Data center extension is a technique that involves integrating an on-premises data center with a public cloud infrastructure in order to leverage the public cloud’s elasticity and scalability. In other words, it’s an application of a hybrid cloud infrastructure that allows a business to seamlessly migrate virtual machines and workloads in and out of the cloud.
Some common use cases for data center extension include:
Data center extension works by establishing connectivity between the on-premises data center and the cloud environment, either through the Internet, through a VPN or through a private connection option such as AWS Direct Connect. This allows seamless integration between the data center and the cloud, allowing IT to provision workloads to either the data center or the cloud, or to spin up extra instances of an application in the cloud at times when there is increased traffic (a practice known as “bursting” to the cloud).
Because data center extension leverages public cloud architectures, it offers many of the same benefits as cloud itself, including:
However, data center extension does have one potential disadvantage: Depending on the vendor you choose, it can be difficult to implement. This can be a result of the following factors:
By performing a data center extension assessment to carefully consider your needs and take your current infrastructure into account, you can avoid these difficulties and effectively integrate your data center with a cloud-based data center extension.
Before undertaking a data center extension, it’s important to think about your needs (such as connectivity, capacity and cost) and your goals for the data center extension. Consider whether you need to perform live migration of workloads into and out of the cloud, for example, and whether you need to migrate workloads without changing their IP addresses. Why are you planning to extend your data center, and what do you hope to achieve by doing so?
Once you’ve outlined your needs and goals, you can a choose a service that meets those needs. It’s also a good idea to use a service that’s based on the same underlying technology that you use in your on-premises data center, so that your IT team is already familiar with the technology.
Technically, the cloud can’t replace data centers completely. After all, the cloud itself still runs on physical data centers somewhere. But when most people say “data center,” they’re referring to an on-premises data center, and by this definition, there is indeed a strong trend toward increasing adoption of cloud infrastructure. In one survey, 73 percent of respondents reported that the cloud would be their primary deployment venue for a majority of workloads in 2020. However, security and compliance considerations make it unlikely that the cloud will ever completely replace the on-premises data center. For organizations that have strict compliance requirements or want to make the most of their existing investments in their data center infrastructure, leveraging the cloud as a data center extension offers the flexibility of cloud with the security and control of an on-premises data center.
Since cloud computing runs on data centers, the cloud itself does need data centers. But an organization running its workloads on a public cloud doesn’t need to build and maintain its own data center—it can simply use the offsite data centers provided by the cloud provider. However, some organizations may still prefer to maintain an on-premises component to their hybrid cloud architecture. This could include organizations that have already invested in an on-premises data center, that have special security or compliance requirements, or that simply prefer the control and customization that a data center provides.
There are many costs involved in setting up and maintaining an on-premises data center. Some of the biggest expenses include:
These costs can be reduced or minimized by balancing use of an on-premises data center with public cloud services.
The data center is evolving, and new trends and technologies are allowing businesses to take advantage of innovative architectures and techniques, including data center extension. Here are three of the biggest trends affecting how businesses use their data centers:
Data Center Migration
Data Center Operations
Data Center Networking
Data Center Security
Data Center Solutions