Thursday, February 21, 2013
There is an immutable dilemma occurring at countless datacenters around the world: with companies growing, business demands changing, and product development increasing companies are asking themselves - should we invest in additional resource capacity or consider cloud usage for the additional demand placed on our systems?
The question is often not as straightforward as it may seem due to the many complexities attached to both options. Adding additional resource capacity within an existing datacenter footprint usually entails capital expenditure on physical components such as servers, networking equipment, and storage, as well as the in-house or consulting expertise necessary to incorporate and manage the additional components. This is, of course, if you have available cabinet and power capacity for the new gear in the first place. The end result is additional resources that will be utilized by your company in a similar manner to your original deployment: secure, low latency, private to your company. Of course the flip side is you also now have additional hardware components to manage, maintain, and depreciate as the two eventually become end of life.
Is a traditional public cloud any better?
Public clouds are known for “elasticity” and consumption based resources. And many public cloud vendors are known for proprietary front-ends or custom hypervisor layers that make migration to and from their infrastructure a complex process that requires multiple steps or rebuilding. Often a company’s IT team must re-learn the offsite hypervisor management process and treat the cloud resources as a separate entity. The end result is additional resource capacity with little to no CAPEX but with the compromise of introducing new management tools, complexity of remote access, and “disjointed” usage of the combined infrastructures.
iland has been providing cloud infrastructure for over 5 years from 7 global datacenters. During that time we’ve worked with a wide variety of customers ranging from Fortune 100 to SMBs and have found that the vast majority of customers are looking for the same thing from cloud resources: integration. Companies looking at cloud resources are not looking to re-learn technology, they’re not looking to stitch together networks and re-train management and end users on how to utilize resources, and they’re certainly not looking to throw away investment and knowledge of local VMware configuration and utilization to work within a non-compatible environment. Our findings have led us to embrace the concept of “Hybrid Clouds” in which a customer has the ability to expand their local VMware infrastructure to a remote iland Cloud Services facility and access and manage those resources with the tools and methods they were already using in-house (this can include their existing vCenter Server with vSphere Client plug ins).
iland recently launched iland CloudConnect, which is another step towards our goal of unified integration. iland CloudConnect offers companies using datacenter space within top tier providers such as TeleCityGroup and others, to extend layer 2 connectivity from their local switching infrastructure to iland Cloud Services. iland CloudConnect is an incredible tool for providing super-low latency access to cloud resources with the security and convenience of maintaining the same internal IP subnet across both sites. And with a choice of commit speeds you can select the bandwidth that you need rather than being forced into a speed minimum that is often much more than required. VMware-based virtual machines can be copied and managed in iland Cloud Services using the customer’s existing vSphere client (via vCloud Connector) and machines have full layer 2 visibility between both sites for normal usage. In other words you can extend the investment you’ve already made in your VMware environment to access a secure enterprise cloud rather than replacing it with a completely new system.
You have many decisions to make when considering internal expansion and cloud consumption. iland Cloud Infrastructure with iland CloudConnect provides a high level of integration between your local VMware resources and our enterprise infrastructure. By allowing for native VMware management and access across existing network segments your team can use cloud resources as they are meant to be used: additional functionality and capacity without the pains of re-learning hypervisor technology or incurring CAPEX expenditure.
Learn more about iland CloudConnect in TelecityGroup datacenters.
Monday, February 11, 2013
These days most organizations with any form of IT investment are aware of or already using cloud resources. But for companies with a significant existing IT infrastructure, the notion of dropping their current investment and moving everything to the cloud is usually not realistic. Fortunately hybrid cloud options exist to fill in the gap between purely internal private clouds and outsourcing all IT to a public cloud. In this post we define public, private, and hybrid models and the potential benefits of each to your organization.
The concept of a “Public Cloud” usually involves some form of elastic/subscription based resource pools in a hosting provider datacenter that utilizes multi-tenancy. Resources include CPU, RAM, storage and bandwidth in a pool allocated for customer use. The term public cloud doesn’t mean less security, (iland public cloud offerings are within SSAE16/ISO27001 facilities and deployed with internal security guidelines that meet or exceed most customers’ internal security requirements), but instead refers to multi-tenancy. This means that customers can benefit cost-wise by utilizing the economies of scale of a larger infrastructure and enjoy the scalability of on-demand expansion or resized resource pools without having to order additional physical resources. The trade off? Public clouds often have reduced permissions for customers. This usually means not having direct ESXi/vCenter access, or direct access to the SAN manager. Fortunately technologies like VMware vCloud Director have abstracted many of these permissions and brought public cloud offerings even closer to private cloud permissions. The bottom line: public clouds are ideal for scalable and dynamic environments and have many if not all of the security features of a private model. The only drawback may be some reduced permissions or visibility due to their multi-tenant nature (although many advances in VMware products have improved this).
“Private Cloud” is normally used to describe a VMware deployment in which the hardware and software of the environment is used and managed by a single entity. Private cloud deployments allow for an organization to have full visibility to vCenter and ESXi hosts for greater control and utilization of technologies that require a high level of permissions. With these permissions and isolation typically come added costs. Users no longer benefit from native High Availability clustering or on-demand scalability without adding additional hardware. This can lead to higher overall costs and add complexity to rapid expansion.
So what’s a company to do? The concept of a “hybrid cloud” is meant to bridge the gap between high control, high cost “private cloud” and highly scalable, flexible, low cost “public cloud”. The concept revolves heavily around connectivity and data portability. Simply put, a “hybrid cloud” is the simultaneous usage of public and private cloud models to accomplish your organization’s goals. The use cases are numerous: resource burst-ability for seasonal demand, development and testing on a uniform platform without consuming local resources, disaster recovery, and of course excess capacity to make better use of or free up local consumption.
VMware has a key tool for “hybrid cloud” use called “vCloud Connector”. vCloud Connector is a free plugin that allows the management of public and private clouds within the vSphere Client. The tool offers users the ability to manage the console view, power status, and more from a “workloads” tab, and offers the ability to copy virtual machine templates to and from a remote public cloud offering. This level of control and flexibility makes the utilization of remote resources an intuitive experience.
For the majority of organizations today, the optimum solution for their many and varied use cases is hybrid cloud. However, because no two organizations are alike the extent of their use of public, private and hybrid clouds can differ substantially and it is up to each organization to determine the cloud model that is most appropriate for their business objectives and strategies.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Flexibility and agility—they’re the two attributes of a virtual environment on the VMware® platform that keep businesses functioning at peak capacity. If you’re already using VMware you’ll be pleased to know that iland offers a VMware hybrid cloud, making it possible for you to move your data into the cloud and manage it from the same VMware platform you’re already using. You might be wondering why anyone would want to transition data to a new cloud environment, other than for the simple management of virtual environments. Well, instead of having to buy expensive hardware, licensing, and storage to account for anticipated business growth, you can quickly spin up virtual machines whenever you need them.
Think about it. Overprovisioning for seasonal demands, special projects and even testing and development has slowed down business growth for years. With VMware-based, vCloud Powered services, the time and money you would have spent setting up new servers, SANs, licensing, cooling equipment, etc. could be used for future innovation or other initiatives that could propel your business forward. Better still, you can access all your resources from one, unified platform.
With iland Cloud Services, you can leverage the same security and performance you’ve been using versus having to convert your machines to a proprietary public cloud platform. These attributes are essential to a reliable disaster recovery solution—additionally customers can subscribe to backup offerings, making the recovery from an unplanned disaster easier and more efficient.
With a hybrid cloud, you stay in complete control while enabling a self-service provisioning model for end users. You can set up administrative permissions for others within your organization or integrate your directory services and if you house a portion of your data in the iland cloud, you’ll have greater control over your security and control the properties of the environment locally.
In a nutshell, IT departments and solution providers who are utilizing VMware can feel secure about extending their virtual environments into the cloud with vCloud hosting provider iland, maximizing their existing investments, and even extend their brand by white labeling the iland cloud.
Flexibility and agility. They’re the two attributes essential to a streamlined, cost-conscious, and progressive business.