A flexible fit: choosing a cloud infrastructure
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the fastest growing area of cloud computing, according to a global survey of 855 enterprises by GigaOM Research and North Bridge Venture Partners. It found that 45% are now using IaaS, up from 29% in 2012, driven in large part by the desire to move their computing infrastructures to an opex model.
Initially IaaS had most appeal among developers who wanted to test new applications in a sandbox or among Web-centric businesses such as Air B&B seeking fast growth but limited capital investment.
But as the technology has matured and security fears allayed, more companies are looking to IaaS as a platform for delivering their business-critical enterprise applications to internal users.
Orange is supporting these businesses with a range of enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure services created specifically for multinational companies. Already, Orange has racked up 600 customers of its Flexible Computing portfolio.
“Every business has different needs. Some require their data to be hosted in specific locations, others need tight control over security, or they may need massive scalability to cope with seasonal sales,” says Rob Norman, Head of International Marketing, Cloud Infrastructure Services at Orange Business Services.
“We designed our cloud infrastructure services to be very flexible. Firstly, your applications can run on either private or shared virtualized servers.
And secondly, we can fully manage them for you or you can self-manage.”
Flexible Computing has three options.
The basic service is Express, which is based on virtual private servers hosted in Orange cloud data centers. It is designed for those who want to manage their cloud infrastructure resources through a self-service portal. Within a few minutes, you can deploy a new server, choose how much memory, storage and processing power you need and what OS you want to run. You choose a reserve value and a maximum threshold. The portal allows you to view live consumption statistics and administer your resources in a Web interface.
Premium is the fully-managed version. Also built on virtual private servers, it lets you choose the level of management you want to retain and what to outsource. For mission-critical applications, you may require a high level of management, which encompasses network, server, OS, middleware and the applications themselves; for less important applications, you might choose to self-manage through the Express option. Private is similar to Premium, but applications run on dedicated virtualized servers, either inside the Orange cloud or managed by Orange on your sites.
The Flexible Computing portfolio is available worldwide. The 14 cloud-ready data centers plug directly into what is perhaps the largest cloud-ready network in the world, with 1,500 points-of-presence in 160 countries.
To guarantee the performance of applications, Orange offers SLAs for the network, infrastructure, OS and applications. These are contained within a single service management process.
“Flexible Computing is designed to remove the complexity of IT transformation,” concludes Norman. “One contract brings together the cloud, network and applications. And because everything is within the secure Orange network, you are assured of the integrity of your data.”
planning your migration
Large businesses can have hundreds of applications in use every day, so identifying which ones would benefit from IaaS is not always obvious. Orange has developed a cloud consulting service to help you build your cloud migration strategy. Step one is a cloud strategy assessment to understand what benefits cloud can bring to your business; step two is a feasibility analysis to identify what parts of your IT are eligible for a cloud model; step three is to map existing IT environments to cloud solutions; and step four is the cloud migration plan, which governs how to transition your workloads to IaaS.