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Hybrid cloud solutions maximize the value of technology through optimization

Moving to a hybrid cloud solution allows you to optimize manageability, performance, and costs while integrating edge and data center on-premises infrastructure with greater ease.

Provided byMicrosoft Azure and Intel

This is the third article in a series about enabling businesses to become more future-ready. Previously, we discussed challenges that can complicate an organization’s cloud adoption strategy. We also tackled the ways in which a hybrid cloud approach leverages the best of both worlds when it comes to security, both on premises and in the cloud.

In this article, we look at the reasons why moving to a hybrid cloud solution represents a cost-effective and efficient way to optimize legacy infrastructure while you select the workloads and applications that will run in the cloud versus on premises. With a hybrid solution that includes hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), businesses can maximize the value of their technology across multiple complex environments, all while simplifying hosts and virtual machines (VMs) management with a unified platform.

Managing complexities with a hybrid approach

As the pace of digital transformation continues to accelerate, businesses are looking for a strategic foundation that modernizes existing infrastructure to support the right workload for the right cloud environment. Workloads and apps need consistent management across multiple environments. Transforming data centers from legacy architectures to a hyperconverged and hybrid model allows businesses to scale their virtualization footprint, phase out older servers, and unify them within a standard architecture that reduces costs and management burden.

By migrating applications and workloads from legacy hardware and software to a hybrid environment, you gain increased capabilities and scalability, with more options for backup and disaster recovery. All of this is built into a hybrid solution that combines high-performance software and hardware to give optimized levels of support, performance, and flexibility.

Hyperconverged infrastructure eases deployment and management, creating a more simplified and functional solution for enterprises. The hybrid model of HCI leverages the best of both on-premises and cloud environments while delivering these disparate elements: software-defined compute, storage, and networking, but with simplified management, all running on standard, off-the-shelf hardware.

Easing the burden of managing different environments and tools

The desired state of optimal performance, utilization, and compliance across a hybrid multi-cloud environment exists at a scale that is often too vast to manage with legacy systems. Hybrid computing allows you to connect on-premises and cloud resources, but this can be problematic, as the resources remain discrete, despite being connected. Various limitations imposed by enabling virtual machines on premises or scaling up on the cloud side of the system can also increase costs and complexity.

With hybrid cloud adoption on the rise, Azure Stack HCI Intel-based solutions represent a clear example that provides a solid foundation for businesses to take advantage of all that a hybrid model offers. Azure Stack HCI delivers the innovative technology infrastructure to modernize data centers. Because every Azure Stack HCI is Azure Arc enabled, management of on-premises and cloud resources is greatly simplified, edge and remote branches are easily integrated into core infrastructure, and more control over users’ data and applications is enabled. Control and management can be performed from one unified interface, limiting the number of tools that an admin must master, further streamlining management. Combining high-performing virtualized compute, storage, and networking on industry-standard servers optimized for 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors creates the foundation to flexibly and securely move, store, and process data across any environment—from cloud to edge.

Intel® Select Solutions for Azure Stack HCI further ease migration by reducing the time to evaluate, select, purchase, and deploy new infrastructure. Intel® Select Solutions are based on extensive testing to determine the best price and performance configurations to meet the requirements of a range of workloads. Each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) delivering the system is verified to meet or exceed the performance threshold. 3rd Gen Intel Xeon® Scalable processor-based solutions also bring more security, encryption, and acceleration features that are showcased through Azure Stack HCI v2.

Create a holistic edge computing strategy

Because traditional on-premises datacenters require regular, costly updates, moving to a subscription-based hybrid cloud model can save money, simplify operations, and improve performance. With Azure Stack HCI running on an underlying platform from Intel, businesses get scalable compute, storage, and networking capabilities with the broad range of Intel® Xeon Scalable processors, Intel® Optane technologies, and Intel® Ethernet 800 Series network adapters.

With Azure Stack HCI, on-premises management toolsets can be extended into the cloud through Azure hybrid services for backup, monitoring at scale, and more. Integrating Azure Stack HCI with Azure services can modernize aging servers and storage capabilities, conferring many of the benefits of hybrid solutions for businesses needing higher scalability, or additional flexibility. Azure Stack HCI’s integrated solution offers a variety of management solutions like Windows Admin Center, while managing resources through the Azure portal via Azure Arc enablement, letting customers centrally manage and monitor multiple systems at once.

Getting the most from data and applications through real-time insight 

Azure Stack HCI is a native Azure resource, so you can leverage Azure APIs and scripting to automate and orchestrate Azure Stack HCI operations while integrating it into your Azure operating environment. Azure integration ensures that you can easily provision the required compute and storage capacity for your on-premises VMs and fine-tune the performance needed for each workload.

Enterprise applications that drive businesses every day often depend on database applications such as SQL Server. These applications demand high performance for workloads such as online transaction processing (OLTP) and real-time analytics to derive insights from the massive data volumes and deliver virtually instant data access for applications such as online trading, fraud detection, retail customer interactions, and more.

Applications and workloads like these need to be supported by an enterprise-class storage foundation. Intel and Microsoft have optimized Azure Stack HCI to take advantage of Intel® Optane technologies for storage and memory, in addition to silicon-based security technologies and AI acceleration. This results in a modern, customer-ready infrastructure that, based on Enterprise Strategy Group benchmarking, can process over 2.6 million SQL Server new orders per minute.

Providing enterprises with a foundation for the future

Microsoft and Intel continue to drive ongoing innovations across software and hardware to create comprehensive and high-value hybrid infrastructure that spans security, performance, and flexibility. This collaborative effort offers a level of powerful protection that’s integrated into the fabric of Intel’s hardware and exists within Microsoft’s security efforts as exemplified by Secured-core servers and more. Together, we are creating a chain of trust to protect customers and provide the highest levels of security. If you’re a business that’s ready to optimize manageability, performance, and costs while integrating edge and data center on-premises infrastructure into your hybrid multi-cloud environment, learn more about Azure Stack HCI today.

Check out the latest Intel-based Azure Stack HCI systems and new features on Azure.com/HCI. While there, download the software, which Microsoft has made available for a 60-day free trial.

This content was produced by Microsoft Azure and Intel. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.

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