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Cloud Elasticity: Continuous Access to the Resources You Need

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Workers transitioning from being in an office to working from home is causing many companies to take a hard look at the digital tools they use.

The current climate of having workers transitioning from being in an office to working from home is causing many companies to take a hard look at the digital tools they use. With the majority of employees working remotely, how can IT departments ensure business continuity and recover data if necessary? Virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) can handle many of these challenges, but deployment models of VDI may range, so an organization should look into other deployment options to get the best fit for their needs.

Other options include hybrid and multi-cloud VDI and apps, which can also play an important role for IT to deliver on business continuity, disaster recovery, and remote work use cases, as part of a comprehensive digital workspace strategy. Leveraging cloud elasticity within a company’s cloud of choice is one way to quickly scale and automate virtual desktop and app delivery without needing a full VDI solution.

Elasticity, Defined

Cloud elasticity can refer to several possible solutions depending on purpose and intent. Generally, cloud elasticity can be defined as how a system can adapt to workload changes and demand by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning resources.(1)

Elasticity is critical for ensuring that companies have just the right amount of computing resources they need at any given time. If their resources are overprovisioned, then they’re paying for services they don't need. On the other hand, if they have an underprivisioned amount of resources, then their employees can’t complete their tasks. Having exactly the right amount of available resources is essential — and it should happen automatically. The best cloud computing programs have elasticity built in, so resources are provisioned without employees noticing. Most employees don’t want to know the fine details about how their programs work — they just want them to work.

Organizations that don’t currently have a VDI solution can take advantage of the flexibility offered by cloud elasticity. With a solution that includes cloud elasticity, companies can deliver virtual desktops and apps through their preferred cloud of choice. This is a great solution for companies that don’t need full VDI, but still need to deliver a few targeted virtual desktops.

Cloud Elasticity as Part of an Overall Digital Strategy

Over the next 12 months, 57 percent of IT professionals say a priority at their organization is to give remote workers the tools they need to be efficient. Further, 50 percent of IT professionals plan to better protect remote workers from cybersecurity and privacy risks, according to recent research.(2) IT departments need to ensure the distributed workforce access to mission critical applications as needed.

Having a current digital strategy then becomes essential in this environment. Companies without a plan in place — or those who haven’t updated their digital strategy from last year — will find themselves in trouble trying to reconcile workforce policies against the new normal of a mostly remote workforce. Cloud elasticity supports the digital strategy by giving employees immediate access to programs and applications when they need them most.

One of the key features of cloud elasticity is its ability to scale horizontally. Because the service expands and contracts with your demand, you are never paying for more resources than you need or use.

Advantages of Cloud Elasticity Over Could Scalability

Elasticity and scalability are often misunderstood as interchangeable terms in cloud computing. However, scalability specifically refers to fundamentally changing the system by adding or removing applications within the infrastructure. On the other hand, elasticity focuses on matching available resources with demand, without changing the infrastructure.(3)

Organizations that are new to cloud computing don’t necessarily need to scale their efforts into something larger than they need. Rather, they need exactly the right computing power to match their requirements at any given time.

Learning Opportunities

One industry where the need for cloud elasticity over scalability is more apparent is education. With schools moving to virtual classrooms for the immediate future — but not permanently — schools need the advantages offered by cloud elasticity to provision the resources they have.(4) However, they don’t necessarily need to scale their efforts into something larger.

Case Study: The Netherlands Cancer Institute

The Netherlands Cancer Institute needs huge amounts of computing power to work with the datasets they need to research cancer cells. The IT department is a crucial department in making sure researchers have the data they need to do their work. The Institute partnered with VMWare to allow researchers to work during the day, while computers processed the data overnight, making it ready for the next day. By trusting data analysis to the machines, the Cancer Institute can lead to possibly faster patient diagnostics.

Conclusion

Cloud elasticity is another option for companies that want to leverage cloud and other deployment models without committing to a full on-premises model. With employees all over the world shifting to mostly working remote, companies need to take a good look at their digital strategy and refresh if necessary. In doing so, they’ll ensure that their plans for business continuity, data recovery and the overall digital experience are current and responsive to today’s needs.

Learn more about how VMWare delivers on-demand cloud elasticity at vmware.com.

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