A look at how WAN choke points, and the need to future proof private cloud investment suggests that public data centres or colocation centres rather than public cloud are the immediate evolution for on-premise data centres.
Holiday makers can manage their own transport, driving all the way to their destination if necessary, but for international travel most choose to drive as far as the airport and make use of the wide variety of lost-cost, high-speed air services available from there. Others get a cab to the airport to save the hassle of driving at all and some first class air travel even includes a limo service to take you the airport. It just makes sense. These days, just as travellers don’t necessarily need to drive themselves anywhere, companies adopting private cloud are finding that they don’t necessarily need their own data centres.
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Public, private and hybrid cloud
Most enterprises are adopting a hybrid cloud strategy in order to make the most of the respective benefits of public and private cloud. For some workloads public cloud is not only the most cost-effective option, but it also offers rapid access to a vast array of available services, such as all those on the AWS marketplace.
private cloud is used for workloads where you need control over the compute environment
Conversely private cloud is used for workloads where you need control over the compute environment for technical reasons (especially where legacy platforms or architectures) or where proximity is important (such as for data intensive applications where compute power needs to be near big data stores) or for reasons of protection, risk aversion, compliance and regulation.
The question remains, which public cloud provider to go for and where to site your private cloud.
Private cloud in a private data centre
The main argument for using private data centres appears to be inertia. Companies want to continue using and gaining a return from existing facilities and infrastructure. Once virtualised and optimised for cloud services, existing infrastructure can be, and often are, used to host private cloud. However over time the following issues will become increasingly evident:
- The WAN bottleneck
A wide area connection from the private data centre is required to interconnect with other corporate data centres as well as with public cloud services. There is a limited choice of carriers and connectivity options and unless bandwidth is adequate this topology can create a bottleneck.
- Future proofing
If in the longer term greater use of public cloud or colocation services is likely to lead to the eventual closure of the private data centre, then any further investment in this facility will eventually need to be written off.
The move to private can be a catalyst to relocate existing equipment sooner rather than later in order to optimise provision from within a public data centre or regional colocation centre. Once relocated the migration from legacy to new infrastructure within the colocation centre can be phased-in in order to mitigate risk and optimise cost and performance.
Private cloud in a public data centre or regional colocation centre
With more than 1,000 carriers worldwide that interconnect in more than 2,000 colocation centres, one of the best ways for enterprises to leverage the available global fibre infrastructure is to locate within a regional colocation centre and then leverage variety of major networks available from these locations.
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An enterprise opting to locate its private cloud services in a regional colocation centre and then connect to additional public cloud services from there will find that many of these cloud services are available from within the colocation centre itself or from a peered location with a very low latency connection. Equinix is an example of a colocation provider that offers a network hub service called Performance Hub. It provides direct Ethernet connectivity to IaaS cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Access from the main enterprise sites to the colocation centre will be dependent on getting high-speed, cost-effective network links either direct or via a carrier hub. GTT is an example of this, providing a high-speed, cost-effective on-ramp to the cloud and then extending the reach to other colocation centres where other CSPs might be present. In this way, the chosen colocation centre need never be just an end destination but rather a hub from which to travel onwards.
- Mobile, remote and external access
If a significant proportion of your traffic is from either mobile or remote workers then high-quality user experience can be maintained and network latency minimised from a colocation centre with direct connections to major carriers. Likewise if external client access is critical.
- Video and converged media
The network requirements to support high-bandwidth, low-latency voice and video applications are increasing as are the converged services offered by carriers that link directly to major colocation facilities.
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Before sinking any further investment into corporate data centres that may be redundant in a matter of years, especially if you’re about to embark of a large private cloud implementation, consider the option of hosting your private cloud in a public data centre or regional colocation centre. You wouldn’t normally drive all the way to a foreign holiday destination, indeed you might not even want to drive as far as the airport. Well you don’t have to. With GTT as your on-ramp to the cloud and with a 1,000 carriers worldwide that interconnect in more than 2,000 colocation centres, there is a compelling case for closing some, if not all, of your data centres and opting for the ‘Private/Public Nirvana’: a combination of private cloud and public data centres with links to everything beyond.