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Microsoft Azure provides hybrid solutions for storage, backup/recovery and VM scenarios
Cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure permit the use of data center infrastructures – servers, storage and networks – as services. What’s more, they also create and execute user-defined applications as services. But it doesn’t always have to be ‘the full cloud’. It’s all about hybrid infrastructure here. So instead of making the tough decision between a dedicated data center (in other words, a private cloud) and external hosting (public cloud), it is more important to take a close look at actual requirements. After all, both varieties can provide a sensible solution in many cases. In the following, our expert Eric Berg will present hybrid solutions for storage, backup/recovery and VM scenarios based on Microsoft Azure. Or click here for a detailed round-up of the Microsoft service.
Hybrid storage solutions based on Microsoft Azure
A closer look at the issue of storage will quickly reveal that only a fraction of the data placed in a storage facility is actually used, although there are substantial costs involved in the operation of a storage system. In comparison, cloud storage is significantly cheaper. All the same, it is equally true that not all kinds of data (whether used or unused) are suitable candidates for cloud storage.
It is precisely in these cases that hybrid solutions prove particularly effective. Almost all vendors now offer suitable services. Hybrid solutions allow companies to preserve local storage of important and frequently used data that are worthy of protection, while migrating data classified as less critical and that have not been used for some time to an inexpensive cloud solution.
Hybrid backup and recovery solutions
Hybrid concepts can also prove particularly convincing in the areas of backup for high availability solutions. Here, the companies maintain a local facility to keep current backups, while long-term backups are migrated to scalable storage systems in the cloud.
A hybrid approach is also sensible to accommodate availability solutions. For instance, no one would relocate an SQL server to the cloud on its own, even if this might appear sensible for reasons of scalability. However, an SQL server provided in the cloud could act as part of an always-on availability solution. In this way, availability is made independent of the in-house data center, allowing you to respond flexibly to changes in requirements.
Hybrid approach for 'virtual machines (VMs)'
Hybrid solutions also provide real value added in the area of virtual machines. Cloud operated systems can effectively absorb licenses and resources for peak usage scenarios currently accommodated in dedicated data center solutions. These cloud systems only incur costs when they are actually used. Typical use scenarios would include websites and shops that experience seasonal variations in traffic.
It is not always sensible to 'buy the farm' and migrate all the company data to the cloud. Microsoft Azure and other vendors provide practicable solutions for hybrid storage, backup/recovery and VM scenarios.
Microsoft MVP, independent Azure expert, Guest author
Microsoft MVP for Microsoft Azure and Cloud & Datacenter Management