Windows Server 2016 Makes the Cloud Work for Your BusinessPosted by
The latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Server lets your business make the most of cloud computing while still keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
Cloud is more than a buzzword, it really is a game-changer for Australian businesses looking to make the most of technology to get a competitive edge. One of the cloud’s great strengths is that it lets small to medium-sized businesses punch above their weight, by granting them affordable access to enterprise-grade services, features and processing power which was previously only available to the big end of town.
Of course some businesses aren’t prepared to hand everything over to the cloud and prefer to keep at least some of their computing capabilities and data storage in-house – whether they’re concerned about reliability and uptime or security and data sovereignty.
Windows Server 2016 is designed for businesses which want to make the best of both worlds, thanks to its focus on cloud-based integration and technologies. It aims to help businesses make a strategic and controlled transition to the cloud, with “hybrid cloud” options that let you seamlessly integrate your in-house server room with cloud computing platforms like Microsoft’s Azure.
Hybrid computing basically puts the power of massive data centres at your disposal during peak demand, while letting you keep your in-house hardware but not gold-plating your server room with excess capacity which will mostly lie underutilised.
One advantage of the hybrid approach is “cloud bursting” – automatically leveraging the cloud to access extra grunt when your server room is pushed to its limits. You only pay for the cloud resources you use, but to be cost-effective it’s important to use cloud bursting strategically rather than relying on it constantly.
Cloud bursting ensures that your in-house servers don’t leave you in the lurch when you need them most, improving productivity and eliminating expensive downtime. It lets you cope with unexpected surges in demand, but you might also crunch the numbers and decide that cloud bursting is the answer to meeting some regular spikes in demand.
Windows Server 2016 also lets your business make the most of virtualisation, which is also a powerful tool if you’re looking to stand toe-to-toe with larger rivals while declaring war on downtime.
Virtualisation makes it easy to spin-up servers on demand, in-house or in the cloud, which is handy if your business occasionally needs a dev server to support product development and testing.
The power of virtualisation also makes it easy to seamlessly move your servers between your server room and the cloud, whether you’re taking advantage of the cloud’s extra computing power or enacting your business continuity plan to keep the lights on should a disaster strike your premises. Offsite replication keeps your in-house data safe and sound, but it also helps you switch across to the cloud quickly and with minimal data loss in the event of an emergency.
Should your in-house servers encounter trouble, virtualisation makes it easier to do a “bare metal restore” to get up and running quickly on new hardware. You don’t need to burn time reinstalling Windows and your applications, then reloading your data. Everything is restored exactly as it was, whether you’re dealing with physical or virtual machines.
The cloud certainly has its strengths, but the hybrid cloud model ensures you can make the most of the cloud without abandoning the advantages of an in-house server room.