Private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, the hardly mentioned community cloud, and now managed private cloud. How many cloud variants do we need? I have to say I was skeptical at first – why would an enterprise want a managed cloud on-premises? Then I heard the pitch from a company called Metacloud, was still skeptical, but then I realized I’d actually seen a few more companies doing this – some on-premises, others off-premises.
Let’s face it: Transforming a virtualized data center (assuming you get that far) to a private cloud with on-demand/self-service provisioning, and service catalog, all automated and orchestrated, is hard to do and can be very expensive.
Many of the incumbent service providers have been providing colocation services and managed services for quite some time. Some of them have added managed cloud to their services offerings. These come in several flavors:
· On-prem virtualization to off-prem managed cloud. This one is pretty straightforward – just find a service provider that has the same virtualization engine and move your VMs from on-premises to the managed provider. As one example, Rackspace offers this service as pure virtualized servers or can build a cloud for the customer that has Rackspace designing, building, and managing the cloud.
· Dedicated cloud off-prem. This one relies on the service provider building a cloud service for the customer that is completely physically isolated systems. This is semi-managed in that the services are built by the provider – such as VMware’s new vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS).
· On-prem managed private cloud. There have been a few companies offering this for a bit and is a natural for VARs to get into this business. What if you could have someone else layer the software you needed to convert the virtualized data center into a private cloud? OpenStack companies like Mirantis, Piston Cloud, and CloudScaling have been doing this for a while. VARs also have done some of this as well with VMware and Microsoft solutions.
What if there was a new alternative to these? What if a cloud solution could be pushed by a provider down to the data center – converting the virtualized or non-virtualized environment to one that is cloud using all the existing hardware on-premises? There is a new entrant called Metaloud with their Carbon|OS – that converts the on-premises existing environment or is layered on a new on-premises environment with an OpenStack-based cloud. Metacloud has added full self-service, leverages CEPH open source Blcok/File/Object storage, improved the OpenStack user interface, and includes some magic sauce that allows different workloads to be provisioned based on the needs of the workload (e.g. latency).
So why would anyone want this new option? Well back to my previous statement – cloud is hard to do and can be very expensive to implement due to the cost of software, consulting, training, etc. Metacloud sounds like an interesting alternative – and minimally can be tried in a sandbox environment to get a feel for usability, reliability, and costs. Its great to see yet another economic and technological alternative for the enterprise. And naw – managed private cloud isn’t an oxymoron – just another interesting choice for the enterprise.