Ease of the "Cloud", Without the "Cloud"



  • You may have heard this before, but businesses kind of tend to want "everything." You know how it is, all of the features but they don't want to pay for them. They want support, for free. They want the ease of someone else hosting everything but need total control and to keep everything in house.

    While you can't really have your cake and eat it too, there are strategies for leveraging the right technologies and approaches for your needs that can provide a better mix of features and cost that can make all of the difference for your business.

    One of the biggest desires that we see in business today is a desire for "cloud without the cloud." This is, of course, a silly request but if we break it down, there appears to be a common actual need that is simply being expressed poorly.

    What people are requesting, normally, is the ease and flexibility that public hosted cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provides ( from vendors like Digital Ocean, Vultr, Amazon, Linode, Rackspace, Azure and similar) but generally they fear having their systems under someone else's control. What is desired is cloud-like simplicity with on premises or internally controlled systems. What is confusing is the use of the term cloud which does not actually mean any of those things, but artefacts of cloud systems have become associated with them by lay business people and we have to decipher these needs. A major need that is sometimes expressed is that regulations often require that certain companies maintain full control of their own systems and cannot use hosted components, so we have to consider this (common with military contracts, for example.)

    We could, of course, implement our own private cloud system. This would solve the "word" cloud problem but not that parts that most companies are looking for. Implementing a cloud in house is complex and expensive - there is much expertise needed and this architecture is designed for a scale that very few companies have. Even in the enterprise this scale is not universal. So while having an actual cloud is very possible, practically it will not solve the ease of use issues nor will it be cost effective for a normal business.

    What does solve one portion of the ease of use problem is hyperconvergence. The "just set it up and go" mentality popular with how people view cloud services carries onto on premises or in house systems best through hyperconvergence. The ability to view all systems at once, to just spin up new workloads with a click - the things that make public cloud so often so attractive. High availability, scalability, rapid deployments, single pain of glass - things that are almost always baked in and ready to go with hyperconvergence.

    Of course we can use HC on premises, but we've only solved half of the problem. This makes our platform and system layers easy, and maybe that is all that we want or are able to "solve" here. But for most customers, the next step is colocation. By taking our in house HC platform and moving it to a fully supported enterprise datacenter we can mimic the remaining majority of "cloud" features or perceived features by eliminating the need to maintain generators, UPS, climate control and get hardware technicians generally available 24x7x365 that we do not need to train, support and staff ourselves.

    Colocation takes the physical components of IT infrastructure and makes it into a service in the same way that hyperconvergence can let us do that with the logical components of our infrastructure. Put together we can deliver a logical platform layer that creates on in house non-cloud IaaS system allowing us to behave almost exactly as if we had a "cloud but not a cloud" and often for much less cost than using true hosted cloud products.

    Maybe you can have your cake and eat it, too.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ease of the "Cloud", Without the "Cloud":

    Put together we can deliver a logical platform layer that creates on in house non-cloud IaaS system allowing us to behave almost exactly as if we had a "cloud but not a cloud" and often for much less cost than using true hosted cloud products.

    This surprises me - owning your own equipment and paying for colocating it can be less expensive than using true hosted products?
    Notice I dropped the word cloud here - is the cloud aspect important to this, cost wise?

    It surprises me that the costs could be lower. I would expect the economy of scale and lack of local IT support (or MSP/ITSP) requirements I would be allow prices to be driven lower. Of course you didn't say it would be lower, just said "often for much less cost."



  • @Dashrender said in Ease of the "Cloud", Without the "Cloud":

    This surprises me - owning your own equipment and paying for colocating it can be less expensive than using true hosted products?

    That should be expected, true hosted cloud products you pay a premium for features like:

    • On demand
    • Unpredictable workloads
    • Custom features and software
    • Essentially unlimited scaling
    • Pay per minute overhead


  • @Dashrender said in Ease of the "Cloud", Without the "Cloud":

    Notice I dropped the word cloud here - is the cloud aspect important to this, cost wise?

    Yes, actually. If this was purely VPS, we'd expect a closer comparison. The hosted piece is huge, but the cloud piece is a major component, too. The cloud piece is what makes them have to have insane amounts of idle capacity ready for you "just in case."



  • @Dashrender said in Ease of the "Cloud", Without the "Cloud":

    It surprises me that the costs could be lower. I would expect the economy of scale and lack of local IT support (or MSP/ITSP) requirements I would be allow prices to be driven lower. Of course you didn't say it would be lower, just said "often for much less cost."

    Scale is what makes it viable at all. Elastic scalability is an insanely expensive feature to deliver. And neither solution requires a local MSP/ITSP, that's part of the comparison. These are "plug and play" level products. But in reality, using a service like Amazon where the scale is really good you run into a heavy technical barrier to use that HC does not have (normally.) So if anything, cloud makes you have more ITSP requirements compared to HC. Cloud has a lot of hidden costs that HC does not have.