Cisco HyperFlex – Revolutionising the Data Center

Cisco HyperFlex – Revolutionising the Data Center

Many innovators come up with their ‘Aha’ moment from seeing what their competitors are doing and going that one step further to meet the market’s needs better. Let’s take Apple, for instance; the iPhone is a result of looking at how other smartphones developed by competitors like Nokia, Microsoft and Blackberry were meeting the needs of their users, identifying and addressing gaps and successfully rolling out a more superior product. 

Cisco is doing something very similar to Apple with its new HyperFlex. The hyperconvergence product is not just about created to outsmart its competition; it is designed on what the real customer needs are and adapting to the shifting demands in the market – a product that offers increased flexibility and scalability – to achieve a unified solution.   

With HyperFlex, Cisco has adopted a ‘customer-centric approach and aims to help organisations match their workloads to the right architecture and, in the long term, have an edge over their competitors as the business world experiences significant digital transformation. All while technology in the data centre. 

As Cisco was developing HyperFlex, numerous conversations were taking place with various organisations to hear ‘what’ and ‘how’ they wanted their data centre to operate in the future. There was universal agreement that they wanted a modern data centre that was automated, orchestrated and open, with the ability to move workloads into the cloud. They wanted the flexibility to run business-critical apps on-premise to the public cloud while having the same operational capabilities. 

Cisco listened and delivered with HyperFlex, providing a product that increases operational efficiency, faster delivery of IT services, and greater IT agility. 

HyperFlex is paving the way for many different industries to improve their operational efficiencies. The health care industry is one particular example of the need for this hyperconverged technology. Health care providers are competing in a fast-paced, rapidly evolving business. Their current technology is outdated and not keeping up with the growing IT demands. Many are in dire need of transformation.  

The providers are fully aware that they need to address this problem if they want to succeed. As such, larger organisations are investing in Hyperflex to improve the ease of use, flexibility and scalability of their health care delivery systems. Many are also seeing the advantages of Hyperflex, including protecting its critical business applications and data. 

Cisco HyperFlex is galvanising how customers think about their technology in many ways. They are now thinking virtually rather than physically. For example, organisations can deploy new applications can in minutes, not hours or days. Gone are the days of manually putting in orders and waiting for the IT specialists to add storage or servers. With its seamless, on-demand response, HyperFlex cuts the process down dramatically and enables your IT team to do it in-house.    

Another big advantage organisations are experiencing is its simplicity and ability to build on a UCS base and integrate into existing converged database architecture. HyperFlex can be used in many different ways, from virtual desktops (VDI), app dev/testing to operating in a private cloud. 

Cisco HyperFlex is helping transform organisations in line with the new digital era. It isn’t just an appliance box. It’s designed to be an integral part of an organisation’s IT infrastructure. Integrated DC infrastructure, cloud suite, and application-centric infrastructure (ACI) are all building blocks creating the new digital data centre, spanning hardware and software – providing access to any application, from any cloud, anywhere.  

Cisco has introduced innovation to the data centre: IP Telephony Virtualisation, Application Economic, Hybrid Cloud, and Hyperconvergence with HyperFlex. Cisco is renowned for driving industry transformation, then taking a large percentage of the enterprise market. HyperFlex is creating a platform for the Next-Gen digital data centre. It is a vast advancement in consolidating the Data Centre as one, bringing computer, storage and network together, and creating tomorrow’s digital platform today. 

                                                                                                                                               

HyperFlex gives you the right tools to modernise the present and simplify the future. No wonder it has been recognised as a leader in both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave for multiple years, and most recently was named HCI product of the year in 2020 by CRN. If you are responsible for managing your business’s critical applications and would to discuss whether Cisco HyperFlex is right for your business contact us today.

 

Cisco HyperFlex – Simplifying Hypercovergence

Cisco HyperFlex – Simplifying Hypercovergence

Cisco HyperFlex Anywhere extends the simplicity of hyperconvergence from core to the edge and multicloud, putting IT at the centre of rapid innovation in a world where data is everywhere. 

Today, many organisations face new challenges with computing requirements that go beyond their core data centres to clouds and edge environments – driven by the rise of IoT and AI/ML-powered applications.

 The latest innovations in Cisco HyperFlex 4.0 with Cisco Intersight, introduces new edge scaling options and cloud management for multisite edge deployments, engineered to meet the unique requirements for deploying hyperconverged infrastructure at the edge at a global scale thus enabling new IoT and intelligent services at the edge

HyperFlex and Intersight allow customers to extend the simplicity and efficiency of HCI from their core data centres to the edges of their operations with consistent policy enforcement and cloud-powered systems management. 

HyperFlex makes it straightforward to expand an organisation’s computing environment across the modern, distributed data centre. Each node ships with fully integrated hardware, software, and networking, making HyperFlex solutions ready to deploy in minutes and bringing the power to deliver HCI anywhere while delivering a seamless experience from edge to core. 

Organisations that invest in Cisco HyperFlex are experiencing many unique benefits, including: 

  • Broad workload support: The HyperFlex 4.0 release delivers core-to-edge enhancements to the platform. At the edge, new capabilities for HyperFlex Edge and Cisco Intersight provide an enterprise-class platform to aid in simplifying the deployment of branch and edge applications and enable new IoT and intelligence services while performance, security, and container enhancements broaden the support capabilities of mission-critical applications in the core. 
  • Simpler multisite deployment and management: Cisco Intersight lets organisations automate the deployment and ongoing operation of HyperFlex systems across hundreds or thousands of remote locations from a single point of control. The unique cloud-powered management, enabled through Intersight, delivers consistent policy and security enforcement, true full-stack upgrades, and proactive contact with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC)—redefining operational simplicity at the edge. 
  • Workload flexibility and configuration: Meet aggressive cost envelopes for computing at branch locations in retail and other consumer industries, with efficient management at a massively distributed scale. Organisations can enjoy flexibility from a choice of fully configurable 2-node up to 4-node hybrid or all[1]flash cluster sizes, with the ability to use 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity that can operate over the existing network infrastructure. No other HCI appliance on the market offers the range of configuration options available with HyperFlex.

If you are responsible for managing your business’s critical applications, discuss whether Cisco HyperFlex is right for your company to contact us today.

Migrating to cloud? Consider Microsoft Azure

Migrating to cloud? Consider Microsoft Azure

Key points

  • Microsoft Azure gives enterprises the flexibility to start small and grow their infrastructure as their business grows.
  • Enterprises can easily integrate Microsoft apps and services into its existing solutions.
  • Microsoft Azure offers secure cloud solutions by using sophisticated encryption algorithms and techniques.

Australia is at the forefront of cloud adoption. Approximately 95% of organisations are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), with cloud service providers, such as Microsoft Azure, managing the infrastructure – and for a good reason. They are seeing the benefits of migrating their apps and workloads to the cloud.

Microsoft Azure (‘Azure’) is one of the fastest growing and most secure cloud infrastructure platforms available today. It is renowned for its speed, flexibility, and resilience. It boasts the highest amount of security and privacy certifications of any cloud provider. Azure empowers workers to be more productive, enables cognitive learning and AI, and can ultimately transform businesses.

Here our cloud specialist, Dev G, digs a bit deeper into the benefits your business could experience shifting to Microsoft Azure.

 

Ability to scale on demand.

Cloud infrastructure is hugely beneficial to organisations looking to shift workloads to an expandable pool of resources that can contract and enlarge as demand requires; Azure is no exceptionAzure scales alongside an enterprise’s current needs, Enterprises can monitor and tailor their cloud usage as per their workload requirements in a secure environment with no limitation on server capacity. Thus, giving them the flexibility to augment their infrastructure at a pace that suits their business needs.

Azure can also be set up to auto scale as workloads change. With greater scalability, enterprises can gain the experience and confidence in operating their business in the cloud as they continue to grow, while only paying for what they use.

Tip – To make the most of Azure’s hyper-scale environment and avoid unnecessary costs, enterprises should avoid making the common mistake of ‘just’ migrating from on-premises to the cloud. Enterprises need to continue to monitor Azure once they have migrated to the platform. There are helpful tools, such as Azure Advisor and Azure’s auto-scaling engine, to help set triggers to analyse the environment, including workload behaviour, and create sanctions for availability, performance, security, and cost. 

Greater Flexibility 

In the dynamic technology sector, enterprises need to partner with a host that can evolve as quickly as their needs do. Azure can easily adapt to an enterprise’s unique business needs and provides the capability to manage, deploy and control infrastructure from almost anywhere, at any time, enabling enterprises to modify the cloud as required.

Tip – When adopting Azure, enterprises need to scrap the ‘lift and shift approach. They need to see Azure as a highly scalable and adaptable solution that can be right-sized to their specific and current needs – such an approach will lead to many cost savings. 

 

More Availability 

Azure features an industry-leading SLA and more than 10,000 Availability Zones enabling businesses to migrate their workloads seamlessly from one locality to another.

Tip – Enterprises need to be mindful that the availability is not built-in to Azure by default. Just because it is in the cloud does not mean a resource is always available. It is important workloads enterprises can access their workloads from more than one virtual machine within the same availability zone (to achieve a high SLA).

 

Improved Accessibility

Azure offers enterprises the freedom to access services from any device and any location in a secure environment. Azure enables enterprises to easily integrate Microsoft apps and services into their existing solutions. Enterprises can also use the Microsoft Azure App service to write apps that use all the platform’s capabilities, including app storage, networking, servers, storage, database, analytics, and machine learning.

 

Robust Security 

Azure offers several secure cloud solutions which use sophisticated encryption algorithms and techniques. When users access Microsoft cloud services, they can retain complete control of their data while remaining fully protected. Azure’s also gives enterprises the flexibility to choose which apps they want to use, the level of encryption to employ and other settings.

Tip – Enterprises need to ensure they have the right security and backup levels in place when they move to Azure – ultimately, it is their responsibility regardless of if the workloads are on-premises or in the cloud. Enterprises also need to extend their continuity strategy, processes and tools to include Azure – there are various storage and backup tools available. 

 

Ability to optimise costs 

Many customers have no idea what discounts or entitlements are available with Microsoft Azure and therefore miss out on huge cost savings. With Microsoft’s huge customer base, it has been able to offer discounted prices to its customers. As the market gets more competitive with AWS and Google, costs will likely go down even further. Also, Azure provides a ‘pay what you use’ model, which significantly reduces the upfront costs for small businesses.

Tips – Azure subscriptions should align with an enterprise’s business goals. Governance tools such as Azure Scaffold can be a powerful cost-management tool, helping enterprises protect businesses from human errors, tag resources, set up policies, quickly run reports on various resources and reduce susceptibility to vulnerabilities which could lead to costly mistakes in the future. 

A great way to optimise your costs with Azure is to shut down machines that are not mission-critical when they are not in use (e.g., after-hours). If you are using a subscription model and not paying upfront for virtual machines, you don’t need to have your infrastructure operating 24 x7.  

 

Platform as a Service (PaaS) 

Another core strength of Azure is its Platform as a Service (PaaS) capability. Completely serverless, enterprises do not have to worry about infrastructure, including monitoring patching or remediating the server. Enterprises do not have to waste time on deploying, configuring, managing, and monitoring IaaS infrastructure Their IT team can spend more time on the business’s strategic aspects; helping it grow and succeed and save on time and money.

Tip – Enterprises must select which workloads they want to move to PaaS as not all workloads are suitable for this environment.

 

Hybrid Capability 

Azure allows enterprises to build hybrid environments, enabling them to take advantage of on-premises resources and the benefits of operating on a cloud platform without any hidden unnecessary costs.

Azure continues to grow rapidly, regularly adding support for various features, applications and different technology platforms. If you are considering migrating to the cloud, Azure should be on the list of options.

                                                                                                                                                      

Oreta has gold partner status with Microsoft because of its distinctive competencies in Azure, including system integration and managed services. We partner with customers throughout their journey to the cloud – from advisory and delivery to operations and continued optimisation.

 

What’s Multi-Cloud?

What’s Multi-Cloud?

Multi-cloud is the use of more than one cloud platform that each delivers a specific application or service. A multi-cloud architecture can be made up of two or more public or private clouds to achieve a business’s IT goals. 

What is the difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud?

There are several distinct differences between Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures.

Traditionally ‘Hybrid cloud’ has meant the combination of private (either on-premises or hosted in a datacentre) and public cloud infrastructure, with application tools used to orchestrate and deploy workloads and manage the balance between the two.

Multi-cloud by contrast has more of a strategic emphasis. Enterprises use multiple cloud providers to meet different business requirements. At its most granular, multi-cloud is made up of various IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services with the cloud-native applications being the most mature, which are built up from containers and microservices, and provided by different cloud providers.

The main difference between the two is ‘Hybrid cloud’ refers to multiple cloud platforms, multi-cloud refers to multiple cloud services or vendors.

Benefits of a multi-cloud approach?

Many businesses nowadays have adopted a multi-cloud strategy by deploying applications and services across several cloud environments.  There are many reasons for this, including:

Remove Vendor Lock-In – one of the most common reasons organisations adopt a multi-cloud strategy is the desire not to lock into any particular cloud provider. Enterprises recognise that no one provider can be everything to everyone. A multi-cloud approach gives organisations the flexibility to identify and partner with the vendors that have best-of-breed solutions that best align to their business needs.

Improved Performance – organisations with a wide range of cloud-based workloads can minimise latency and other performance barriers, such as packet loss, by investing in multiple cloud providers closest to where the applications and users are.

Compliance Management– Data governance often requires customer data to be held in different locations. Using a multi-cloud strategy improves adherence to such policies.

High Availability and Resilience – All cloud providers, even hyperscale ones with multiple geographically dispersed, redundant datacentres – suffer outages from time to time. If organisations put their dependency only on one cloud provider, they run the risk of their mission-critical applications becoming unavailable. A multi-cloud strategy allows for better security, failover, and disaster recovery – and resilience.

Challenges

Although a multi-cloud strategy has its advantages such as greater flexibility and scalability, it can also cause complexity in deployment and management, including:

  • Security and governance are more complicated. There are more “moving parts” which may create resiliency issues.
  • Organisations could suffer a paradox of choice when having to select the right cloud products and services.
  • Management complexity could become a problem especially if multi-cloud is adopted in an ad hoc manner rather than been planned from the ground up.
  • Organisations could experience perimeter dissolution.In a single cloud environment, it is easy to build a perimeter to protect sensitive data and workloads which are residing in the same cloud. With a multi-cloud approach, data is spread across multiple cloud locations, making it easier to access, traverse across different cloud locations and blur the lines. Therefore, strategies zero-trust become imperative to implement.
  • A multi-cloud approach does not provide the same level of visibility as a single cloud environment. As underline infrastructure becomes more abstract, as more clouds are adopted, operation levels could reduce as does the level of visibility and control.
  • Organisations need to dedicate significant time monitoring all their assets (e.g., cloud functions) and resources across their entire multi-cloud environment, especially as modern software architecture continues to evolve, and their life span becomes shorter.
  • As every cloud operates differently, organisations need to have robust policy and access control protocols to protect their data and workloads. Organisations need to be able to uniformly apply these policies and access control across their entire cloud environment.

Is a multi-cloud strategy right for you?

Cloud computing adoption is well established in enterprises, SMEs, and start-ups. But how much cloud should a business adopt? How should workloads be deployed across public, private, and hybrid clouds? And if multiple cloud providers (public and/or private) are used, which ones should you choose, and how can they be managed to a business’s best advantage? These are all questions organisations need to consider when determining what cloud strategy they will deploy.

Why appoint Oreta

At Oreta, we believe that understanding shared responsibilities is the key to adopting a multi-cloud environment. When keeping up with the rapid changes in business requirements, the right strategy should be chosen from the start.

If you are looking at a cloud deployment, then reach out to us. Our focus is on meeting your requirements as an organisation. We are here to partner with you and make your business an ongoing success.

Choosing the right cloud platform when moving to Containers and Serverless?

Choosing the right cloud platform when moving to Containers and Serverless?

Is your organisation, like many others, assessing the benefits of containers, but are struggling to go beyond establishing a Proof of Concept (PoC) due to the platform you are on? 

Serverless computing, containers, and similar products such as Google Kubernetes, are influencing significant changes to the way organisations function. As the applications run quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another, organisations are investing in its potential to make them more agile and faster to market. They are experiencing an increase in visibility and portability towards application performance. 

However, other organisations struggle to move beyond their PoCs to deployment due to their skillset and the cloud platform they are using. 

Public cloud platforms, such as Google Cloud, have recognised this setback and are leading the way to make the underlying platforms easier to deploy and manage. However, these are only available to organisations that have migrated to the public cloud. 

For organisations that use the private cloud, there is no easy solution. Several have considered building their own container stack. However, complications exist. Organisations must have a unique set of skills and know-how to scale, secure and manage it properly.  

The Solution – Hybrid Cloud 

Many organisations that have experienced the added frustration of deploying containers from a private cloud platform are now transitioning to a hybrid environment – a solution that combines a private cloud with one or more public cloud services. Organisations that have transitioned to a hybrid platform can now manage their workloads from one location and benefit from the best of both worlds.

Organisations are experiencing greater flexibility, scalability, and control over their data. They can store sensitive data in the private cloud, while at the same time access computational resources of a managed public cloud. As a hybrid cloud only requires one plane of management, it is different and more straightforward than a multi-cloud strategy where organisations manage each cloud platform separately. 

Other benefits of Hybrid Cloud

Organisations can also benefit from:

  • Cost savings by extending their private resources to a public cloud only when necessary. Resources do not have to sit idle until they are needed.
  • Deploying a private network on-site to handle internal needs which then extends to the public cloud when computational resources exceed local availability.
  • Improvement in computing and storage power, whereby organisations are using less physical space which on-site servers often require.

Deploying Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid model provides the business with multiple options so that stakeholders can pick an environment that best suits their needs. Some examples include:

  • Load-balancing between on-prem and public cloud depending on where the access is coming from.
  • Develop in the public cloud to leverage cheaper resources and deploy production on-prem for compliance.
  • Create a seamless integration into legacy environments as you go through a digital transformation.

Is Hybrid Cloud right for you?

Hybrid cloud is an effective way to align IT priorities with business needs. 

When comparing which cloud platform to go with, organisations should not underestimate the flexibility, scalability, and responsiveness of a hybrid cloud. How much flexibility organisations need is dependent on its business goals, what compliance measures are in place, and how much is the business expected to evolve in the future.

Hybrid cloud is highly valuable for organisations with fluctuating workloads, large amounts of data that need processing regularly, and have large mixes of IT services and applications. 

It can also be very beneficial for organisations that experience seasonal fluctuations. Organisations can identify when they require additional resources and utilise them at appropriate times, which in turn helps organisations optimise their costs. 

Start your journey to hybrid cloud with Oreta.

Are you keen to shift to a hybrid cloud platform, improving the visibility and flexibility of your applications and workloads, but not quite sure how? Let us understand your business needs and pain points and tailor a solution that meets your business goals. We can work with you on all aspects of the transformation lifecycle from Architecture to Migration / Transformation or components of it. 

What’s important in a true hybrid cloud economy?

What’s important in a true hybrid cloud economy?

We’ll be taking the opportunity to shed some light on why Containers are the exciting new technology many enterprises see as their future at our upcoming Oreta x Google Cloud event in Melbourne on Tuesday 7th of May. You can read more information here.

But, in the meantime, here’s what we have to say about our experience with Containers, Kubernetes and Service Meshes and how it all fits together. Some common questions we’ll address at our event, in this post and in follow up posts include:

  • Are Virtual Machines and Containers the same thing?
  • What are Containers and why are they important?
  • Are Containers just another form of virtualisation?
  • Are Containers and Docker the same thing?
  • Kubernetes: What it is and what it is not?
  • How Kubernetes can help you deploy and scale your containers and applications as container adoption evolves.
  • How Microservices and Service Mesh (Istio) pair together for Cloud-Native apps.

Nearly every cloud vendor has plans to evolve to a Container ecosystem.

Google Cloud at their Next ‘19 event in San Francisco has dedicated 46 sessions solely on Hybrid Cloud, Kubernetes, Containers and Service Meshes. Nearly every hardware, software or cloud vendor including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, Red-Hat, Cisco, IBM etc. are heavily invested, have tailored offerings, or have a road map that includes plans on how their products will evolve to cater to the Container ecosystem.

If we look at the Cloud-Native Foundation (CNCF) landscape and follow the trends, Kubernetes, Containers and Service Meshes form the key ingredients for a true Hybrid Cloud solution. There are big bets and predictions that as the Container ecosystem matures, Kubernetes will be widely adopted as “the defacto abstraction layer” mainly due to its strengths in abstracting away the hardware making it easy to run applications (workloads) in a seamless and standardised way on any supported Public Cloud or on-prem infrastructure.

Why is all this important to you?

It’s no secret that infrastructure modernisation has entered the mainstream and the adoption of Containers and Kubernetes is on the rise for Cloud-Native applications. While most organisations have either heard about Cloud-Native and Containers or understand its importance, most struggle with how to get started.

VMware (founded in 1998) were slowing shaping the IT infrastructure landscape, and in 2004 their introduction of ESXi type1 hypervisor opened possibilities that were never imagined. VM virtualisation was in full steam, and at that time too, many dismissed this virtualisation trend as some fad – but we all know how that turned out.

In 2006, AWS on the back of this VM virtualisation (Xen and later KVM) technology changed the landscape of how infrastructure was going to be delivered and consumed and that shift gave rise to true cloud computing; there were many doubters of this trend too.

In 2013, Docker Inc popularised the concept of Containers by taking the lightweight Container runtime and packing it in a way that made the adoption of Containerisation easy. Even today there are many naysayers.

In 2014, Kubernetes was open sourced by Google Cloud, and this is one of the fastest growing open-source projects.

In 2018, Istio was formed to provide “traffic management, service identity and security, policy enforcement and telemetry services” out of the box delivering another level of abstraction. At Google Cloud Next’19 there have been many sessions that show how Istio’s adoption is increasing developer productivity and observability.

All these advancements in hardware abstraction have led to a paradigm shift in the way IT Infrastructure is delivered and consumed. These improvements in infrastructure delivery and modern forms of infrastructure abstraction, right from the early days of Cloud Computing (Infra as code) to Containers (Docker), Container Orchestration (Kubernetes), Service Meshes (Istio), have fundamentally changed the way organisations, including cloud vendors, build and operate systems.