Tag Archives: cloud computing

Is Hyperconvergence the Private Cloud You Need?

If you are an IT professional, you are most likely familiar with at least the term “hyperconvergence” or “hyperconverged infrastructure”. You are also undoubtedly aware of cloud technology and some of the options for public, private, and hybrid cloud.  Still, this discussion merits a brief review of private cloud before delving into how hyperconvergence fits into the picture.

What is a Private Cloud?

The basic premise behind cloud technology is an abstraction of the management of VMs from the underlying hardware infrastructure. In a public cloud, the infrastructure is owned and hosted by someone else, making it completely transparent. In a private cloud, you own the infrastructure and still need to manage it, but the cloud management layer simplifies day-to-day operation of VMs compared to traditional virtualization.

Traditional virtualization is complicated by managing hypervisors running on individual virtual hosts and managing storage across hosts. When managing a single virtual host, VM creation and management is fairly simple. In a private cloud, you still have that underlying infrastructure of multiple hosts, hypervisors, and storage, but the cloud layer provides the same simple management experience of a single host but spread across the whole data center infrastructure.

Many organizations who are thinking of implementing private cloud are also thinking of implementing public cloud, creating a hybrid cloud consisting of both public and privately hosted resources.  Public cloud offers added benefits for pay-per-use elasticity for seasonal business demands and cloud-based applications for productivity.

Why Not Put Everything in Public Cloud?

Many organizations have sensitive data that they prefer to keep onsite or are required to do so by regulation. Maintaining data onsite can provide greater control and security than keeping it in the hands of a third party. For these organizations, private cloud is preferable to public cloud.

Some organizations require continuous data access for business operations and prefer not to risk interruption due to internet connectivity issues. Maintaining systems and data onsite allows these organizations to have more control over their business operations and maintain productivity. For these organizations, private cloud is preferable to public cloud.

Some organizations prefer the Capex model of private cloud vs. the Opex model of public cloud.  When done well, owning and managing infrastructure can be less expensive than paying someone else for hosting. The costs can be more predictable for onsite implementation, making it easier to budget. Private cloud is preferable for these organizations.

How does Hyperconvergence Fit as a Private Cloud?

For all intents and purposes, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offers the same or better experience as a traditional private cloud. You could even go so far as to say it is the next generation of private cloud because it improves on some of the shortcomings of traditional private clouds. The simplicity of managing VMs in HCI is the same as traditional private clouds and brings an even simpler approach to managing the underlying hardware.

HCI is a way of combining the elements of traditional virtualization (servers, storage, and hypervisor) into a single appliance-based solution. With traditional virtualization, you were tasked with integrating these elements from multiple vendors into to working infrastructure and dealing with any incompatibilities and managing with multiple console, etc. HCI is a virtualization solution that has all of these elements pre-integrated into more or less a turnkey appliance. There should be no need to configure any storage, configure any hypervisor installs on host servers, or manage through more than a single interface.

Not all HCI vendors are equal and some rely on third party hypervisors so there are still elements of multi-vendor management, but true HCI solutions own the whole hardware and virtualization stack, providing the same experience as a private cloud. Users are able to focus on creating and managing VMs rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

With the appliance-based approached, hyperconvergence is even easier to scale out than traditional private clouds or even the cloud-in-a-box solutions that also provide some levels of pre-integration. HCI scalability should be as easy as plugging in a new appliance node to a network and telling it to join an existing HCI cluster of appliance nodes.

HCI is generally more accessible and affordable than traditional private clouds or cloud-in-a-box solutions because it can start and then scale out from very small implementations without any added complexity. Small to midmarket organizations who experienced sticker shock at the acquisition and implementation costs of private clouds will likely find the costs and cost benefits of HCI much more appealing.  

Summary

Private cloud is a great idea for any organization whose goals include the control and security of onsite infrastructure and simplicity of day-to-day VM management. These organizations should be looking to hyperconverged infrastructure as a private cloud option to achieve those goals vs traditional private cloud or cloud-in-a-box options.

What do DDOS Attacks Mean for Cloud Users?

Last Friday, a DDOS attack disrupted major parts of the internet in both North America and Europe. The attacks seems largely targeted on DNS provider Dyn disrupting access to major service providers such as Level 3, Zendesk, Okta, Github, Paypal, and more, according to sources like Gizmodo. This kind of botnet-driven DDOS attack is a harbinger of future attacks that can be carried out over an increasingly connected device world based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and poorly secured devices.

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This disruption highlights a particular vulnerability to businesses that have chosen to rely on cloud-based services like IaaS, SaaS, or PaaS. The ability to connect to these services is critical to business operations and even though the service may be running, if users cannot connect, it is considered downtime.  What is particularly scary about these attacks for small and midmarket organizations especially, is that they become victims of circumstance from attacks directed at larger targets.

As the IoT becomes more of a reality, with more and more devices of questionable security joining the internet, the potential for these attacks and their severity can increase. I recently wrote about how to compare cloud computing and on-prem hypercoverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions, and one of the decision points was reliance on the internet. So it is not only a matter of ensuring a stable internet provider, but also the stability of the internet in general with the possibility of attacks targeting a number of different services.

Organizations running services on-prem were not affected by this attack because it did not affect any internal network environments. Choosing to run infrastructure and services internally definitely mitigates the risk of outage from external forces like collateral damage from attacks on service providers. Many organizations that choose cloud services do so for simplicity and convenience because traditional IT infrastructure, even with virtualization, is complex and can be difficult to implement, particularly for small and midsize organizations. It has only been recently that hyperconverged infrastructure has made on-prem infrastructure as simple to use as the cloud.

The future is still uncertain on how organizations will ultimately balance their IT infrastructure between on-prem and cloud in what is loosely called hybrid cloud. Likely it will simply continue to evolve continuously with more emerging technology. At the moment, however, organizations have the choice of easy-to-use hyperconverged infrastructure for increased security and stability, or choose to go with cloud providers for complete hands-off management and third party reliance.

As I mentioned in my cloud vs. HCI article, there are valid reasons to go with either and the solution may likely be a combination of the two. Organizations should be aware that on-prem IT infrastructure no longer needs to be the complicated mess of server vendors, storage vendors, hypervisor vendors, and DR solution vendors. Hyperconverged infrastructure is a viable option for organizations of any size to keep services on-prem, stable, and secure against collateral DDOS damage.

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Midmarket Enterprise Summit: Hyperconvergence Takes Main Stage

Coming off of a whirlwind quarter, I wanted to share some great insights that I gathered at Midsize Enterprise Summit (MES). This event is designed to bring IT executives together who are interested in virtualization and new technologies to help them run a better infrastructure environment.  It was great to get a sense for where our customers are thinking of going.  SMB, mid market, enterprise, all have challenges in optimizing their infrastructure, but mid market in particular, have specific challenges around needing scalability because they have a growing business, but also efficiency because they have a growing business but don’t have the resources and budget to do that.  There’s also so much unpredictability in the growth of the data, the need for new applications, and forecasting for capacity is just not feasible.

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Survey: Cloud Computing Takes a Backseat to On-Site Virtualization [Infographic]

Today, Scale Computing released results of a market survey conducted by ApplicationContinuity.org. Sponsored by the developers of HC3, the report showcases why midmarket organizations are embracing on-premise virtualization over the cloud, the driving factors behind this decision, and what alternatives companies are choosing for their mission-critical applications and data. More than 3,000 IT professionals in the US participated in the recent survey, which shows that nine-out-of-ten midsize companies prefer to keep their critical applications and data local and that cost and complexity remain key concerns for both cloud and on-site virtualization. For a complete list of survey findings, download the free report by visiting: http://bit.ly/CloudTakesABackSeat.

 

[Infographic] Cloud Computing Takes a Backseat to On-Site Virtualization

Acronis Gives you Highly Accessible Data on Scale’s Highly Available Hyperconverged Platform

We just announced a relationship with Acronis. The company is a fast-growing backup and recovery company with tens of thousands of customers around the planet. We partnered with them because they offered an advanced feature set for virtualization that complimented the snapshot and recovery features inherent in HC3.

One of the most important reasons we partnered with Acronis wasn’t just their solid technology; we like their long-term vision. The company is moving quickly to be a purveyor of data high accessibility. I’m sure you’ve heard that HA means high availability. With the Acronis and Scale Computing combination, it means both. Continue reading

Limit the Buzzwords, Please!

Virtualization, cloud, SaaS, IaaS, software-defined datacenter, follow-the-sun computing, big data, VDI, etc.  As a 15+ years industry veteran of startups and small and medium-sized companies (I know, I know, I’m a young pup to some of you), I must admit that I have used these buzzwords.

As a Sales and Systems Engineer and Manager, and Director of Sales/Systems Engineers, I know these topics have defined conversations at customers in the Fortune 1000 – and beyond. Companies such as Salesforce, Facebook, Sony, and Texas Instruments have leveraged myself or my peers at previous companies that I have worked for (such as VMware) to explain how they will affect internal processes. These concepts are transforming IT as we know it and their discussions dramatically impact a mature business.

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