Everyone is talking about hybrid cloud these days. Can you tell us about the HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform you recently announced?
LL: Yes, definitely! Our new HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform is perfect for companies looking to quickly, easily and holistically incorporate public and private cloud resources into their existing production data centers. Patented technology provides native interoperability between VMware vCenter management and hybrid resources, including Amazon Web Services (including AWS GovCloud), Microsoft Azure, OpenStack and multi-hypervisor on-premise — all without sacrificing management functionality or adding operational complexity. For the first time, companies can administer and manage hybrid cloud resources, whether on-premise or in the public cloud, as easily as local VMware environments.
We’ve taken a software-defined approach to hybrid management, administration, networking, security, orchestration and third-party tool integration, so VMware shops can quickly and easily incorporate disparate resource types. Unlike overlay tools that provide specialized automation on top of multiple native management toolsets, the HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform abstracts hypervisor and workload metadata so hybrid infrastructures are natively supported by VMware vCenter and compatible management tools. Best of all, no new consoles are required, and existing VMware management, templates, scripts and workflows are usable across hybrid cloud infrastructures. There’s no need to rebuild workloads or install in-guest agents, and deployment can be completed in just a couple of hours without specialized skills or expensive professional services projects.
Why are public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) becoming so important to midsize and enterprise companies?
LL: Public cloud options like AWS are becoming integral to data center strategies for a number of reasons. From capital cost reduction to flexibility and agility to pay-per-use pricing, public clouds are extremely attractive to companies of all sizes and in all industries. Over the past couple of years, public cloud IT projects have evolved from early trials and non-critical workloads to production applications, and the HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform was developed in direct response to this rapidly growing trend. For most mid-market companies and large enterprises, a hybrid on- and off-premise computing model is the path typically being pursued ⎯ so a cloud-attached approach to the traditional VMware data center makes very good economic sense. Some of the most pervasive hybrid use cases include:
- Disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC): If a disaster of any kind should happen, key systems must be back online quickly. With AWS as a cloud-attached data center, companies can be assured their critical applications and data will be available at all times. The HotLink technology enables easy, well-integrated VMware DR/BC that’s affordable by any IT organization.
- Hybrid IT operations: Many companies want to leverage the public cloud for certain applications but utilize on-premise data centers for others. The HotLink Cloud-Attach technology lets companies extend their on-premise VMware management environment to their public cloud of choice, offering a unified approach that decreases operational complexity.
- Bursting to the cloud: Demand for computing capacity is rarely steady, with many companies experiencing dramatic peaks during various weeks or months. The public cloud can be a very economical choice for incremental capacity. HotLink’s new technology dramatically streamlines the hybrid management model and enables easy resource sharing across both environments.
What should companies consider when integrating public clouds with their current on-premise data centers?
LL: A hybrid cloud deployment that effectively and efficiently leverages public cloud resources can completely transform the data center. However, IT teams should take thoughtful and deliberate steps to avoid the potential pitfalls of complexity, risk and creeping costs. The primary reason HotLink developed its unique Cloud-Attach Platform is to reduce complexity and related costs. Here are three of the most important considerations for hybrid strategies:
- Keep it simple with early payback. “Transformation” initiatives have a long history of self-destructing from overly aggressive goals, complex architectures and the inability to accurately calculate the real cost of long-term projects. To avoid a similar fate with hybrid cloud projects, start with one or two use cases with very clear payback, implementation timelines that are short, and limited technological complexity to achieve early benefits.
- Unify the management plane. This should be the top priority before companies go to production with hybrid infrastructures. A single, logical resource pool is the key to avoiding expensive silos and escalating people costs. Lots of vendors promise to deliver hybrid management, so be sure to read the fine print to avoid a complex and expensive management stack.
- Leverage your existing investments. Adding a collection of tools, skills and workflows to the existing on-premise IT operations will add unnecessary complexity and headaches, as well as derail the financial benefits that the public cloud offers. Look for hybrid solutions that enable all of the existing VMware-centric management infrastructure to support a range of public clouds to simplify your hybrid setup and avoid future lock-in.
What other product updates did you announce?
LL: The HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform has been incorporated into all of HotLink’s product offerings to enable customers to easily apply the technology in the prominent hybrid use cases I mentioned above. This includes HotLink DR Express, HotLink Hybrid Express and HotLink Cloud Management Express ⎯ all are award-winning hybrid deployment and management solutions for enterprises, government agencies and mid-sized customers that fully leverage and extend their existing VMware production management environments to cloud-based resources. Additionally, we announced a range of managed service options that help companies quickly get started with public cloud projects and enable resource-constrained IT teams to tackle transformation initiatives.
When are these new and enhanced products available?
LL: The HotLink Cloud-Attach Platform, enhanced hybrid management products and the new managed services are available now. Readers can visit our website (http://www.hotlink.com) to sign up for a webinar, check out videos and review white papers or contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a demo or pricing.