How often do I hear from our clients the phrase “We’ll try extending our data center capacity in the next financial year? We just don’t have an unlimited IT budget!”  The words of many a frustrated IT manager, pressured by user demand and aging data center infrastructure.

The truth is, in today’s world, new software is released quicker than the demand can keep up with.  Regulations and company policy prohibit us from deploying full services in the cloud and demands that systems business critical sensitive data be kept in our own data centers.  Fair enough, but this doesn’t have to necessarily be the case.

What is a Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a virtual environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources on-premises and has others provided externally. For example, an organization might use Windows Azure for development or archived data but continue to maintain in-house storage and computing for operational organizational data. Multiple systems and consoles to manage the invested resources makes managing cloud computing challenging.

Hyper-v and Azure.  A Match Made in the Cloud.

Infrastructure built on Hyper-v and managed with System Center have come a long way.  System Center Virtual Machine Manager heavily invested in technologies providing seamless infrastructure management between Private, Public and service provider acquired data center resources.  Consider the following scenario:

As the IT Manager, you are expected to provide new and up to date services to your end users; development resources to your development team, and; have the ability to test new deployments before releasing to your end users.

With System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) you can leverage a Windows Azure subscription account within the VMM ecosystem to provide seamless integration between environments.  No longer do you need to worry about resource constraints on your local virtual infrastructure and who gets what.  For example, you could deploy all your required development resources on Windows Azure and keep your production testing environment on-premises.

If Windows Azure Public Cloud is not for you, you can also leverage Hosting Service Provider (HSP) integration, providing a seamless view of your available resources.

At the end of the day, keeping up with resource demand in your on-premises data center might not be as easy as adding new space and computing due to financial constraints.  Management might not want to take on big capital investments to provide over capacity until it is needed.  If this is the case, leverage an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider like Windows Azure or Hosting Service Providers to extend your on-premises data center into the cloud and only pay for the resources you require. This pushes resources to an operational expense model, which your management team might be more considerate of.