By Walt Blomquist, VP, Converged Infrastructure, NetApp
Cloud services continue to redefine the ways in which we work and play, how and where we consume services, and our expectations of service availability and performance — without regard to what’s going on under the covers. As a service provider, you have the opportunity to transform your services business with these same core cloud principles, while differentiating yourself from hypercloud providers. By offering solutions that go well beyond basic IaaS, you can deliver a high-value distributed services environment that enables your customers to transform their current IT environments, combining the best of off- and on-premises solutions into one easy-to-consume solution set.
IDC projects that the worldwide market for hosted private cloud, including dedicated hosted private cloud (DHPC) and on-demand hosted private cloud (ODHPC), which amounted to $8.9 billion in 2014, will grow at a CAGR of 35.4% to reach $40.6 billion in 2019.1 By any standards, this is a rapidly growing market and huge opportunity for which service providers are uniquely positioned to take advantage.
Why do enterprises need a dedicated hosted private cloud?
Some workloads simply require on-premises hardware. For example, a hospital may be reluctant to host its applications and data in a service provider’s environment. Not only are administrators thinking of data security, but to provide the continuous care patients require, doctors and other hospital staff must have access to data and information whether the organization’s internet connection is up and running or not.
Organizations with field offices are another example of why workloads must be hosted on site. For example, workers doing oil and gas exploration in the field tend to generate high amounts of data that must be analyzed and may not have high bandwidth or high fidelity connectivity to the home office. Organizations can more quickly collect data and perform their analysis locally using on-site infrastructure and then send just the results to the business decision teams.
There are a multitude of use cases for dedicated hosted private cloud (some of which I cover later in this post), and yet, even though many organizations need on-premises hardware and software, they want to consume it like they would a public cloud.
Service Provider Challenges When Delivering Dedicated Private Clouds
These customer expectations – of having dedicated private clouds with the same functionality and cost efficiency that public cloud solutions offer – present a substantial challenge to service providers.
First, it’s very complex to manage this type of infrastructure. The service provider often must manage a separate and distinct stack for every tenant that the provider onboards and manages. This leads to greater costs per customer. Additionally, it takes a lot of time and resources for the service provider to deploy the on-premises equipment – anywhere from one week to several months can be spent installing and configuring the on-premises equipment, resulting in a significant operating expense.
Next, most on-premises managed services are managed in a very manual way. New workloads or services are provisioned by opening a ticket, which can take several days before a technician can act on the request. And customers don’t want to wait.
Finally, enterprises are always looking to their balance sheet and trying to minimize their TCO. A service provider must provide unique value in its on-premises private cloud offering differentiated from both public cloud offerings as well as customers’ in-house solutions.
Introducing Managed EdgeCloud with Cisco and NetApp
The Managed EdgeCloud Solution with Cisco and NetApp places cloud services at the source of the demand. Customers get the best of both worlds: on premises performance and data availability with all of the simplicity and cost efficiencies the public cloud offers.
With this solution, you, the service provider, maintain a core infrastructure at your facility which includes a single cloud platform for managing all customers. That platform extends to remotely-located equipment to deliver cloud services at those edge environments. And since the equipment is managed by a single platform and connected by VPN, the end customer can achieve a true hybrid cloud experience.
With complete turnkey cloud-in-a-box configurations to choose from, you can quickly and easily deploy the right sized infrastructure to your customer site, meeting the needs of the customer’s specific workloads and making services quickly available.
Use cases for Managed EdgeCloud
With a variety of configurations and options, Managed EdgeCloud offers solutions for any industry. For example, in the Education industry, Managed EdgeCloud could be used for learning management systems or academic research apps and data. In the Energy industry, it could be used for Big Data analytics and to reduce latency of sensitive applications. The Healthcare industry could use it for practice management, electronic medical records, and PACs. Distributed enterprises can use it to reduce latency of sensitive application or perform manufacturing facility or warehouse management (IoT data processing). Government organizations can use it for disaster response or rugged deployments. All industries can use it for backup and DR, virtual desktops, or collaboration services.
Extending Microsoft Cloud Platform to Enable a Dedicated Private Cloud
So how does it work? Based on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, Managed EdgeCloud extends service provider services to on-premises nodes. Everything you can do on Microsoft Cloud Platform you can do on Managed EdgeCloud, including delivering the same applications as a service. A Managed EdgeCloud architecture includes:
- Federation between SP-hosted clouds
- Centralized SP administration
- Centralized tenant consumption experience
Many nodes for different tenants can exist at many sites. All nodes are managed by a single Microsoft System Center and Windows Azure Pack environment.
You can increase revenue by leveraging the Managed EdgeCloud architecture to offer enhanced services that meet your customers’ needs. For example, you can offer data management services such as data replication as a service or application-aligned backup, cloning, and recovery. You can offer network services such as VPN as a service or advanced firewall with intrusion protection. Or, you can offer workloads as a service with SQL as a service or custom applications as a service aligned with your particular customers’ needs.
Provide Enterprise-Class Infrastructure with Pre-integrated and Pre-configured Architecture
Our initial introduction provides two configuration options for EdgeCloud deployments: standard and flash-enabled. The main difference between the two is that the standard configuration uses flash only for caching while the flash-enabled configuration uses all flash for workloads that have the most demanding storage requirements.
|EdgeCloud solution specifications|
|Compute||Cisco UCS Mini (UCS 5108 and
4 x B200 servers
• 2x E5-2660 10-core CPU
• 256GB RAM
|Network||Cisco ISR 4431|
|Storage||NetApp® FAS 2552
• 20×900 GB SAS
• 4x400GB SSD
|NetApp AFF 8040
• 24x 800GB SSD
|Rack||Rittal 24U cabinet|
|UPS||Eaton 9PX6K w/ external battery pack|
Quick and Easy Delivery of Cloud at the Customer Premises
The entire solution comes pre-integrated and pre-configured for zero-touch integration – the onsite technician can get the environment set up with very little effort. Basically plug in the power and network connections, and you’re finished.
You order directly from a distribution partner who assembles and configures the solution then ships it directly to the customer site.
Solution delivery time can be reduced from months to weeks, decreasing the time between when a tenant signs up for the service and when you can begin earning revenue.
Watch this video to learn more about the EdgeCloud Cisco and NetApp joint solution.
Accelerating time to market for on premises cloud services
If you’d like to get started, request a technical deep dive on the solution and potential integration into your existing offerings.
Or set up a service design workshop to explore the creation of service offerings using the Managed EdgeCloud architecture. We’ll cover everything from service creation to potential market pricing and more. What are you waiting for?
- IDC, Worldwide Hosted Private Cloud Services Forecast, 2015-2019: New Models for Delivering Infrastructure Services, Sept 2015