Storm Clouds

Cloud, cloud cloud. You hear it everyday. Your CxO is driving your organization to the cloud. Every corner you turn, another app is being published to the cloud. You can store your data in the cloud, you can analyze your big data in the cloud, you can compute in the cloud, you can host in the cloud, you can even shop in the cloud. But what happens when your clouds aren’t white puffy soft clouds. Storms happen, and this year has seen many outages. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all suffered outages…plural. Some significant, some not so much, but outages nonetheless. So what is an IT Director who has been told that the organization is going to embrace the cloud supposed to do. Simple. Build their own cloud. Hybrid clouds are easiest way to provide your end users with the flexible and agile environment that your CxO is really asking for. End users expect the same quick response from their IT department that they get from many of the external cloud providers. The benefit of bringing your cloud in house are plentiful and a few of those reasons include…

  1. You maintain access to how money is spent with IT (Budget)
  2. You control what your end users have access to (Security)
  3. You bring the latest applications and services to your end users (Innovation)
  4. You continue to be front and center in the business (Relevance)

So where do you start? I said it was simple, but many organizations aren’t going that direction. Start with your data protection environment because it’s easiest to provide, and can become the bridge between the cloud and your end users. You need a few simple things in place to provide a Backup-As-A-Service (BAAS) environment. First, you need to provide an end user catalog. They need to choose which level of service they will subscribe to and in most cases this aligns with the tier of application you are protecting. Messaging, Databases, CRM’s etc are typically critical tier 1 applications that demand aggressive RTP/RPO and therefore need to be top level Platinum services. Test/Dev environments typically only need to be protected for a limited period of time and can be brought back online slowly and represent those lower level Bronze services. The rest of your Tier 2 and Tier 3 apps fall in the middle.

Second, you need to provide automation to your end users. If your IT team has to take an action EVERY time someone needs a restore, an additional backup, or wants a report to show them their backups, your team will get buried. Choose a product that can do this for your team. Policy based backup scheduling, and virtual environment automation are standard requirements in a BAAS environment. Automated reporting and monitoring should be standard in any implementation.

Next, you need to provide optics into the financial aspect of the product you are creating. This can be a true chargeback model or a just a simple showback where you are able to provide end users with an understanding of their level of consumption of the BAAS product they have chosen. Again, the monitoring and reporting tool your deploy to supplement your backup environment should provide this. Finally, as part of this tool is the ability to provide your end users with auditing reports. They need to know that their data is being protected and most importantly that is recoverable.

If you put this recipe together, you can provide a cloud environment to your end users and start recapturing your IT budget. You can avoid reliance on an external provider that has only THEIR best interest at heart in most cases, and secure the data that is critical to your environment inside the walls of your own datacenter. So when you see those storm clouds start brewing, its time to start planning on deploying your own hybrid environment that can provide the same or better level of service, at a cost that is usually lower than a purely public provide, and all within your own control. Need a hand? You know you can always ask your local EMC partner or account team to give you some guidance.

 

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