Cloud computing – while a liberating option for businesses looking for greater flexibility and lower costs – is also a perplexing prospect for IT given the number of choices available on the market today.
In a recent whitepaper, “Why All Clouds Are Not Created Equal” Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) explains the differences between enterprise and public clouds as well as new advances available in carrier clouds. As Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) points out, the different cloud models vary from “classical information and communication technology (ICT) architectures, where each application requires dedicated resources, and particular parts of the application (compute tier, database tier) are allocated to specific blades or servers.”
Difference between public, private and hybrid clouds
Public clouds – such as Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) or Google – offer a consumption-based model. They are optimized to deliver the highest compute capacity for the money but not the highest compute power per individual server. As for the software component of public clouds, they tend to use open source software such as OpenStack, CloudStack, and the Xen and KVM hypervisors.
While public clouds are good for compute and storage services, and offer virtual appliances to manage traffic and secure applications, load-balancing services, firewalls and threat management systems are typically limited in that a generic set of virtual appliances is offered, according to the whitepaper.
The focus of enterprise clouds – a.k.a. private clouds – are different in that the focus is on new?or legacy applications with special architectural, performance, availability, and security requirements.
“Enterprise clouds can be private clouds installed on customer premises, or virtual private clouds hosted on dedicated equipment in the service provider data centers, or a combination of both variants,” the whitepaper said.
In many cases, especially in industries that have to adhere to compliance regulations, enterprise clouds are beneficial since they are often dealing with sensitive data.
CIOs need to make sure that detailed company security policies and data-center best practices, as well as government regulations,?are implemented (such as with ITIL, SAS (News - Alert) 70, ISO, the U.S. Sarbanes Oxley Act or the European Data Protection Directive), for example.
In some cases, organizations opt for a hybrid cloud model, using enterprise clouds to store highly sensitive information, and then burst demand peaks into a third-party cloud. Finally, enterprise clouds offer more options for service level agreements (SLAs).
“While public cloud SLAs provide quite reasonable service availability guarantees of 99.95 percent or even higher, definitions of what constitutes an outage are often strongly skewed in favor of the cloud provider. With enterprise clouds, SLAs go beyond bare uptime levels,” Alcatel-Lucent said.
According to an Alcatel-Lucent study of more than 3,800 IT decision makers in better performance is the top demand to improve adoption of the cloud. Current public clouds are highly centralized and users access their cloud resources via the Internet.
Carrier clouds are emerging solution
In addition, telecommunications carriers are taking advantage of the transformation of their network assets to develop carrier clouds which combining some of the best assets from both enterprise and public clouds and adding strong network capabilities.
“CSPs can offer carrier cloud services directly to their customers and also use them internally to transform their own service platforms and operations toward the cloud model with enhanced cost structure and agility,” according to the whitepaper.
In fact, solutions such as ALU’s Cloudband™ have been tailored to enable carriers to improve their own operations by leveraging the cloud as well as offer cloud-based services to a broad array of customers. Cloudband is comprised of two elements:
- The CloudBand Management System, which delivers orchestration and optimization of services between the communications network and the cloud.
- The CloudBand Node, which provides the computing, storage and networking hardware and associated software to host a wide range of cloud services.
These enable creation of a single elastic environment that delivers guaranteed performance and availability internally and externally.
In summary, in the age of cloud, CSPs have a new opportunity to offer carrier clouds and bring value to a market that pure cloud providers cannot do as readily. All clouds are not created equal and it is important to make sure in considering when, where, what, why and how, a specific solution is optimized for your needs. It may well be that a carrier cloud service from your service provider is best for you.
Edited by Peter Bernstein