FAQs - Hosted Self-Service Cloud
Frequently asked questions about iland's hosted self-service cloud offering, iland Cloud Services.
- What operating systems do you support?
- What editions of Microsoft Server do you support and what is the cost?
- What about when you provision an OS from a template - what software is included?
- Do you support load balancing, and what type?
- Do you support virtual firewalls?
- How do I import a VM? Can you support direct transfers of a prebuilt VMware VM?
- Can we upload our templates into the vCloud environment?
- Do you have predefined images we can deploy? Does it scale up/down easily?
- Is Microsoft Windows licensing included in the templates?
- We are serving up software on VMs for our customers. Can we have a separate bill for each customer?
- What is the minimum/maximum number of CPUs you can add to a VM?
- What is the minimum/maximum RAM you can have for a VM?
- What tasks can I manage in iland Cloud Services?
- What storage choices are offered?
- How do my systems administrators get access to troubleshoot and remediate virtual servers?
- What management tools will work with iland’s IaaS environment?
- Does your cloud environment use a secure multi-tenant architecture?
- Does your cloud infrastructure feature an N+1 configuration to tolerate any single equipment failure and ensure high availability?
- What is a Virtual Data Center (vDC)?
- What is a vApp?
- What is a vApp Template?
- What is a Catalog?
- What is the difference between an Organization and vApp network?
- Are there any limitations on the number of virtual datacenters I can have?
- Are there any limitations on the number of organizational networks I can have?
- Can you extend the lease on a VM?
- How long does it take to launch a server?
- Do I have the ability to deploy and manage my cloud resources?
- What pricing models do you have?
- Can you manage iland Cloud Services within the vSphere Client using vCloud Connector?
- Can servers and applications be deployed and managed programmatically with scripting?
- Where are iland Cloud Services hosted?
- Is it possible to permit or prevent access in iland Cloud Services to specific users/departments and still accurately track usage?
- Can we set up a virtual datacenter (vDC) on a per department or per team basis?
- What are the requirements for using vCloud Connector on the customer side?
- I want to better understand how iland can meet my software testing needs. I have a number of client server test configurations I use for testing purposes. Can I create a machine configuration and suspend it, then go back to it at a later date?
- What replication methods do you have?
- How do you make sure that users keep to corporate policy and standards when they want to deploy a VM?
- How much bandwidth can be provided?
- How do we access our infrastructure securely?
- Can I set any IP on the internal network?
- What is the maximum amount of storage available for a VM?
- How do you manage VMs?
- How do you see the console?
- Do my virtual resource pools run on customer-dedicated physical servers or on shared physical servers?
- Can iland’s dedicated physical servers (non-virtualized) and virtual servers be integrated on the same network?
- What optional services do you offer with iland Cloud Services that add value?
- Do you host and manage databases?
- Does iland support secure remote access to cloud infrastructure resources from multiple customer locations?
- With your solution, is it possible to upload our own .iso files and boot the servers on the cloud from such iso images?
- Do you have Microsoft licenses or do I need to bring my own?
- Do you offer multiple tiers of storage?
- What options do I have for connectivity?
- With respect to the PAYG cloud and when you talk about vCPU, is that single core or quad core?
- What are the factors that determine the price for iland cloud infrastructure resources?
- What underlying software is used to deliver iland Cloud Services?
- What underlying hardware is used to deliver iland Cloud Services?
- Who deploys and manages the cloud resources within a virtual datacenter, iland or the customer?
- How would an end user access their app in the cloud?
- Can I simultaneously leverage my local capacity as well as iland capacity?
We support many distributions of Linux as well as Windows 2003 or greater. A full list of the operating systems we support can be found in VMware's Guest OS Compatibility Guide.
iland Cloud Services uses Microsoft Data Center licensing within our infrastructure allowing customers to use Windows Server Standard, Enterprise, or Data Center editions operating systems at no extra cost.
The base OS is included for whatever server is being deployed e.g. basic Linux, Windows Server. However, all applications’ operating systems are the responsibility of the customer. iland can provide some application licensing at an additional cost.
Yes - iland fully supports incorporating either a physical or virtual load balancer into all of our cloud services. iland provides licensing and management of Citrix Netscaler load balancers or customers can provide their own.
iland Cloud Services use VMware's vShield Edge virtual firewall natively. Customers can incorporate physical or virtual third party firewalls into all iland's cloud services.
Customers using vCloud can go to the Catalogs tab where they have access to two upload tools: OVF import and ISO import. Both tools allow customers to self-service the upload of their data into their vCloud portal.
Another option for vCloud customers using vSphere in their local environment is vCloud Connector (a free download tool available from VMware). This is a plugin that is installed on the customer’s local vSphere and vCloud Director environments that allows for the exporting of VMware-based templates from the local environment to the cloud environment as well as management capabilities for both sites.
A third option for vCloud customers, particularly those with large data sets, is via a USB hard drive or NAS. iland ships the drive to the customer and they upload their VM data on the encrypted drive and ship it back to iland to import the data into our cloud.
You can also export your VMs, vApps and other data for use in your own or another VMware-based environment. This portability means that you are not locked into a proprietary cloud system or cloud service provider.
Yes – three options are available to upload your templates – either through the Catalogs tab in vCloud; or by using the vCloud Connector tool or by sending iland a USB/NAS containing your data.
For customers using the vCloud environment there is an entire portion of the environment dedicated to the management of templates in the Catalog tab. The Catalog tab contains two types of catalogs – Public and Private. The Public Catalog contains a list of pre-provisioned templates created by iland and made available to our customers for immediate consumption. The Private Catalog allows users to import their own templates or create new templates for their own use.
The process is highly scalable. Deploying new vApps or virtual guests in vCloud Director is as simple as selecting from either a Public template, a Private template or choosing to build a new machine by hand. Machines built by hand can be turned into templates for future deployments.
Customers have the ability to deploy Windows Standard or Enterprise from iland templates at no additional cost. iland provides application licensing e.g. SQL or Exchange for a monthly fee.
Yes. Within vCloud Director there are pools of resources called virtual datacenters (vDC) and as long as each customer is deployed in their own vDC, we can bill each one separately. This deployment type also gives your customers a payment choice – they can either have PAYG billing or Reservation pool billing.
If you are using a vSphere environment, your customers can still be billed separately but only on a Reservation pool basis.
With vSphere 5.0 the minimum number is 1 Ghz and the maximum number is 32 Ghz.
The minimum number is 0.5 Gb and the maximum number is 255 Gb.
In iland Cloud Services the provisioning, modification, and deletion of virtual servers, networking, or portal users is all managed through a web-portal interface. iland manages the underlying ESX hosts, storage, network backplane, provisioning of public IPs, and creation of resource pools.
iland uses auto-tiering SAN technology that will dynamically move a virtual machine to the correct tier of disk and correct raid configuration. With this system customers can simply specify the quantity of storage needed.
iland customers have full access to the OS and application layer of their servers and the ability to open consoles and remotely control the power status of the server. This means if a server OS or application hangs or causes issues a customer can remotely access and remediate the server from any location that has internet access. For issues related to the hypervisor layer iland has 24x7 monitoring and support available.
Customers have access to a vCloud Director web-portal which allows them to manage the provisioning, modification, or deletion of servers, networking, or portal users.
If customers have additional agent or network based monitoring or management tools they will be able to use these autonomously. Management or monitoring tools requiring host, SAN, or vCenter access are not available for customer use.
Yes, iland Cloud Services are built using a secure multi-tenant cloud infrastructure. iland offers both public and dedicated cloud options. Our public cloud offerings are designed with security at the forefront. All customers are provisioned with dedicated private VLANs, resource pools, and SAN volumes. iland Cloud Services customers have full ability to add, modify, or remove end user permissions to their web-portal for infrastructure access.
All iland cloud infrastructure has a minimum of N+1 configuration in place. Power, cooling, security, and generators are maintained and managed by SSAE16 certified facilities in the US and ISO 27001 facilities in EMEA. Core, edge, and switching network components are deployed in stacks or active/passive clusters. All ESXI hosts are provisioned in HA clusters with Enterprise Plus licensing and feature sets enabled. All storage uses multiple redundant controllers and data paths and utilizes RAID configurations such as RAID 50 and RAID 6 to ensure both performance and resiliency. View a diagram of iland's cloud infrastructure.
A vDC is a container of resources that can be billed via either a Pay as You Go or Reservation method. Anytime new workloads are added to an iland cloud services organization, a virtual datacenter must be selected from which the resources will be consumed. In addition to providing granular billing capabilities, vDCs act as silos of resources where one vDC can be running at 100% capacity but will not affect the resources of another.
A vApp consists of one or more Virtual Machines (VMs) that communicate over a network and use resources and services in a Virtual Data Center. vApps contain one or multiple Virtual Machines (all VMs used in a cloud must be assigned to a vApp). Typically, vApps are used to define all of the VM servers and other resources required to a host a single application or set of applications. Access to vApps can be restricted by organization administrators to specific users or groups within an environment.
A vApp template is a virtual machine image that is loaded with an operating system, applications, and data. Templates not only ensure that virtual machines are consistently configured across an entire organization, they also allow for rapid deployment of additional workloads. Access to vApp templates can be restricted by organization administrators to specific users or groups within an environment.
A Catalog is a container for vApp Templates and media files in an organization. Organization administrators and catalog authors can create catalogs in an organization. The contents of a Catalog can be shared with other users in the organization and across vDCs. Access to Catalogs can be restricted by organization administrators to specific users or groups within an environment.
Within vCloud Director there are two types of networks: Organization and vApp.
Organization Networks can span an entire organization allowing for connectivity between any VMs in an organization regardless of the vApp or virtual datacenter they are in.
vApp Networks are those contained exclusively within a vApp allowing for isolated connectivity between machines within the vApp.
You can have as many virtual datacenters as you need but iland needs to create them for you. You need to let us know whether you require PAYG or Reservation Pool and the name of the virtual datacenters you require and we will create them.
You can have as many organizational networks as you need but iland needs to create them for you. The reason is that we have a select pool of IPs we pull from that only iland has access to.
When you build a new vApp you can select a lease time for it or choose “no limit” for that vApp. If you choose a lease time you can renew the lease on the vApp after it expires by going to the My Cloud tab, selecting Expired vApps and choosing Renew on the expired vApp.
Customers who have invested time in custom templates or that want to use iland's public templates can right click a template and choose “Add to Cloud” and have a new copy available to them in a matter of minutes.
With iland Cloud Services you have complete control over your cloud resources. iland cloud services are built around VMware vCloud Director, which allows you to provision and manage your own virtual datacenters (vDCs), virtual application stacks (vApps), virtual machines (VMs) and other resources provided by iland using the iland Cloud Services portal with full administrative rights for your organization. Through role-based access control you have control over who has access to a wide range of capabilities whether you’re trying to streamline your operational processes or respond to the dynamic needs of your business.
iland offers two pricing models:
- Pay As You Go (PAYG) – a consumption based model where we meter the usage of CPU processing, memory, storage & network resources on an hourly basis and bill you monthly. You pay only for the resources you consume.
- Reservation Pool – a fixed price model where we reserve capacity based on your total virtual server requirements. For example, if you have ten VMs which require a total capacity of 20 GHz of processing, 40 GB RAM, and 1TB of storage, then that amount of resources would be pre-provisioned and shared by your VM’s in a virtual datacenter. iland creates a reservation pool so your organization can consume these resources as you wish. They are secured for your company only. Reservation pools are contracted with 1, 2 or 3 year terms with volume based discounts available.
You can use both pricing models in a single organization. For example you can use development and testing in a reservation pool and then use PAYG for additional temporary capacity if you need it.
The four main components in pricing are:
- CPU processing power
- GB of RAM
- GB or TB of storage
- Bandwidth per GB – charged on data transfer in and out of our network.
iland customers subscribing to a pool of resources have the ability to create the exact sized virtual guest within the pool instead of having to select a pre-defined instance. This allows our customers to leverage resources in a much more cost-effective and efficient manner.
The “Workloads” tab allows you to control the power status of a virtual guest in a local or remote environment as well as open a console. Additional capabilities include provisioning or deleting vApps or VMs.
The "Templates" tab allows for copying of a template from one VMware-based environment to another.
Yes, iland Cloud Services supports the public “vCloud” API, which is an easy-to-use, RESTful programming interface. Using the vCloud API you can perform almost any function programmatically from a script including starting and stopping vApps and VMs, deploying new vApps, configuring vApps and other functions. For additional details see the vCloud API documentation.
iland Cloud Services are currently hosted at our datacenters in Dallas and London. Both datacenters feature N+1 redundant power systems, N+1 circuits and carriers for tier-1 network providers, and financial-grade physical security features including biometric access control, video surveillance and an armed 24x7 security force. iland Cloud Services in the USA are available at SSAE16 certified datacenters and in the UK at ISO27001 certified datacenters.
Yes. iland Cloud Services customers can have multiple virtual datacenters (vDCs) deployed using a silo approach with respect to resources, permissions and billing. This means that multiple departments or customers can securely share resources while guaranteeing the performance of each vDC.
Yes. iland Cloud Services organization administrators can create roles and permission groups for individual users that prevent or present access to building, modifying or deleting virtual guest, network configurations or user settings. IT retains control but enables teams to access catalogs.
The customer needs vSphere 4.0 or above with vCenter Server Standard or above and approximately 2 GB RAM and 60 GB storage available for the deployment of vCloud Connector Server and node in their local environment. Using template migration within vCloud Connector requires sufficient bandwidth throughput and stability to support a customer’s migration needs.
iland Cloud Services has some ideal options for testing and development including Pay-as-you-Go resource options, customizable templates and catalogs, and runtime leases a wide variety of user roles and permissions for outside or internal developers, and isolated networking options. With respect to going back to a machine configuration you created but suspended – yes you can go back to the machine whenever you want to but you will pay for the storage it is using.
We have a number of replication methods including SAN, Host, Agent, and Application-based. An iland engineer can help you strategize which solution best fits your needs based on:
- Your Recovery Point Objective/Recovery Time Objective
- Your budget
- Your bandwidth
Within the Organization Administrator tab you have the ability to configure user roles and permissions. These roles range from full administration control down to read-only access, allowing you to configure users from your local environment to specific roles within iland Cloud Services. Additionally, users and their roles can be presented or prevented access to vApps, Catalogs or VMs within their organization.
A customer can burst up to 1 Gbps. Customers are billed on a per GB transfer basis.
The built-in virtual firewall (VMware vShield Edge) has an IPsec VPN configuration tool that can allow for tunnels to be created between iland cloud services and a remote datacenter/office. The tunnel uses IPsec standards such as 3DES or AES that most standard virtual or physical firewalls support.
All iland Cloud Services customers have access to complete dedicated and isolated firewall appliances and subnets. This means the customer can select any internal range for their networking needs.
vSphere 4.1 allows 2TB per vApp on a single machine. vSphere 5.0 allows up to 64TB per vApp.
The "My Cloud" tab in iland Cloud Services allows a user to control the power status of a machine, create, modify or delete virtual machines and their resources, and open a console to individual virtual guests. For more information check out our video on building and managing VMs.
Within iland Cloud Services a user can open a console to virtual guests by going to the "My Cloud" tab and clicking on the thumbnail of the server for which they want to open a console window.
Customer VMs and applications run on redundant shared physical server clusters on logically-isolated virtual datacenters (vDC) or resource pools for each customer. VMware provides security features that enable complete isolation between customer VMs and virtual networks. If required, iland can dedicate physical servers to individual customers, vDCs, or applications and guarantee that all customer applications reside only on physical servers dedicated to one customer.
Yes, iland can provision non-virtualized, dedicated physical servers or appliances, and cloud-based VM servers on the same network so if you have applications which require physical hardware they can be integrated into the iland cloud datacenter.
iland offers a range of optional, added-value services to complement our core cloud offerings:
- Server /Application Monitoring and Alerting: we leverage a powerful software toolset to monitor key operating system, database, and application parameters to ensure high availability and performance of servers, services, and applications. The software also provides alerting.
- Physical Firewall Services: for protection of your hosting environment we offer both self-managed and iland-managed network firewall services.
- Server Load Balancing: to distribute application load and for redundancy, we offer a fully-managed, fully-customizable Server Load Balancing Service.
- Data Protection: to protect your valuable data, our data protection service can provide secure backup of your VMware Virtual machine data. We also offer both disk based and off-site backup and archival options.
- Threat Management Service (TMS): the TMS option provides regular, proactive, network-based vulnerability scanning and intrusion-detection services with 24x7 incident response to help secure your environment against network-based threats. A secure, web-based portal provides customers with secure access to threat dashboards and reports.
- Log Management Service: Log Manager is a 24x7 managed service that offers monitoring and alerts based on log files within your virtual guests.
iland supports many types of relational databases including SQL and Oracle but we leave it up to the customer to manage their own databases. For customers needing database licensing, iland can provide Microsoft SQL licensing at a monthly cost. We optimize the underlying virtual infrastructure for customers to run the database servers within our cloud. Customers are responsible for managing their operating systems and applications including SQL/Oracle.
Yes. Many iland customers have a distributed workforce and need a centralized location for secure and reliable access to their data and applications. iland offers a number of access options including site-to-site VPN, client/SSL VPN or WAN-based access and geographically diverse locations to ensure that remote workers have the performance and connectivity they need.
Yes, a customer can utilize an .iso file by mounting it to an existing or new VM. This enables you to boot from or install an OS replication from.
In iland Cloud Services, customers can use the .iso upload tool to transfer .iso’s from their local storage into the cloud environment.
The vCloud platform is fully licensed up to Windows Datacenter Edition which means you don't need Windows licensing. You will need Exchange/SQL/Terminal Server licensing if you are going to run those. We can supply those on a monthly subscription model.
The SAN infrastructure dynamically allocates the appropriate tier of disk to any given workload based on the IOP profile of the workload. This provides customers with the appropriate tier of storage automatically to ensure that each application performs optimally.
All iland cloud datacenters have burst ability for VMs of up to 1 GB per second. Additional connectivity options include the ability for a customer to use point-to-point, MPLS or other direct circuit options. iland cloud datacenters are carrier neutral and offer multiple carrier options for customers.
Each vCPU assigned to a virtual guest will appear in the OS as a single core.
With iland Cloud Services, customers have two distinct billing models to choose from. Both models use the same factors when determining the cost. These factors include:
- CPU (GHz)
- RAM (GB)
- Disk space (GB)
- Bandwidth (GB transfer)
- Monitoring, management and licensing are optional. Microsoft OS licenses are included.
The two pricing/billing models are:
- PAYG – consumption-based billing where customers pay a fixed price per billable unit and the monthly expense varies based on usage.
- Reservation Pool – customers subscribe to a fixed quantity of resources and receive a fixed monthly bill for them. Volume and term-based discounts are available in the reservation pool model only.
Customers can configure internal networking to allow for the simultaneous use of both models.
- VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus
- VMware vCloud Director
- VMware vShield Edge
- VMware vCloud Connector
VMware is the market leader in enterprise-class virtualization technology with a greater than 84% market share.
iland uses enterprise-class blade servers, storage systems and networking hardware from major manufacturers. The iland Cloud Services hardware infrastructure is architected for zero-point-of-failure and a high level of redundancy and performance. The network is based on a unified 10Gbps fabric from end to end. Additional architectural details can be provided by your iland Cloud Services Solutions team.
iland provisions the resource pools and virtual networks within the customer’s organization. However the customer has access to the iland Cloud Services interface and the ability to create, modify, and delete virtual machines, users, and networking within their environment. This model is ideal for customers looking to outsource their IT infrastructure but keep control and management of their cloud environment.
End users can have two types of access to virtual resources within iland Cloud Services. The first is through the web portal allowing the end user to have console access. This option is most common for management and patching capabilities. The second is to provide WAN-based or private network connectivity by opening up specific ports or protocols within the vShield Edge virtual firewall which is ideal for public access needs.
Yes – iland gives you the ability to connect your local environment into iland cloud infrastructure using a number of secure methods including site-to-site VPN, MPLS, Point-to-Point, or with co-located network equipment.