It used to be the case that the media and IT industry just spoke of “the cloud,” a way to distribute resources to increase reliability, speed, and cost-effectiveness. However, security was a reasonable concern since all users share the same machines, even if they each have their own virtual private servers within the network. Soon the demand rose for solutions that combine the rapidity and agility of a distribution model with a core focus on data isolation. That concept was the private cloud, which has grown enormously: it had $8 billion of overall revenue in 2010 versus $32 billion in 2013.
Now many organizations are looking to combine their public and private clouds into a hybrid system. The appeal of this type of environment is broad, with Gartner predicting that half of enterprises will have a hybrid cloud deployed by 2017.
Real World Scenario – hybrid cloud
Below is a Real World Scenario (RWS) based on a transcript between one of our hosting consultants and a client in need of a hybrid cloud.
Welcome to Atlantic.Net. Please tell us about your hosting needs.
I’m in pricing stages with [major cloud vendor] and just discovered you. I’m the VP of Engineering. We’re looking for a cloud hosting provider that has Sarbanes Oxley and SSAE 16 compliance. We need ~30 VMs of various specs running a traditional Java stack with Postgres. We have one custom appliance, a modified CentOS kernel that runs the iFax server. Ideally, we need ~30 standard Ubuntu LTS or CentOS cloud VMs and one VMWare or Linux KVM hosted VM for the iFax appliance. I would love to discuss pricing and technical requirements with you. The sooner the better.
Please call me at the number listed below, or provide me with your phone number and I will call you.
Your application would work on our Public Cloud VPS platform, which is unmanaged. However, we do not at this time offer a firewall solution on our Public Cloud Platform, so that is an issue since you have the Sarbanes Oxley requirement.
We can also provide you with a proposal for a Managed Private Cloud platform that would meet all of your security requirements. We would need answers to the following questions in order to send you a proposal.
[Questions included in reply (below)]
I’m new to working under the Sarbanes Oxley compliance; however, I’m familiar with running servers in public and private clouds. My hope is that if we firewall each individual host, we can still be compliant. If this is possible in the public cloud, that would probably be the most cost-effective. If this cannot be achieved, then we would be interested in the private cloud options.
1.) How many virtual machines (VM) do you anticipate having to accommodate during the first year of this project?
Our first year is estimated to have 30 VMs. These include web servers, Postgres servers and several lightweight clients that retrieve data. See below for specifics.
2.) What are the specifications (RAM, CPUs, Hard Drives, Operating System, etc) required for each VM?
Here is an estimate of our needs:
- Dev tools: 2 cores, 4GB RAM, 100GB storage.
- Production Web 1: 4 cores, 8GB RAM, 60GB storage.
- Production Web 2: 4 cores, 8GB RAM, 60GB storage.
- Production Postgres: 8 cores, 16GB RAM, 160GB storage.
- Staging Web: 4 cores, 8GB RAM, 60GB storage.
- Staging Postgres: 4 cores, 8GB RAM, 160GB storage.
- iFax: 2 cores, 4GB RAM, 160GB storage. *Custom CentOS appliance (with tainted kernel), 32-bit.*
- 20 Downloader VMs: 2 cores, 1GB RAM, 40GB storage.
The iFax VM is a custom appliance built on 32-bit CentOS, but it uses a custom kernel. For this reason, it needs to be hosted in VMWare or Linux KVM. All the other VMs will run Ubuntu 14.04. (They could optionally run CentOS.) The downloader VMs are very lightweight clients that use a browser that downloads information from the IRS website.
3.) What is the anticipated growth rate in VMs per year?
Difficult to say. I predict 5-10% VM growth year-to-year.
4.) What level of redundancy is required for this project?
The storage should be redundant and I assume you own the hardware replacement concerns. I typically use RAID 10 in order to achieve good reads and writes, but I leave it to you to define your best redundancy/speed ratio. The VMs don’t need to be redundant but should be backed up (see below).
5.) What is the budget for this project?
This is a brand new project. I don’t have actual numbers at the moment. We are a small and steadily growing company. We are in talks with other hosting providers, so a competitive price quote is ideal.
6.) When do you need to have the project online?
We would like to see the environment provisioned and available as quickly as possible.
[Article continues through link below]
Rise of the hybrid cloud
Cloud portfolio management firm RightScale released its annual State of the Cloud Report in April, based on interviews with 1068 IT executives from diverse business sectors. 74% are currently operating more than one cloud (a multi-cloud setup), and 48% are currently strategizing a hybrid solution. Discuss your options with Atlantic.Net, a company that has the experience and flexibility to meet your specific needs, as demonstrated by this RWS.
>>> Part 2 – Hybrid Hosting Real World Scenario
By Moazzam Adnan