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In previous blogs I wrote about the benefits of private cloud computing and the benefits of public cloud computing based on the unique models of each. Sitting between secure, dedicated private cloud computing and open, low cost public cloud hosting is a secure, shared cloud middle ground we call managed cloud hosting.
Public cloud hosting is typically built around the “compute as a utility” model where cost is the driving consideration, overriding security and availability, to deliver commodity-level pricing where computing is sold at pennies per hour.
Managed cloud hosting sits on the other end of the spectrum in the shared cloud world. Like public cloud computing, servers can be purchased “by the slice”, or a virtual server at a time. However, the entire design premise for the managed cloud is to put security & high availability ahead of cost considerations. Rather than purchasing servers by the hour, managed cloud hosting is sold on monthly (or longer) contracts for businesses that are running enterprise critical applications for the long haul.
At Online Tech, we built our managed cloud hosting solution around our secure, high availability private cloud hosting architecture. We chose to build our shared servers on an “N+1” redundant architecture and data center infrastructure. That means there is redundancy in every component of the system – from power and internet delivery to the hardware and network components with no single point of failure in the system. Should any component fail, there are redundant components in place to maintain the server and Internet availability.
The five benefits of managed cloud hosting include:
1) High Availability – Because the managed cloud is built around a high availability private cloud architecture, redundancy is built in with multiple hosts, SAN storage and network security. This provides for failover protection and the unique ability to update and maintain the hardware without a maintenance window.
2) Automatic Failover & Resource Balancing – Built with VMware Enterprise Edition as the virtualization technology, failover and resource balancing between hardware hosts is automatically handled at the virtualization level – allowing the cloud servers to take full advantage of the high availability infrastructure should any host fail.
3) Network Security – Dedicated, secure VLANs, firewalls and IDS/IPS can be put in place for any set of cloud servers – delivering the same highly secure, dedicated network environment found on private cloud solutions.
4) Hybridize with Physical Servers – Applications and data base engines that can’t meet their performance requirements on a virtual server or need to run on a physical server to access all of the hardware resources can share a dedicated network with cloud servers, creating a hybrid of physical and virtual servers in the same system.
5) Cost Effective – On a monthly basis, managed clouds are as cost effective as most public clouds. True, you can’t buy servers by the hour, but long term enterprise applications are rarely run on an hourly basis.
Not all applications are geared to take advantage of managed cloud hosting. Research computing, development servers and test servers are good examples of non-critical systems that can take advantage of the hourly or spot demand pricing available in the public cloud utility market.
On the other hand, most businesses want to assure the security & availability of their corporate and client data with either managed cloud hosting or a private cloud. Managed cloud computing provides the security and availability of a dedicated private cloud at a fraction of the cost.