Cloud technology decisions are rarely as straightforward as 'all private' or 'all public'. A hybrid cloud approach gives you the benefits of both approaches, and Windows Server 2012 offers a host of tools to make shifting into the hybrid cloud easier and more productive.
In a Windows Server 2012 environment, combining your own virtualised server environments with Windows Azure is easy. That makes it easy to scale up for periods of peak demand without needing an entirely separate infrastructure. You can easily store data within your own private cloud but utilise Azure for burst capacity with the same application. "Connect both and you have a highly reliable, highly scalable system," said Microsoft Australia tech evangelist Rocky Heckman.
Crucially, you can use the same tools to manage both, and deliver applications which rely on both private and public infrastructure. The same System Center 2012 software used to manage your internal servers can also address Azure instances.
That flexibility is also reflected in the licensing approach for System Center 2012. Licensing is on a per-endpoint basis, with no extra fees payable for the management servers used to control those endpoints. That means that licensing for a hybrid cloud model won't cost extra compared to a purely private model.
Shifting to a hybrid model can also bring security benefits. "One of the things we see is by moving your Internet-facing workloads into the cloud, and then connect through a hybrid app, that increases your security positioning, by ensuring you're not directly exposing your internal systems to general access," Herman said. "They all touch service endpoints in Azure — they never touch your network directly. By doing that, you've reduced your attack surface."