How to Choose the Right Virtual Datacenter for Your Needs

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1 WHITEPAPER How to Choose the Right Virtual Datacenter for Your Needs USING MULTIPLE VIRTUAL DATACENTERS FOR GREATER CLOUD EFFICIENCY CONTENTS Executive Summary Virtual Datacenters: One Size Does Not Fit All Common Uses for Virtual Datacenters Which Virtual Datacenter is Right for Which Workload? Benefits of Leveraging Multiple Virtual Datacenters Bluelock s Unique Approach to Virtual Datacenters Conclusion Executive Summary Enterprises are increasingly moving to the cloud for greater agility and cost efficiency. However, they are finding that running complex enterprise applications requires much more than a one size fits all approach when they move to a cloud infrastructure. Based on our experiences, these large organizations have multiple workloads with differing performance and security requirements. Some applications demand a positive and consistent end-user experience for production and higher-tier workloads, while other applications need quick access to scalable resources, yet price sensitivity is higher because these workloads carry lower risk. Using one virtual datacenter type to service varying workload requirements typically results in an enterprise not getting the level of performance or security needed for high-risk production applications, or conversely, paying too much for low-risk workloads. Hosted in the public cloud, the Bluelock Virtual Datacenter is a pool of cloud resources that run workloads remotely in an easily adaptable environment. This paper will address how to create more agile and efficient clouds to better suit enterprise workload needs, and will address the benefits of using multiple virtual datacenters to solve some of the greatest challenges IT organizations face today. It will discuss how to solve the problem of differing performance and security requirements through VDC stratification and offer guidance to prevent negative user experience through performance and availability of virtual datacenters. It will also discuss how to best match workloads or applications to different types of virtual datacenters for the most positive cloud experience and optimal return on cloud investments. Finally, the paper will solve common cost efficiency cloud problems with virtual datacenter recommendations and through Bluelock Portfolio decision support. Virtual Datacenters Hosted in the Public Cloud: One Size Does Not Fit All Service-based IT continues to grow in popularity, including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offered via a public cloud. These service providers offer the processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources while ensuring nearly constant uptime and state-of-the-art security measures. More and more enterprises are drawn to IaaS models, given their clear cost and operational advantages. According to a June 2012 report from IT research and advisory company Gartner Inc., the Cloud System Infrastructure Services market is poised for strong growth with a worldwide forecast to grow from an estimated $4.3 billion in 2011 to $24.4 billion in Companies creating and managing their own private datacenters are prone to over-provisioning and building too much capacity based on projected demands that are one, two and three years into the future. On the other hand, we have found that organizations we work with that leverage IaaS services benefit from on-demand, adjustable resources. IT organizations using IaaS public cloud virtual datacenters experience 1 Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide , 2Q12 Update, report by Gartner, Inc.,

2 an unparalleled level of speed and agility because their IaaS resources can quickly conform to their changing market conditions and business requirements. As a public cloud service provider, Bluelock has seen IaaS cost benefits also motivate enterprises to move workloads to the cloud. Public cloud service providers typically have large platforms segmented for customers, providing economies of scale and cost savings through efficiency. In addition, because the infrastructure resides off premise, companies can adopt new technologies without having to worry about obsolete equipment, upgrades and retrofits. Instead, they remain focused on the core mission. Although IaaS services are attractive to organizations wanting to reduce costs while creating a more agile enterprise, it is important to know what to consider when evaluating service providers and the different types of public cloud services available. Evaluating Service Providers When evaluating IaaS service providers at the highest level, companies should establish what kind of service relationship they want, how service-oriented a potential company is, and whether the provider is knowledgeable and committed enough to understand the business type and use case. Investigating datacenter platforms is also important. For example, companies virtualizing with VMware may discover that a service provider does not offer compatibility with the current VMware platform and tools they use or wish to use for virtualization. They also may not offer to support future VMware product releases, which could impact your future environment. Every IaaS service is structured differently. Service providers vary in how they interact with other datacenters and how they interact with a customer s private datacenter in a hybrid cloud model. Some service providers offer the flexibility of different datacenter tiers, but the tiers do not work together, prohibiting workload movement between datacenters. When migration is impossible, vendor lock-in can result, making it difficult for companies to align their IT services and applications to the optimal virtual datacenter environment, especially as requirements change. Enterprise vs. Commodity Clouds Cloud services are viable and advantageous options for many companies, though one type may be better suited to a given company than another: Commodity clouds Some companies design their applications to run in commodity clouds, where the workloads can tolerate more risk in regards to security and performance. This option can reduce IT resource costs, yet typically involves high application development and management costs as the burden for security and performance is shifted to the application. Enterprise clouds These clouds are designed for organizations with more complex hosting needs that are especially focused on security and performance requirements. Enterprise clouds are typically better suited to companies wanting a true technology partnership with the service provider, as well as integration of vital enterprise platforms such as VMware virtualization technologies across on-site and off-site datacenters. Other cloud options Other companies leverage private clouds or traditional colocation platforms. However, these environments do not feature the self-service and multi-tenancy capabilities that some companies demand. Some organizations get around this hurdle by using a commodity-type offering for some workloads and another vendor s cloud for other workloads for a multi-vendor strategy, though this option can be costly and complex. Virtual Datacenters A virtual datacenter is a pool of cloud infrastructure resources hosted in the public cloud that includes compute, memory, storage and bandwidth components. Service providers meet the ever-changing needs 2

3 of their customers by making these resources available to customer applications, business units and projects, eliminating concerns with physical capacity. Service providers that offer virtual datacenters may offer a single type of virtual datacenter or multiple types. When the multiple types offered are compatible with each other, customers have the flexibility to match different workload requirements with different virtual datacenters and move between those types. Higher-tier virtual datacenters offer on-demand resources, greater performance and scalability and burstable capacity, and are the usual choice for production workloads. Lower-tier virtual datacenters also offer on-demand resources, yet are typically designed for less critical workloads with higher price sensitivity, such as development and testing environments. Common Uses for Virtual Datacenters Different types of virtual datacenters, designed for specific concerns and uses, help enterprises meet their variable needs in IT service delivery. Emerging Applications Companies focused on emerging applications face many unknowns, yet must ensure that the underlying infrastructure will support application delivery in the short and long terms. Therefore, datacenter flexibility and scalability and cloud server burstability are imperative, particularly as they relate to providing a consistently positive end-user experience. A production-level virtual datacenter offers the flexibility needed to accommodate a broad range of both IT and end-user needs for even the most robust, demanding new applications. Customers in 2011 placed greater focus on applications as they strived for increased agility when compared with customers surveyed in They realized 25 percent faster application time to market, compared with the 2010 results. They also reported that agility is aided by cloud computing. In fact, the research shows that there is an opportunity cost for organizations that wait too long to adopt cloud computing. VMWARE JOURNEY ADOPTION INSIGHTS 2011 REPORT ON APPLICATION TIME TO MARKET Development and Testing IT departments involved in the development and testing of client-facing applications also face unknowns, especially where building the infrastructure and operational protocols to meet their exact needs is concerned. During development and testing activities, IT executives face particular financial risk. They need to successfully predict the servers, computing power, networking and storage that will be needed at the development, testing and production stages. However, these applications residing in a development platform may not be ready for production for many months, and ultimately may never go live. Noteworthy is that a VMware Customer Benchmark study found that organizations that virtualized Test and Development yielded a compelling 175% return on their investment. 2 For these organizations, the virtual datacenter is a great option. By working with a cloud service provider with flexible virtual datacenter options, forward-thinking IT executives can leverage a different type of virtual datacenter based on how development and testing cycles unfold, and their eventual outcomes. For example, IT teams can conduct development and extensive functional testing in a lower-tier preproduction environment. They can keep it in a VDC designed for pre-production indefinitely if needed, or move into production if business requirements demand it. Also important, if they forge a partnership with a service provider that offers seamless integration between its virtual datacenters and their own on-site datacenter, as in a hybrid cloud model, they will have additional flexibility to move the workload into their own datacenter. Moving a Workload to Production When moving closer to production, virtual datacenter flexibility is again important. For instance, a development project may initially require application replication for one small test team. Then closer to production, three instances of the application may be needed for three different teams, temporarily requiring additional capacity. These activities are well suited to a pre-production virtual datacenter offered at a lower cost than a production virtual datacenter. 2 Boldy Navigating Towards IT-as-a-Service, white paper by CIO Custom Solutions Group,

4 Closer to production, additional bandwidth may be required for performance testing. With a desire to know exactly how the application will run in production, the team may want to test it in the production virtual datacenter since that is the eventual target, but may only need that environment for three weeks to conduct the performance testing. Upon successful testing, the application can easily be staged and moved into a production virtual datacenter. Application Upgrades More datacenter flexibility is needed after running the application in production. Instead of using up production virtual datacenter resources, IT teams can conduct functional testing of the new version by replicating the production platform to the pre-production virtual datacenter, and then move it to the production virtual datacenter when it is ready to release to customers. In addition to reducing capital and operating expenses, customers report that their: Number of new projects increased by 21 percent Application time to market improved by 22 percent Rework and test improved by 26 percent Server incidents were reducted by 27 percent System downtime was reduced by 26 percent Moreover, customers that choose to implement virtualization with cloud computing capabilities sooner in their IT transformation report achieving high value lower costs and greater agility six times faster than enterprises that wait. Other Virtual Datacenter Uses The flexibility of the virtual datacenter model makes it a viable, cost-effective model for many application environments in addition to development and testing, production and upgrades. Total cost of ownership is a key consideration when declining and aging applications can create usage and therefore resource requirement fluctuations. IT can strategically move workloads between production and pre-production virtual datacenters to reduce costs and still meet end-user requirements. In a traditional datacenter environment, companies build their datacenters for peak demand, which can result in costly resources sitting idle for long periods of time. A company participating in a trade show can temporarily leverage a production virtual datacenter to quickly deliver more capacity to accommodate a 50-prospect demonstration environment. Another example, the conference room pilot, involves demonstrating an application to prospective customers from a conference room. This is the perfect opportunity to leverage a pre-production virtual datacenter to temporarily have an instance of the application running, without needing high-performance production levels. Declining (Old) Emerging (New) VMWARE JOURNEY TO YOUR CLOUD EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW, 2011 Core (Strategic) Figure 1: Example of strategically moving workloads between Virtual Datacenters. Which Virtual Datacenter is Right for Which Workload? Few cloud service providers offer companies a choice of multiple types of virtual datacenters to serve the needs of different workloads and different business requirements. However, the ability to match workloads to virtual datacenters based on specific characteristics can drastically increase efficiencies. To choose the 4

5 right virtual datacenter for the right workload, companies must carefully assess resource and cost demands for each workload they are considering moving to the cloud. MATCHING WORKLOADS TO VIRTUAL DATACENTERS: IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS STEP 1: Assess Your Risk Profile There are different risk profiles for different applications, so you must consider requirements around: Security Performance Flexibility Contractual commitment IT governance Ensure that you get the appropriate level of value from the Virtual Datacenter per your risk profile. STEP 2: Access Resource Predictability Identify your flexibility needs based on how predictable your workload is. You need different degrees of flexibility for production vs. pre-production workloads. Identify how much capacity you will need to be able to quickly access. For top-tier workloads, you want the right amount of capacity available when you need it. STEP 3: Assess Service and Resource Management Needs Analyze how you will need to be able to distribute capacity. You may need the ability to distribute capacity across teams, departments, applications or projects. Self-service or managed service? For some business units and projects, you need self-service cloud management capabilities white for others you may need managed services to achieve optimal ROI. STEP 4: Assess Cost Sensitivty What services are you willing to pay for vs. do yourself? You need to be able to quickly make some changes yourself, while others might be better handled by the cloud provider. Identify a balance to prevent too much service for the business need and budget. You should establish how much you are willing to pay for security, performance, flexibility and contractual commitment levels. To optimize your IT budget, it is important to have the flexibility to change your mind and move workloads around, out to the cloud to the appropriate platform and back if needed. Understand what types of changes and movements you can make with your resources once they are in a virtual datacenter. After assessing your application risk profile, resource predictability, service and resource management needs and cost sensitivity, you will be able to establish which virtual datacenter type is the most 5

6 appropriate for a specific application. Once you make the move to running workloads from one or more virtual datacenters to better meet your pre-production and production needs, you will realize a new level of operational flexibility, see ongoing opportunities to reduce costs, and have the scalability to adapt to changing IT requirements. Benefits of Leveraging Multiple Virtual Datacenters Companies desiring a more agile approach to business operations and IT service delivery can turn to virtual datacenters hosted in the public cloud for flexible infrastructure resources and cloud services. Leveraging multiple virtual datacenters increases the flexibility, cost-efficiency and agility that organizations can realize from adopting a public cloud strategy: Resource efficiency Leverage one public cloud provider s platform with multiple virtual datacenter options rather than more than one platform, and mix and match applications to the most appropriate virtual datacenter Centralized control Deploy applications for multiple business units in the same virtual datacenter environment, empower groups with self-service capabilities, and equip IT managers with role-based access Distributed capacity Assign individualized infrastructure resources and security to different application teams and business units, enable each group to have its own virtual datacenter environment without increasing IT management complexity, and offload simple operations such as virtual machine creation and control to individual departments Flexible capacity and bursting Leverage flexible capacity and bursting month after month to accommodate changing user demands Cost-effective backup and recovery Back up to a pre-production site to reduce costs while effectively protecting your production environment with a sound backup and recovery plan Positive end-user experience Provide a more consistent end-user experience by running the right workloads in the right virtual datacenter, which enables both cost efficiency and the performance needed for mission-critical applications Bluelock s Unique Approach to Virtual Datacenters In addition to the more common features of virtual datacenters, Bluelock offers unique capabilities and services that offer customers additional advantages. Bluelock Virtual Datacenters are pools of resources hosted in the public cloud. You can allocate and reallocate the resource components (memory, storage, bandwidth and compute) as needed rather than building a new virtual datacenter with the desired resource configuration. For instance, you can add memory to an individual server, in contrast to other service providers where you would have to invest in another, larger server to get the memory allocation needed. You can also mix and match your workloads to the optimal virtual datacenter type. Bluelock Virtual Datacenters offer different virtual datacenter types, VMware compatibility, robust cost management tools and flexible burst options. Bluelock Virtual Datacenter Types Two distinct Bluelock Virtual Datacenter options provide you the flexibility to match workloads to the right datacenter, shift workloads from one Bluelock Virtual Datacenter to the other if requirements change, and leverage a hybrid cloud strategy, moving workloads from your onsite datacenter to the public cloud and back again. Bluelock Virtual Datacenters include a pre-production version as well as one particularly suited to production workloads. 6

7 5-Series Virtual Datacenter The Bluelock 5-Series Virtual Datacenter is a reliable and scalable cloud hosting solution designed for workloads and applications requiring high availability and a superior end-user experience. The main features include: Designed with enterprise architecture for production workloads Delivers committed resources to insulate impact on application performance from other applications Ensures your mission-critical production applications will perform well Guarantees reserved capacity when you need it Variations of the model align price with client risk profiles Allows purchasing flexibility with varying commitment levels Designed for stability, growth and bursting Serves as the primary conduit for advanced networking, load balancing and firewalls for the other Bluelock Virtual Datacenters 2-Series Virtual Datacenter The Bluelock 2-Series Virtual Datacenter is a scalable, on-demand datacenter designed to enable fast deployment of public cloud resources and considerable day-to-day flexibility. Key features include: Suitable for pre-production, transient workloads Matches the risk profile and budget of less critical workloads Enables quick access to datacenter resources Offers pay-as-you-go billing with access to a portal with utilization and cost metrics Designed and architected for enterprise applications with resource cost sensitivity VMware Technology and Compatibility Bluelock is a certified VMware vcloud Datacenter Provider and is taking a prescriptive approach from VMware about virtualization tools and best practices. Bluelock enables hybrid cloud computing that is consistent with the technology and management tools that VMware virtualization clients currently use to manage their own private clouds internally. VMware is the primary hypervisor for 58% of organizations that use x86 virtualization software, according to independent market research group Vanson Bourne in a survey of more than 500 large businesses. Bluelock Virtual Datacenters, VMware vcloud Datacenter services, are built on proven VMware solutions, including VMware vsphere, VMware vcloud Director, VMware vcloud API, VMware vcenter Chargeback and VMware vshield products. You can leverage your VMware tools and technologies such as VMware vcloud Director and VMware vcloud Connector to move workloads between your datacenter and Bluelock Virtual Datacenters. Your IT staff benefits from the familiarity of VMware technology and can be confident that your virtual environment will run effectively in the Bluelock cloud. Virtual Datacenter Cost Management: Bluelock Portfolio To take advantage of the diverse features and capabilities of multiple virtual datacenter platforms, you need the tools to monitor application delivery and to know when it makes sense to move resources from one workload to another, and to move workloads from one type of virtual datacenter to another. Bluelock Portfolio, which is unique in the marketplace, provides this. With most clouds, customers do not have the visibility into resource utilization on a daily basis to prevent over-spending. Bluelock Portfolio helps customers manage their hybrid cloud and helps avoid waste and sprawl. Bluelock Portfolio: 7

8 Is a cloud-aware decision support tool that offers deeper visibility into applications and the true cost of IT resources Enables you to adjust your virtual datacenters and resource components to better align utilization with spending Allows you to break down your cloud costs by region, site location, line of business, application, or virtual datacenter Provides visibility into which business units, applications, or technology components are consuming the largest amounts of your budget Empowers you to quickly pinpoint spending trends and outliers so you can help educate your team about what is really happening in your environment and the impact of specific patterns Offers the tools to identify over-provisioned applications and potential overages so users can work with Bluelock Client Support to remedy Also allows users to take immediate action from within Bluelock Portfolio by clicking through to the self-service portal powered by VMware vcloud Director, where they can quickly turn up or down the amount of resources inside your virtual datacenter Figure 2: View costs by resource in Bluelock Portfolio. Flexible Burst Options Another significant advantage of leveraging Bluelock Virtual Datacenters is having flexible burst options with different levels of burstable capacity. Bluelock flexible burst options allow you to fit the right costs and resources to individual and changing workload behaviors. Depending on how predictable your capacity requirements are and whether users might otherwise be impacted by temporary planned or unplanned traffic growth, Bluelock offers the amount of CPU power you need to quickly burst capacity to accommodate periods of increased demand. You can then retract the added capacity once the period is over. 8

9 WHITEPAPER Unpredictable. Bursty & Unpredictable. Bursty & Predictable. Growing. Stable & Predictable. Figure 3: Examples of Virtual Datacenter allocations based on workload types. Conclusion While virtual datacenters are providing an opportunity for enterprises to operate with a new level of IT and business agility, one type of virtual datacenter does not meet the requirements of all business applications. IT departments dedicating staff and financial resources to move a variety of applications through their lifecycles need different virtual datacenter environments for different workloads at different times. Bluelock s unique approach to virtual datacenters offers organizations the underlying technologies, flexibility and management capabilities to deliver IT services and applications in a more cost-effective, strategic way than what is possible with other IaaS options in the marketplace. After thoroughly assessing workload requirements and establishing which Bluelock Virtual Datacenter is right for which workload, IT organizations can leverage the multiple virtual datacenter model to operate more responsively to internal clients and customers alike, and to have a positive impact on the bottom line. About Bluelock Bluelock provides mid-size and large enterprises flexible IT infrastructure solutions with its Bluelock Virtual Datacenters hosted in the public cloud. Bluelock s unique customer approach leads to innovative solutions that offer unprecedented visibility and control, helping customers make better decisions about risk, agility and operational efficiency. Bluelock, a VMware vcloud Datacenter service provider, facilitates a true hybrid cloud approach for IT departments and business units seeking choice, platform compatibility and a proven cloud partner that focuses on each customer s unique infrastructure needs. About VMware VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive in the cloud era. Customers rely on VMware to help them transform the way they build, deliver, and consume information technology resources in a manner that is evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2011 revenues of $3.77 billion, VMware has more than 350,000 customers and 50,000 partners. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world. Bluelock, LLC Morenci Trail, Indianapolis, IN Tel Bluelock, LLC. All rights reserved. This product is protected by U.S. intellectual property laws. Bluelock is a registered trademark of Bluelock, LLC in the U.S., and/or other jurisdictions. All other marks and names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. 9

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