The easy way to become a cloud provider: hyper-converged infrastructures in the white label model
Companies are going into the cloud, system houses are going with it and becoming providers of cloud services. This new business model expands the previous market for server and web hosting as well as managed services. But the structure requires the expansion of the data center, a suitable software stack and the know-how to operate and administer it.
Are well suited for system houses and IT service providers White-Label-Solutions. The reseller uses the resources and know-how of a cloud provider. There are two possible variants: Firstly, it makes the provider’s cloud services available under its own brand – but uses the cloud provider’s data center capacities or uses its own data center with the provider’s cloud stack.
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The stack becomes the “operating system” of the data center and supplies the customers of the system houses with cloud services. In order for the business model to work for resellers, however, a different type of infrastructure is required, as is common for web or SAP hosting, for example.
The basic functional principle of a cloud is the virtualization of all IT resources. They are distributed to the active users by management software. This form of data center operation is also known as hyper-converged infrastructure (Hyper Converged Infrastructure, (HCI) designated.
HCI solutions are based on a completely virtualized, software-centered IT architecture. The individual components such as processors, storage and networks are brought together in an appliance, a combination of hardware and software. The appropriate software provides the appropriate cloud services on this basis. This consists of the following components:
A software layer for Virtualizationthat depend on the underlying hardware
radiates. The hypervisor brings together all resources in a single, similar environment and dynamically distributes the resources provided as required.
Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
virtualizes data storage so that it is independent of hardware administer and have it provided. The software creates a virtual storage pool and automatically distributes data to one or more servers with free capacities.
Software-Defined Networking (SDN):
This form of virtualization separates the steering of the network (control plane) of the hardware for forwarding the data packets (data plane). The hardware is dynamically assigned network functions and changes in the network occur almost in real time.
for central monitoring and control.
HCI is able to integrate traditional server infrastructures, existing legacy IT and cloud services into a virtual architecture.
An important advantage: HCI uses standard servers “off the shelf”, which typically work with the Linux operating system. Proprietary hardware such as storage area networks (SANs) are not necessary. Instead, HCI appliances use so-called Direct Attached Storage (DAS), i.e. the hard drives on the servers. However, a crucial component is the management software. It ensures that all IT resources can be used flexibly and added dynamically. At the same time, it allows users to access virtual servers and storage as well as other virtual resources.
Such an HCI appliance is similar to a cloud service. More precisely: An offer in the public cloud can also be understood as the user interface of a high-performance hyper-converged infrastructure. A cloud stack is required for this. This gives users all the options of the public cloud as well as interfaces to other cloud offerings and legacy applications.
Using such an HCI appliance, the Swiss provider Hosttech GmbH, for example, provides its customers with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform Services (PaaS), i.e. classic cloud services. Basically it is a “Cloud as a Managed Service”. Both the stack and the customers are managed by the provider within the white label solution. The user interface not only allows the simple use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) by the end customer, but also provides the provider with extensive networking functions using software-defined networking.
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Even in times of peak loads, there are no bottlenecks because the provider’s resources are also available. An example: An online retailer uses the infrastructure from the cloud, but books additional servers in the run-up to Christmas or on days like Black Friday. Thanks to the HCI infrastructure and the connection to the cloud provider, the number of usable servers and storage areas is no longer limited by the hardware in your own data center. The usage dependent Pay-as-you-go Billing makes this model even more attractive.
Investing in a hyper-converged cloud architecture is worthwhile: digital workstations with virtual desktops or any other application scenarios can be implemented particularly quickly and expanded later. The quick expandability also allows use in agile software development including DevOps, the operation of applications for big data or the Internet of Things (IoT). Overall, the complexity of the IT infrastructures is decreasing. Applications of all kinds can be put into operation faster and scaled better – an opportunity for system houses in the cloud market.
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