art of the dream of moving your resources to cloud-hosting platforms such as Azure, AWS, and Virtustream is that it’s meant to be easier, more dynamic, and when considering the whole, fully-loaded cost- less expensive.
Now, many organizations are waking up to find the realities of cloud hosting are much different. Here are the most common public cloud problems that many organizations are unaware of.
What Seems Easier Becomes More Complex
A growing number of the organizations for which I consult consider getting out of the hardware business very compelling. It means local data centers no longer need to be maintained, or at least their usage can be reduced. While moving your network to the cloud for someone else to manage seems very attractive, all the new technology, versions, and techniques for accomplishing more with less are not without consequence.
With that in mind, there are added complexities.
If, like most organizations, you want to dip your toes, or be thoughtful about what/when to migrate to the cloud, then the added complexities include:
- A different way to manage virtual resources (a new skillset)
- A limited number of options for provisioning virtual services (according to cloud vendor offerings)
- The networking connections from cloud to/from on-premise resources, including bandwidth, routing, and latency. All of these affect applications, their data, and user endpoint access.
If you move everything into the same hosting environment, some of those benefits may be realized, but there is a cost.
What Seems More Dynamic Becomes Fewer Choices
In the 1990s, there was a trend to make programming/developing an easier notion. There were several platforms that provided drag and drop programming that made developing simpler, quicker, and less expensive. Lotus Notes was one of the most successful of these platforms. The biggest drawback to any method that utilizes this approach is that to simplify, you must remove flexibility.
The same is true for a cloud-hosted environment. To simplify, fewer choices will have fewer choices/options. For example, on Azure, there is no option for a 4GB virtual machine with a 2TB hard drive with 4 vCPUs. If your load requirements dictate it; you will need to utilize something that comes close enough or pay for a more expensive option to meet the requirements. Additionally, you don’t have the option to manipulate the hypervisor, nor work networking options into the solution; you are restricted by what you can do with the provided cloud interface.
Public Cloud Seems Less Expensive Until it Becomes Heavily Loaded
John Lane, CEO of Logical Front said “what [customers] find is that when they get into the cloud it’s a lot more expensive than they realized. They get started for a very inexpensive amount. But, as they grow the environment, it gets really expensive.”
Think about it this way. Those compute/storage/networking resources must reside somewhere. The applications and their data need to have a place for users to accomplish the goals of the organization. If you own them, you incur overhead. If a cloud vendor owns them, then you can utilize the larger, enterprise-class environment’s economies of scale (think environmentals/cooling, electrical/utility/backup power generation/UPS).
But, unless you’re a very small shop, you already get those types of benefits for compute/server virtualization. In addition to all of that, there is a heavy up-charge for the privilege. All large cloud-hosting vendors purchase hardware, networking, storage, and virtualize it all, and add multi-tenancy with enough security to pass regulatory audits, then tack on enough up-charge to make it all worth the while of the shareholders and executives. And although flexible, it’s heavy, especially if you plan to run constant loads.
Logical Front’s Unique Hybrid Cloud Solution
Hybrid cloud is a natural solution for many public cloud problems. I offer clients a unique approach by Logical Front. The company has multiple data centers and provides computer/storage/network resources in a way that feels like cloud, but is much less expensive, more flexible, and easier to co-manage. Let me explain.
For one organization, it means that they can move nearly all their compute/storage/networking equipment out of an already over-utilized data center. Additionally, Logical Front manages their equipment in an enterprise-class data center, fully tenanted and secure—and with built-in redundancy, multiple power and network sources, and manages it at a level comfortable for the organization.
This approach accomplishes the three things that cloud promises:
It is easier to manage
In fact, it is managed for you and comes with resources that pay attention to your implementation.
It is more dynamic
Because it is managed, it can scale to whatever size is needed.
It is less expensive
In fact, in several studies and in various sizes, the solution comes in at approximately 1/3 of an equivalent cloud-hosted build-out.
Re-allocating/consolidating staff hours is a constant draw for people attracted to cloud hosting. The personnel managing your data center resources, including server/storage/networking hardware, can be reassigned to more productive areas, such as managing applications and user interactions. With Logical Front’s Hybrid Cloud solution, all the benefits of cloud-hosting can be realized, but none of the pitfalls.
I have seen this hybrid cloud solution prove successful for organizations that are:
- Requiring very small implementations. VM-only hosting is a great option for service-based hosting (like AD, ADFS, or application-specific DR), or a small environment with 50 or fewer virtual machines.
- Small education facilities or Small Business. Virtual Machine-only hosting, or small shared-hardware solutions.
- Medium district/college or Medium-sized Business. Partial rack, dedicated hardware with enterprise-class environmentals.
- Large environments. Whether off-setting specific loads, adding disaster recovery resources (without having to build a data center), or moving all resources, the solution scales to any level.