Why Managed vCenter Provider cannot be called Cloud Provider?

Before I answer the question of the title of this article, let’s start with what is public cloud and how a public cloud can be defined.

In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for “the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” where different services and applications are delivered to an organization through the Internet.

Cloud computing is a method of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having own dedicated local resources to handle workloads such as an application. In this type of computing, unused resources are released back to the pool of resources and reutilised when resources are in demand.

There may be differences in service and application offered by cloud service provider but almost all cloud service provider offer some common services, automation, compliance and utilities to tenant. Almost all major service providers have common characteristics and some has enhanced characterises when comes to cloud computing:

Example: Microsoft Azure Platform or Amazon Web Services

Common Features:

Shared Hardware: By definition public cloud is a multi-tenant environment, resources are shared among clients. Multiple clients are hosted on the same hardware, storage and network devices as the other tenants in the cloud.

Cost effective: Public clouds bring together greater levels of resource and so can benefit from the largest economies of scale. The centralised operation and management of the underlying resources is shared across all of the subsequent cloud services whilst components, such as servers, require less bespoke configuration. Some mass market propositions can even be free to the client, relying on advertising for their revenue.

Ownership and proprietary obligations: You may curious to know who owns what between your cloud provider and you. Your cloud provider owns the layer of physical hardware which you don’t have any control or say what they buy or replace. But you have the ownership of your data, intellectual properties, virtual servers and application. As long as you pay the bills and you do lawful business on hosted environment, your service provider has no rights to switch off or being regular outage on the virtual servers and application without you being notified or compensated.

Enhanced Features:

Self-management: with the high volume, utility model, self-managed systems are required for this business model to make sense. Advantage here for the tech savvy tenants that like to setup and manage the details of their own domain, servers and application by themselves. In this type of cloud based solution provides client with control of their own data and intellectual properties. Self-service is also provide a sense of ownership to a tenant who is willing to manage their own uses of the service and application and keep track of bills and data they own.

Security: Since public cloud is a multi-tenant environment, physical and logical securities are in place to protect a tenant being visible by another tenant. Security is not just placing a Cisco ASA or Juniper firewall in the front of internet and having some virtual switches in vCenter. This is the security that complies with corporate policies and regulations of each territories, the tenant resides.

Hardware Performance: In the public cloud, you cannot select the physical hardware such as compute, cache, network or storage devices. Your virtual server is placed on whatever hardware and network, the cloud provider designates for you. But you have the choice to buy various types of compute, network, load balancer, virtual IP address and storage based on your requirement such as specific IOPS and latency requirement by your application. You can chose to place virtual server with high IOPS capability and very low latency storage. Off course there will extra cost involve by doing so but you will be at least guaranteed performance of the virtual machine. Example: Azure Storage Classification

Network: Even though public cloud is a shared model but you have the choice to procure a dedicated high bandwidth secure network within the shared network guaranteed by the provider. The service provider also guarantees you the security of this network your company procured from the service provider.Example: Azure ExpressRoute

Utility Model: Public Clouds typically deliver a pay-as-you-go model, where you pay by the hour for the compute resources you use. This is an economical way to go if you’re spinning up & tearing down development servers on a regular basis.

No Contracts: Along with the utility model, you’re only paying by the hour – if you want to shut down your server after only 2 hours of use, there is no contract requiring your ongoing use of the server.

Reliability: The sheer number of servers and networks involved in creating a public cloud and the redundancy configurations mean that should one physical component fail, the cloud service would still run unaffected on the remaining components. In some cases, where clouds draw resource from multiple data centres, an entire data centre could go offline and individual cloud services would suffer no ill effect. There is, in other words, no single point of failure which would make a public cloud service vulnerable

Flexibility: There are many IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services available on the market which follow the public cloud model and that are ready to be accessed as a service from any internet enabled device. These services can fulfil most computing requirements and can deliver their benefits to private and enterprise clients alike. Businesses can even integrate their public cloud services with private clouds, where they need to perform sensitive business functions, to create hybrid clouds. Example: Azure Service fabric

Ultimate scalability: cloud resources are available on demand from the public clouds’ vast pools of resource so that the applications that run on them can respond seamlessly to fluctuations in activity. You can acquire a vast pool of resources on to your domain via self-service portal without engaging the service provider. Example: Azure Big Data

Delivery through internet: The availability of public cloud services through an internet connection ensures that the services are available wherever the client is located. This provides invaluable opportunities to enterprise such as remote access to IT infrastructure or online document collaboration from multiple locations. Examples: Microsoft Office 365.

Hybrid Deployments: If a dedicated server is required to run a high speed and high IO database application that on-premises resources can be integrated from a private cloud to public cloud, in effect, hybridising the solution between virtual servers and dedicated servers. The service provider also provides you an option to hybridise your environment you own.

To answer the question, here is my explanation why Managed vCenter Provider cannot be called Cloud Provider?

A single virtual center server is a management point of this type of service provider mostly managed by the small technology team. This type of provider is acting as a trustee of your data instead of a cloud provider. There are possible security and compliance flaws of the systems you may not aware of. There might be potential many single point of failure you may not aware. The bills you received from this type of service provider you never been verified that you truly used those services and application because there is no self-service mechanism with this unscrupulous service provider. There is potential downtime and service outage with this service provider which you have never been compensated. This type of unscrupulous service provider do not follow any service level agreement or respect the agreement they signed. You are sacrificing your productivity by relying on them to provide you a hosted service which you never received with reliably. You cannot simply call them cloud provider. A term should be introduced saying “Managed vCenter” and “Trustee of Data”.

I may be the blogger who is saying this. But here is the global researcher “Gartner Inc.” has to say on who can be called cloud service provider as on May 2015.

Garnter Magic Quadrent

Related Articles:

Understand “X as a Service” or get stuck in “Pizza box as a Service”

Gartner’s verdict on mid-range and enterprise class storage arrays

Understanding Software Defined Storage (SDS)

About Raihan Al-Beruni

My Name is Raihan Al-Beruni. I am working as an Infrastructure Architect in Data Center Technologies in Perth, Western Australia. I have been working on Microsoft technologies for more than 15 years. Other than Microsoft technologies I also work on Citrix validated solution and VMware data center virtualization technologies. I have a Masters degree in E-Commerce. I am certified in Microsoft, VMware, ITIL and EMC. My core focus is on cloud technologies. In my blog I share my knowledge and experience to enrich information technology community as a whole. I hope my contribution through this blog will help someone who wants more information on data center technologies.
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