking consciously about workload optimization strategies in a hybrid cloud environment. According to research by IDC, this vertical market identified collaborative applications, IT infrastructure and business applications as their most critical workloads because of their high performance and availability requirements.

Organizations need to consider what “performance” means for each workload as they decide on the proper deployment model. On-premises deployment options can meet certain performance requirements that are not well met in the public cloud; for example, when the network latency incurred by a hop to a public cloud datacenter may preclude its use for certain very latency-sensitive workloads, as may be the case for the new applications being used in manufacturing.

To address availability requirements, on the other hand, manufacturing organizations may choose to allocate a particular workload to a public cloud platform, where “four-nines” availability (or 99.99% availability) is guaranteed.

In education

The pressure on educators at both the K–12 level and the university level to deliver better educational outcomes and improve student centricity is rising. Education has adopted technology as a reliable way of delivering instruction, assessing student progress, improving school administration and supporting better academic outcomes.

Digital transformation in this sector means addressing three key trends that will shape how education evolves going forward: The increased use of distance learning, the infusion of new technologies as teaching tools and heightened privacy requirements.

Research by IDC indicates that security is a top area of interest in most institutions because educational institutions house extensive personal data on faculty, students and alumni. In addition, universities potentially have sensitive research and valuable intellectual property. For this workload, private cloud deployment could address evolving security and compliance requirements that can’t be met with public cloud infrastructure—though 100% of respondents to the IDC survey expect to continue to run some workloads on public cloud.

Institutions must also maintain legacy workloads—which often are not designed to run on cloud platforms—as they add next-generation applications that will let them harness new technologies like AR, VR and machine learning, which are more suited to the performance and availability of a cloud infrastructure. A hybrid cloud strategy allows this sector to achieve all of its primary IT renewal goals simultaneously.

In banking

Banks worldwide are also in the midst of digital transformation. As part of this process, the industry is leveraging new technologies such as artificial intelligence to make new products and services more easily available through a variety of different channels (such as call centers, automated call systems, online chats and conversational banking through devices such as Siri or Alexa). At the same time, they are looking to protect their customers from fraud, increase the efficiency of banking operations, and improve customer experience.

In banking, the top criteria determining workload placement are security (70%), performance (66%), availability (59%), and management considerations (55%).

With a hybrid cloud strategy that offers three workload placement options, IT managers can place each workload in the deployment model that best meets their business objectives. For example, while public cloud data protection and disaster recovery can be a valuable component of modernized infrastructure, some workloads may require on-premises deployment to ensure compliance with strict RPOs/RTOs or country-specific regulations for data locality.

In the banking industry, individual workload requirements (rather than a single overarching strategy) generally drive deployment choices, whether in traditional IT infrastructure, private cloud or public cloud. However, when workloads will be deployed on premises, a majority of banking IT organizations deploy software-defined, server-based architectures where they can, as long as that deployment model meets their workload requirements.

The Dell Technologies solution

When considering an optimal workload placement strategy across a portfolio of enterprise applications, today’s organizations have more deployment model options than ever before. While early public cloud experiences validated many of the advantages of cloud-based deployment models, they have also pointed out some of the disadvantages of public cloud. Today’s organizations need more than just traditional on-premises and public cloud–based options—they also need a private cloud–based option—and this means they need a comprehensive hybrid cloud strategy.

Technology vendors that offer a wide range of well-integrated IT infrastructure solutions and deep partnerships can help cut through much of this complexity.

Dell Technologies’ broad infrastructure portfolio offers servers, storage, data protection and cloud-based services that deliver on modernized infrastructure requirements. The vendor’s offerings also include converged and hyperconverged systems solutions, multiple flexible consumption models and a unified control plane based on VMware technology as well as that of other vendors.

With its range of offerings, Dell Technologies can deliver a consistent operational experience across traditional on-premises and private and public cloud deployment models. The availability of such a comprehensive set of technology solutions from a single vendor offers the opportunity to reduce complexity and simplify vendor interaction. Organizations interested in crafting a well-integrated hybrid cloud environment as part of their modernized infrastructure efforts will want to explore offerings from Dell Technologies and its key partners.

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