When you think of the hybrid cloud computing and how you might envision using it in your organization, you might first conjure thoughts of the next generation of applications. Or maybe you want to provide your developers with easy access to provision new servers or applications on the fly without needing to wait for IT. The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is built from the ground up to provide this kind of functionality (and more), but there are a lot of other potential use cases (some of which I discussed in an earlier blog).
In fact, when I think about the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, it makes me want to party like it’s 2003.
End of Support for Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 will reach what Microsoft refers to as End of Support on July 14, 2015. After that date, customers will need to pay for a custom support agreement from Microsoft in order to continue to receive any support on that version of Windows. You might be sitting there thinking, “Who cares? How many servers running Windows Server 2003 could still be out there?” The answer: a lot.
In fact, we’ve spoken with customers that still have thousands of servers running Windows Server 2003. It’s a major effort to migrate from Windows Server 2003 to a more modern version like Windows Server 2012, bringing customers dangerously close to the End of Support date for Windows Server 2003.
Let’s talk about how the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud can help.
To The Cloud!
Imagine you’re that organization that still has thousands of servers running Windows Server 2003. This isn’t a case of needing to migrate off the underlying hardware, so you can’t simply convert these servers to virtual machines and call it a day. To solve this problem, you actually need to deploy new servers running a modern version of Windows and replatform your applications. Without a modern cloud infrastructure like the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, that likely means a lot of manual provisioning of new virtual machines using lots of spreadsheets. IT becomes the bottleneck in terms of provisioning the servers and making sure the individual requirements of each server are met.
With the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, IT can allow application owners to provision their own servers at their own pace all through a service catalog. Instead of managing spreadsheets that are prone to human error, you can let the folks who know the systems better do the actual provisioning of servers. IT is no longer the bottleneck. Multiple application owners can provision servers to their specific requirements on their own which can significantly increase the speed of server deployment.
Measure and Monitor
Provisioning new servers is just one step in the process. You’ll also want to be able to monitor these servers better than you could before. Part of the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution is VMware’s vCenter Operations (now referred to as vRealize Operations), which provides enhanced visibility into the performance characteristics of your servers. All workloads provisioned onto the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud are automatically monitored by vCOPs, providing realtime visibility into their performance characteristics. It also provides another valuable piece of data: capacity planning. vCOPs can look at the workloads that have been provisioned and make a determination as to whether or not they are oversized. This opens up the opportunity to right-size servers that the application owner may have oversized.
Another area where the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud helps is with providing the true cost of deploying and maintaining these servers. With the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, you can assign costs to each component in a server and provide the true cost of deployment and maintenance. By providing the cost of each server, application owners can easily compare the cost of that server running on the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud with the cost of running the same server on a public cloud like vCloud Air—allowing them to make intelligent decisions about where their workload should run. You could then use the cost models to charge the business units for the servers they provision.
Many organizations are not quite ready for a chargeback model but still want to be able to report on the costs. The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud can provide “showback” (or my favorite, “shameback”) costs to the application owners so they can see what this would cost in case your organization ever adopts a chargeback model.
Don’t Forget Backup
You’ve gone to the trouble of provisioning hundreds or even thousands of new servers to support your Windows Server 2003 replatforming effort. You’re monitoring these new servers better than you have before, and you can even calculate the cost of each. Clearly these workloads are important to you so you probably want to protect them, right? There’s an app for that!
In my last post I talked about what makes EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud different from other hybrid cloud solutions. One of those things is our custom workflows that integrate Avamar directly into the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud service catalog. Without the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, an administrator might need to add each provisioned server to a specific Active Directory group or Organizational Unit, or they might need to choose specific backup policies within Avamar for every server. That sounds awful.
The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud has the ability to let administrators and application owners choose their backup policy when they’re provisioning the workload, automating a series of manual tasks and saving a significant amount of time. Even better, it gives control over backup and restore to the owners of the servers. They can simply navigate to the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud service catalog and choose to run a backup or restore a previous backup rather than needing to involve IT and potentially having to wait.
Hopefully, this example has helped paint the picture of why I think the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud can significantly aid in Windows Server 2003 replatforming. It can help speed up the deployment of new servers, provide better visibility into the performance and cost of these servers, and automate backup and recovery, too. The efficiencies gained can help customers move much more quickly to avoid the July 2015 End of Support deadline.
Of course, replatforming requires more than simply provisioning new servers with an updated operating system. You need to plan, migrate data and applications, test, and much more. EMC Global Services has a series of services that can assist you with your replatforming efforts all the way from planning and discovery to actual application and data migrations. Add the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud into that mix, and you have a powerful combination.