Argon Systems: Azure Hybrid Cloud Solutions And Infrastructure With A Long History

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Argon Systems are experts in Azure hybrid cloud solutions and infrastructure with a long history of working with Microsoft and cloud technologies. Argon Systems has designed cloud building blocks based on the Windows Server 2016 platform to integrate your private and public resources. Maximize your investment, lower operating costs and increase flexibility with solutions from Argon Systems. To learn more about the Argon Systems, see our short interview with Robert Keith:

Robert Keith

Q: What is the history behind Argon Systems? Why did you start this company?

A: The industry is moving to a software defined datacenter built with industry standard hardware. Datacenter hardware is becoming simplified while software is in control, and more complex. This created a gap we wanted to fill with automation and services. Most of all Microsoft told us we really needed to go after this! Argon Systems evolved out of a hardware manufacturing and logistics company, Iron Networks.

Argon Systems became focused on cloud and software-based services rather than the hardware. We have been building cloud services for Microsoft since 2008. This began with security appliances for the datacenter. Then it expanded to VPN gateways, and further still to networking solutions such as multi-tenet systems. Microsoft was working on an initiative known as the Microsoft Modular Datacenter initiative. We got involved with this in 2010 building hardware solutions. This was the foundation that became Azure Stack. Ultimately this has become known as the cloud.

Q: What is “cloud”? What is the difference between public and private cloud?

A: Cloud is utility computing where users can deploy and provision services for themselves without requiring direct involvement from IT. Users can instantiate resources without having to touch or mange hardware, capacity, and resources. This frees them from technology and lets them focus on business problems.

A private cloud is technically the same. A hosting service manages it for their customers. They purchase the hardware and design their infrastructure to host services. In a public cloud the infrastructure will generally be shared with other customers.

The key difference with a private cloud is the physical assets are owned and managed by the organization for its own purpose. In the simplest terms, a private cloud is one you own and control for your own use. Basically, private and public is the difference between owning and renting. The financial reasons for a private cloud are very attractive, and this market poised for tremendous growth.

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Q: Why would you choose a private cloud?

A: There are a few reasons for a private cloud. The organization can design their datacenter to best suit their own needs. You want to guarantee the reliability and availability of resources. Performance issues may require a private cloud. This is true with big data. Rather than transferring massive amounts over the internet, it needs to be local for instant access.

In some cases, corporate policies may require they secure their data, restricting it to identified employees. In a public cloud, often the IT staff at the hosting services can access your private data. Then there were security issues with the staff at a public cloud having access your private data. Most of those security risks have been resolved but there is always still a risk. Governments will not put their data in to a public cloud, period.

Q: We hear a lot about hybrid cloud. What is it?

A: Hybrid cloud is the integration, at least by identity management, of both public and private cloud resources. For example, Office 365 is in the public cloud while your corporate data systems can be on a private cloud. To the user these two services are integrated into a seamless experience.

Hybrid offers “cloud bursting” where needed resources are offloaded temporarily to a public cloud. An example of this is a temporary use of high computing resources needed to complete a large computational task. Hybrid clouds make this seamless and available on-demand.

Hybrid has other performance benefits of moving data to the edge of a distributed network. In this case compute and storage resources can run on shared hardware, putting those resources closer to the user and increasing performance. A hybrid cloud makes this a unified experience for both IT and users.

Q: What effect will Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and Windows Server 2016 have on cloud?

A: Generally speaking, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is a technology developed for private cloud. It greatly simplifies the design, deployment, and management of the datacenter. This brings down the cost of having a private cloud, which is the opportunity for Argon Systems.

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter was built and optimized for HCI. It makes the enterprise class datacenter available to the rest of the market. One of the attractive advantages with Windows Server 2016 is how you can avoid getting locked into vendor specific systems, and the complexities of integrating and managing disparate systems from multiple vendors. Microsoft has created a technology that integrates the entire technology stack in the datacenter into a single-vendor solution.

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Q: We’ve been hearing about Rack Scale Design. Can you describe that for our readers?

A: Rack Scale Design (RSD) greatly simplifies the design, deployment, and management of the datacenter. It consolidates the entire rack of systems (networking, storage, compute, power) into a single design, more like an appliance. Historically each of the separate components have been managed individually. RSD is the expansion of the HCI movement, where the sub-systems within a rack are consolidated into single integrated systems. This greatly simplifies the management of the datacenter, while optimizing performance and lowering costs.

RSD consolidates all the resources into a single console where you can deploy, manage, and monitor all the components. Basically, RSD turns a rack of equipment into a single device. Pretty cool!

Q: What are the challenges for your customers and how does Argon Systems solve them?

A: We heard from a lot of customers how they needed a private cloud but it’s just too complicated, too expensive, and has too many moving parts. Argon Systems has gone through the templates, certifications and built blueprints for scalable clouds. Based on our expertise and experience we’ve designed high performance solutions at affordable prices. Customers can have all the advantages of renting from a public cloud, but dedicated to their own use.

Q: What can we expect in the next few years related to cloud?

A: In hardware, we are seeing ever increasing innovation and performance such as memory-based and network-based storage built with commodity hardware. HCI is going further, from specialized storage servers to simple compute servers with high-performance storage coming directly off the net.

We see the software going from complex systems, such as VMware and multiple vendor components, migrating to Windows Server 2016 with Docker containers and Kubernetes. Both SW and HW are evolving into a simpler to manage and more consolidated environment. The future of the datacenter will be a more holistic process.

Machine learning will predict failures before they happen. Hardware costs will continue to decrease, but software complexities will increase. Argon Systems’ mission is to support customers with those complexities.