Customers often want the latest and greatest technology without fully understanding the technical considerations of the buzzwords they're demanding from partners. VARs looking to capitalize on the demand for hybrid cloud solutions have to do the 'deep in the weeds' thinking for them. In particular, if you're a reseller of traditional data center solutions looking to make inroads into cloud solutions, there are some critical technical aspects you can't afford to overlook.
Ariel Maislos, CEO, Stratoscale
The increase in organizations seeking to have their own hybrid cloud has a direct impact on several market players, including traditional IT consulting firms, managed service providers (MSPS), value-added resellers (VARs) and even infrastructure providers. Time to market is of the essence. These players must respond quickly to enterprise customers who are pushing to build their private cloud and integrate it with the public one, which often requires partnering with hybrid cloud solution vendors. In this article, we will examine the five top considerations to bear in mind when evaluating potential hybrid cloud solution partners.
- Heterogeneous Data Center Support
A hybrid cloud solution starts with transforming the on-premises data center into a private cloud, including intelligent orchestration of the underlying hardware resources. Your cloud partner needs to provide a platform that will transform internal machines into cloud instances – not simply virtualized machines – in a dynamic pool of resources that are allocated according to demand. Furthermore, in order to leverage current hardware configurations, the solution needs to be compatible with all types of hardware resources, including modern x86 servers and integrations with any external storage appliances.
Once deployed, the solution should allow users to run all types of workloads, including VMs alongside containers, running both Linux and Windows and so on. Finally, it should allow enterprise users to build the complex logical virtualized networks, decoupled from the underlying physical network. The system needs to be scalable and capable of auto-managing underlying infrastructure issues. This includes using self-balancing and healing mechanisms to support resource high availability, preserve data integrity and maintain predictable performance.
- Public Cloud Compatibility
As previously mentioned, providing customers with a shiny turnkey hybrid cloud offering should present a unified solution across the different environments. Resource provisioning and orchestration across on-premises setup and Amazon cloud, for example, should be an easy task – starting from the same terminology to utilizing the same building blocks. You should also be able to define the network using the security group building block in the same way, on both private and public clouds. In addition, IT professionals should be able to use the same functions leveraging both environment RESTful APIs.
Compatibility, both on the resource type and management levels, will allow you to automate workload mobility across the environment and create the ultimate hybrid cloud experience that customers seek.
- Account Management
One of the main challenges is well-defined and managed segmentation between customers and users. This challenge increases when dealing with multi-tenant, on-demand IT environments. To maintain optimal resource utilization levels, clouds are built to run multiple tenants in the same pool of resources. In such an environment, the proposed solution should be able to not only secure resources and data per tenant, but also allow visibility into who is using which resource and in what quantity. Furthermore, you should be able to allocate usage and utilization for each of your customers (i.e., tenants) in order to plan and maintain the required capacity.
A consumption-based economic model can be a challenging one to maintain; however, it is one that customers demand. The right solution should be dynamic enough to support show back and chargeback customers based on tenants’ usage. The ability to provide customers with a self-service experience depends upon your cloud solution partner’s ability to track resource consumption and define quotas per customer.
- Deployment and Management
Of course, MSPs looking for a cloud partner to close gaps fast also need to consider their side when it comes to the solution deployment and management efforts and investments. Here, manpower is the costliest resource in any IT organization, especially when it comes to professional service providers. It is important to understand the efforts and investment required to deploy the solution within a matter of days.
In addition, your hybrid solution must provide centralized management, including the ability to monitor the entire cloud in a single pane of glass. Developers and IT professionals should have an API access, but there should also be an option to deploy and control resources using a simple GUI. All resource allocation and mobility needs to be tracked and reported both on a high level for management leaders, and with greater granularity to enable the team to drill down into details and troubleshoot issues.
- Measure Success
When beginning a relationship with your hybrid cloud solution vendor, it’s highly recommended to begin with a pilot. If the company is mature enough, deployment will be quick and the system will be self-explanatory. Despite the behind-the-scenes complexity, these types of systems should be easy to use. Look at the partner’s roadmap of features and clearly understand if your custom, specific requirements will be fulfilled along the way. In any case, it is recommended to start small and expand the system’s control of your resources as you go. This approach will help your company benefit from the arrangement whilst evaluating the solution and the team behind it.
Building a hybrid cloud is not without its challenges, and CIOs must consider a myriad of issues including hardware resource orchestration and management, cost optimization, interoperability across the environments, security and management. As a result, many organizations are turning to cloud managed-service provider for answers. They expect fast and efficient deployment and are looking to partner with cloud players that have a proven record, armed with the right cloud technologies.
Ariel Maislos, CEO, Stratoscale
Ariel brings more than twenty years of technology innovation and entrepreneurship to Stratoscale. After a ten-year career with the IDF, where he was responsible for managing a section of the Technology R&D Department, Ariel founded Passave, now the world leader in FTTH technology, which was established in 2001 and acquired in 2006 by PMC-Sierra (PMCS. In 2006 Ariel founded Pudding Media, an early pioneer in speech recognition technology, and Anobit, the leading provider of SSD technology acquired by Apple (AAPL) in 2012. At Apple, he served as a Senior Director in charge of Flash Storage, until he left the company to found Stratoscale. Ariel is a graduate of the prestigious IDF training program Talpiot, and holds a BSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science (Cum Laude) and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.