Virtual Private Data Centre
…abbreviated to VPDC – is a high level virtual computing environment designed to deliver a data centre capability to the subscribing organisation. The fact that your business may be looking at establishing either a real data centre or a virtual one indicates that you have some very exacting requirements and require the highest degree of control over your IT services.
A customer-deployed data centre will typically consisted of a number of infrastructure elements including;
- Firewalls: A firewall protects your system from unauthorised users and applications based on a set of rules you define.
- Routers: Routing devices provide the interconnectivity between your systems and the internet and are a crucial element to any data centre environment.
- Switches: A switch provides access to various machines in your network and may be configured to restrict network segments to being private or public in nature. Many switches today use VLAN or virtual local area network protocols to logically segment your network into operational spheres.
- Co-location racks: The enclosures within which your hardware items reside, usually requiring fibre or Cat5/6 structured cabling in order to build out your network.
- Server hardware: This is the hardware platform that your operating system and applications resides on.
- Storage Area Networks: When utilising large amounts of data, a Storage Area Network (SAN) provides a central repository of data storage in a highly redundant environment.
- Load balancers: Generally used within a web hosting environment, a load balancing device detects servers that over-capacity and redirects user requests to a mirror server or cluster that is not under similar load. This failover or load sharing is not dependent on systems being within the same network segment and can route requests to any geographical location.
- Intrusion prevention / detection: IDS or IPS are security systems which detect threats at the network and application level. They act as burglar alarms for any suspicious activity such as port scanning or a virus attempting to propagate across the network. These systems have now advanced to provide automated threat blocking and are able to update firewall systems automatically.
The inherent costs incurred of creating, engineering and deploying a data centre environment with all the systems listed above is prohibitive for many organisations. Furthermore, subsequent configuration, testing and tuning would usually extend a project by months and act as a lengthy barrier to going live.
A Virtual Private Data Centre (VPDC) is a cloud-based service that allows for all these data centre functions to be virtualised thus allowing configuration and resources to be deployed “on demand”. Many VPDC providers offer a set of templates that are configured on a ‘digital canvas’ and are then deployed once your design is completed. This has the benefit of allowing your organisation to rapidly deploy a datacentre environment for a fraction of the cost and time traditionally required.
There are compelling reasons to use a Virtual Private Data Centre solution for both providers of SaaS services, hosting organisations and indeed business users.
Deployment and provisioning
Hardware purchases, data centre rack set-up and configuration of all systems and commercial agreements means deployment time of a traditional “grass-roots” Data Centre system may take months. Using a cloud VPDC provider enables your system architects to create a system within hours potentially.
Most VPDC providers offer system templates that allow for instant activation and operation of systems. An example could be a web server template which is deployed onto a virtual system and ready for use in minutes. Other templates include routing, networking, firewalling and intrusion detection / prevention systems.
Control panel and digital canvas
A VPDC provider will provide a simple intuitive control panel to manage your systems and reporting. A digital canvas allows you to design and test a system before deployment. Neither of these things is immediately and instantly available when building your own physical data centre infrastructure.
You may already operate and manage a physical data centre. Using a VPDC as a redundant environment allows your organisation to have a standby data centre in the event of system crash or loss of connectivity. By synchronising between your data centre environments, your “standby” data centre will help to ensure minimal disruption in the event of an outage with your primary facility.
Project led deployments
The flexible contract terms typically offered by cloud virtual private data centre providers are sympathetic to project deployments that require larger resources in terms of hardware and systems or short-term “bursty” usage. By using a VPDC provider your organisation benefits from flexible terms allowing systems to increase and reduce in terms of scope and size.
Traditionally hardware failure on core infrastructure devices such as routers and switches would result in short or protracted system downtime. To mitigate this risk, systems such as firewalls and routers were deployed in redundant configurations increasing costs to the organisation. A VPDC – being virtual in nature – allows for multiple tiers of redundant systems. It is not tied to a specific physical hardware layer; this mitigates the risk of any underlying hardware failure.
Cloud computing has revolutionised how we consume and access systems and applications. By using a cloud virtual private data centre, your systems and applications will have excess capacity available instantly on demand whilst commercially your organisation will benefit from better cash flow by moving onto a operational expenditure model.
A virtual private data centre offers many advantages to an organisation looking to deploy scalable high capacity computing. Here are a couple of the main things to consider when looking for a solution.
Data protection and regulatory considerations
The physical location of your provider may negate your choices. Always confirm where your data is held geographically and check compliance to any supervisory or legislative body.
Design and testing
When designing your data centre always test each element, security considerations should be levied in the same way as a physical environment. Depending on the nature of your business Compare the Cloud would always advise conducting a vulnerability scan or penetration test prior to moving systems into production state.
Scope of service and contractual agreement
It is always advisable to agree a contractual scope of service incorporating elements such as demarcation of support elements, service level agreement and uptime guarantees.
Not all virtual private data centres are the same
Always perform your due-diligence on the providers underlying architecture and levels of redundancy inherent in the system. Ensure you’re comfortable with the operational elements such as firewall and server systems and ease of configuration. Always conduct a trial of before committing to a contract.
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and narrow down your provider section based on the criteria you set. Contact us today via our Cloud Discovery Service.
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