Jun 10, 2015

Challenges of hybrid cloud architecture

Ansley Kilgore

hybrid cloud architectureIn the quest to create a hybrid cloud environment, many enterprises inadvertently create a monster. Instead of the benefits that come with the perfect balance of public and private cloud, the end result is sometimes an amalgamation of disparate legacy and cloud infrastructures that don’t play well together.

In a recent Network Computing article, “In Pursuit of the Purpose-Built Hybrid Cloud,” Susan Fogarty clearly states the problem: “The question isn’t public cloud vs. private cloud, but rather how to blend the two efficiently.” So how can organizations successfully create a hybrid cloud architecture?

Achieving success

In the article, Satish Hemachandran, Internap’s Senior VP and general manager of cloud and hosting, describes two types of customers that have the best success with cloud.

First is the “tech-savvy startup that is disrupting how the world is working fundamentally.” These businesses come to cloud without the constraints of legacy infrastructure and can capitalize on its benefits more easily. The second type is the enterprise that proactively decides to focus on using technology as a differentiator. Such companies may be large or small, but they have “woken up and realized they cannot afford to be disrupted,” Hemachandran said. “They are using technology to reinvent their businesses.”

Distil Networks chooses a different hybrid model: Case study

Distil Networks has created a different kind of hybrid cloud, one based on private hosted services that burst into shared resources. The website security provider protects its clients against attacks from malicious bots, which requires extremely high performance, said CTO Engin Akyol. “To be able to do bot protection on every single request, we need high compute, and to keep the latency in check, we need a global footprint and dedicated high-performance internetworking connections,” he explained. The four-year-old company has been migrating its environment from Amazon Web Services and five different managed service providers to the Internap cloud.

The bulk of Distil’s infrastructure is hosted on Internap’s bare-metal cloud services, Akyol said. Bare metal lets customers customize their own dedicated servers – hosted in Internap’s data center – as they wish with their own operating system and applications. These servers are not virtualized, said Internap’s Hemachandran, in order to provide the highest possible performance. “Virtualization adds overhead to your server in terms of how it performs, and with bare metal you don’t have that overhead. It’s that elimination of the overhead that gives customers an incremental performance advantage over a virtual server.”

Distil creates a hybrid environment by integrating with Internap’s other virtualized services. “We start at a baseline using bare metal, but we don’t overprovision there,” Akyol said. “We can utilize cloud virtual instances to scale up and handle huge traffic dumps, and then when the traffic goes away, we can turn the instances down to keep our costs relatively low.”

Distil estimated it saved 10 percent on its immediate migration and expects that rate to triple. Moving from Amazon instances with multiple points of cost to a baseline of always-available resources provided a better cost structure, Akyol said. On top of that, Distil experienced double-digit performance gains and the security benefits of dedicated servers, which is especially important to the company as a security provider.

Learn more about how Distil Networks uses cloud services from Internap.

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Ansley Kilgore

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