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1091 posts

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# 144090 7-May-2014 11:46
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Just wanted to kick off a discussion on IaaS. Our organisation is about to start looking at migrating an old server room which is at capacity to an IaaS provider. We've got ~250 VMs which we'll be looking to move.

I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has done or is doing something similar. What was your approach? What went into your business case? etc

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2547 posts

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  # 1038248 7-May-2014 11:55
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We recently assessed whether this was viable for an environment here, and ultimately determined it is not at this stage. Most of our reason for that decision was around the lack of throughput capability between the hosted infrastructure environment and our site. We have pushed some lower-bandwidth customer-facing infrastructure into a hosted environment, but with the potential for shifting some massive quantities of data, the practicality and cost of getting a 10Gbps link in was deemed not viable for us at this stage. If our throughput requirements were lower, and we could get away with a 1Gbps connection, it would probably have worked out better, and we plan to revisit this in a couple of years to reassess the cost. Our environment is smaller than yours (~120VMs), but the volume of data handled on a regular basis is quite a bit above average.

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Lifetime subscriber

  # 1038255 7-May-2014 12:01
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We have customers with that many VM's on our IaaS and it works very well, I can provide some references to chat with if you like.  These customers do tend to have 1Gbps or 10Gbps connections into our sites though, and that is something to consider given the volume of servers and likely throughput you'll experience with users connecting to what was previously local.  If you were running 1Gbps locally then a 1Gbps link to theCloud would be enough.

The migration process can be fairly straight-forward if the environments are similar or compatible.  For example you could use the vCloud Connector to extend your network to theCloud during the migration, leaving the servers local to you LAN throughout the process.  Or fully extend the VLANs to theCloud as a part of the interconnect (this seems to be more common) so that the only change is to the underlying hardware platform.

Lots to think about, but there are plenty of case studies to prove it is both viable and worthwhile.




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Uber Geek

  # 1038281 7-May-2014 12:36
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Did a piece of analysis for work and it came down to the following:

We use a lot of niche apps (hotel, POS, etc) that are only available from single vendors. They require a lot of feeding and watering to keep going. If we were going to move these into an IaaS provider we would face all the same challenges, plus be paying a cost per hour of having them running. They would be running 24/7. Building a new server for our POS system requires vendor engagement and runs at 2 weeks or so. A metaphor used is pets vs cattle. We currently treat our servers like pets. They have names and if they get sick we nurse them back to health. IaaS suits the cattle approach - your server has a number, when it gets sick it is blown away and replaced with another - automatically.

This led on to a look at our processes - we use very little automation beyond deploying templates. This is fine on our infrastructure - we don't pay per hour. If we take 4 hours to build a server from a template who cares. If that cost use 4 hours x hourly cost that adds up. IaaS is absolutely amazing if you have automation and suitable apps - the ability to burst as required without infrastructure expansion is phenomenal. In our case doing that isn't possible.

When you then add on challenges around connectivity, requirements for multi site DR and a lack of performance guarantees (we have some apps that have very high IO requirements) it just doesn't add up.

Private Cloud looked really good for us as far as management of our existing infrastructure in a more automated manner and Automation presents massive opportunities, however we do not have our processes defined well enough to start building them in an automation framework.

Other Challenges:
Proximity of DCs for Latency
Relevant Legislation (financial records not stored in NZ, US rights to check your data)
Ease/Difficulty of getting data in and out of providers
SLA negotiation - how to measure if these are being met
Lack of visibility of infrastructure layer when troubleshooting

My exec summary from my Doc:

The Cloud is an ambiguous term used to describe a number of differing technologies and often sold an a panacea to all of IT’s ills. Unfortunately the reality of Cloud Computing is less rosy.  

At the most basic level, Cloud Computing is the ability to import, build and run virtual machines in a remote data centre. This is the fundamental building block of all cloud solutions.  

There are various levels of cloud service, from infrastructure to platform to software, each with benefits and challenges. In the Infrastructure space clouds can be private, public or a hybrid, depending on the location of the infrastructure used.  

Benefits from using Cloud Services tend to focus on the ability to quickly right-size infrastructure, rapidly provision and decommission capacity and efficiencies in cost. However these benefits can be difficult to realise without changes to how business processes and systems are structures, which is the case at xxx.

xxx may be able to leverage Software as a Service solutions for point systems in future as they have done with the IT Service Desk. Infrastructure as a Service may present benefits when deployed as a private cloud, however hybrid and public cloud deployments do not appear to make economic or functional sense at this stage.

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Uber Geek


  # 1038581 7-May-2014 20:26
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if you haven't looked into IaaS on Microsoft Azure, and want to find out a bit more, please get in touch with me.  Its the right time of year to be looking for quotes on this sort of stuff :-)   regan dot murphy at

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Uber Geek

  # 1043142 13-May-2014 17:04
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Hi all, thanks for the input. On discussing this with a few others who have gone down this path (specifically IaaS in NZ) it seems that the greater volume they commit the better the price gets. Which on the face of it makes but isn't one of the benefits of the cloud supposed to be that the small guy gets all the scalability at the same price as the big guy?

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Uber Geek


  # 1043147 13-May-2014 17:20
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IaaS in NZ can be more expensive than you'd expect. Ballpark for 4 core 4 GB RAM managed Windows server with backups is $1000/month through a top level provider. You can get dedicated Xeon servers for around NZ$200 from decent hosts like HostGator in the US, or a much higher end server for still less than half of NZ IaaS. Data sovereignty and the managed service have some value.

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Master Geek

  # 1046365 16-May-2014 15:36
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timmmay:Data sovereignty and the managed service have some value.

I don't think data sovereignty is applicable. As part of the Anglo-Saxon world, I doubt there are any restrictions on the NSA to suck in all your data.


2092 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1046367 16-May-2014 15:40
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timmmay:Data sovereignty and the managed service have some value.

I don't think data sovereignty is applicable. As part of the Anglo-Saxon world, I doubt there are any restrictions on the NSA to suck in all your data.

Unless it is financial data and you want to be compliant with the IRD.

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