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Public cloud integration is still relatively new for hyper-converged systems. The technology promises to deliver a number of different benefits, but may pose some challenges as well.
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The benefits of public cloud integration with a hyper-converged system will obviously vary depending on the ways in which the technology is implemented. For instance, a vendor might choose to use cloud integration as a way of expanding storage. In this type of situation, cloud storage might be treated as another storage tier along with other tiers such as high-speed or commodity storage. The integration is achieved in such a way that provisioning cloud storage blends seamlessly with local storage provisioning.
Other hyper-converged vendors are leveraging cloud storage integration to provide their customers with more than just expanded storage offerings. Because hyper-converged systems are designed for virtualization, such a system might give administrators the ability to use public clouds for VM failover.
In essence, the public cloud can be treated as an extension to the hyper-converged system’s own hardware resources. This will give administrators a tremendous degree of flexibility. Even so, cloud integration is not without its challenges.
One challenge administrators have to cope with is the learning curve. Even though the basic concept of cloud storage integration seems simple enough, administrators may have to do some work around federated identity management, directory synchronization, and IP address management prior to being able to seamlessly use public cloud resources. The actual tasks that will have to be performed will vary depending on which vendor’s product is being used and which public cloud is being used.
Another challenge facing administrators is cost. Public clouds have a reputation for being the cheap option, but it's possible to rack up a hefty bill from your service provider. Administrators will have to learn how to predict cloud-based resource consumption to avoid sticker shock and severely impacting razor-thin IT budgets.
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