As IT departments look to move beyond traditional virtualization into cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms, they have a lot to consider. There are many types of organizations with different IT needs and it is important to determine whether those needs align more cloud or HCI. Before I dig into the differences, let me go over the similarities.
Both cloud and HCI tend to offer a similar user experience highlighted by ease of use and simplicity. One of the key features of both is simplifying the creation of VMs by automatically managing the pools of resources. With cloud, the infrastructure is all but transparent as the actual physical host where the VM is running is far removed from the user. With live migration capabilities and auto provisioning of resources, HCI can provide nearly the same experience.
As for storage, software defined storage pooling has made storage management practically as transparent in HCI as it is in cloud. In many ways, HCI is nearly a private cloud, but without the complexity of traditional underlying virtualization architecture, HCI makes infrastructure management turnkey and lets administrators focus on the workloads and applications, just like the cloud, but keeps everything on prem and not managed by a third party.
Still, there are definite differences between cloud and HCI so let’s get to those. I like to approach these with a series of questions to help guide between cloud and on prem HCI.
Is your business seasonal?
Do you already have IT staff?
Do you need to meet regulatory compliance on data?
Do you favor Capex or Opex?
Can you rely on your internet connection?
Do you trust third party services?
Let me condense these into a little cheat sheet for you.
|Is your business seasonal?||Yes||No|
|Do you have IT staff?||No||Yes|
|Do you need to meet regulatory compliance on data?||No||Yes|
|Do you favor Capex or Opex?||Opex||Capex/Opex|
|Can you rely on your internet connection?||Yes||No|
|Do you trust third party services?||Yes||No|
One last consideration that I don’t like to put into the question category is the ability to escape the cloud if it doesn’t work out. Why don’t I like to make it a question? Maybe I just haven’t found the right way to ask it without making cloud sound like some kind of death trap for your data, and I’m not trying to throw cloud under the bus here. Cloud is a good solution where it fits. That being said, it is still a valid consideration.
Most cloud providers have great onboarding services to get your data to the cloud more efficiently but they don’t have any equivalent to move you off. It is not in their best interest. Dragging all of your data back out of the cloud over your internet connection is not a project anyone would look forward to. If all of your critical data resides in the cloud, it might take a while to get it back on prem. With HCI it is already on prem so you can do whatever you like with it at local network speeds.
I hope that helps those who have been considering a choice between cloud and HCI for their IT infrastructure. Until next time.
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