How to become a cloud provider yourself with HCI

vom 24.03.2021

17.03.2021 I Henrik Hasenkamp

System houses and hosting providers can make use of hyperconvergent infrastructure to offer cloud services to their customers on site without any major additional effort of their own.

According to a survey by the market research company True Global Intelligence, the 250 companies surveyed in Germany expect the volume of data to increase 4.5-fold by 2025. This poses challenges not only for IT departments, but also for data center operators. Hyperconvergent infrastructures in the white label model offer a way to access flexible cloud resources.

Virtualization with hyperconvergence

To achieve uncomplicated maintenance and error-free operation of IT systems, IT experts must consider the central role of optimal coordination between the various resources.

In practice, the team's shared experience over the years is forming this convergence. On the one hand, this enables companies to meet increasing expectations of IT, while on the other hand keeping the infrastructure as simple as possible. However, this does not necessarily reduce the effort required for management and configuration. In fact, the majority of independent IT resources remain just that: independent of each other.

The next logical step in the evolution of abstracted IT resources is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). The difference to convergence: An HCI combines all infrastructure components into a single comprehensive appliance. This creates a virtualized cloud infrastructure through an overarching software layer. The management software then automatically manages all resources as required, ideally achieving particularly high scalability and reliability even with enormous data volumes.

Data center operation with white label solutions

Hyperconverged infrastructures thus offer the opportunity to virtualize a data center and manage all resources together. This makes them particularly interesting for system houses and hosting providers, as they offer services from their data centers to a large number of customers. It is not only corporate IT departments that have to face changing requirements and increasing data volumes, but also IT service providers. After all, the number of companies going digital will increase rather than decrease in the future.

In order to provide customers with such an HCI appliance quickly and easily, white label solutions have proven to be a good choice for system houses and service providers in practice. There are various ways to implement such an offer.

If the provider does not have its own data center available, it can use the capacities and data centers of the cloud provider to offer its customers resources under its own brand. In a second step, the data centers of the system houses and service providers can also be upgraded accordingly via suitable HCI technologies of the cloud providers and expanded to include a virtual cloud infrastructure.

IT service providers are thus able to quickly implement an attractive public cloud service or even hybrid cloud scenarios for their customers, even on the basis of their own data center resources. From the point of view of system houses and data center providers, probably the greatest advantage here is the outsourcing of the actual management and ongoing maintenance of the platform. This is because, regardless of the geographical location of the system house, for example, the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider continues to take care of this remotely from its own location. In this way, partners can concentrate entirely on marketing their new cloud solutions.

The use of cloud services and a hyperconvergent infrastructure are a suitable solution for the constantly increasing demands on future-oriented IT and data center operations. System houses no longer have to rely exclusively on their physical resources and are much more flexible due to the great scalability of the cloud. This means that there are no bottlenecks in computing power and storage capacity, even in times of maximum access load to customer systems. A number of example scenarios can be used to illustrate the advantages of this model:

Archiving software: E-mail archiving in particular is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of rising volumes. All histories must be reliably stored and retrievable at any time. For archiving software providers, this can mean that when a new customer is added, the volume of data increases to an almost unmanageable extent. Here, easier expandability offers a good solution.

eCommerce: In online retailing, there are always expected access peaks, such as at Christmas or Cyber Monday. This can cause servers to crash, making online stores inaccessible. Based on a cloud infrastructure, additional servers can also be provided automatically in real time if required. The advantage: once the rush is over, resources can be easily logged off again and no longer cause any further costs, because these are calculated according to the pay-as-you-go principle.

Connected cities: IoT (Internet of Things) is on the rise and cities are also becoming increasingly digital. However, the advancing equipment with sensors also means a rapidly growing volume of data, which can fluctuate depending on the activity in the city. From school vacations to after-work traffic, there can be significant differences depending on the time of day. Again, the cloud's dynamic computing resources are probably the best solution to deal with this. Resources can be added at will when there are major differences, or shut down when there is inactivity.

An example: data protection at an IT provider in Switzerland

Let's take the following example: a Swiss hosting provider provides its customers with both Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (PaaS) from its own data centers in the canton of Lucerne using the hybrid cloud stack of a German provider.

»Hyperconverged infrastructures offer the chance to virtualize a data center and manage all resources together. This makes them particularly interesting for system houses and hosting providers, as they offer services from their data centers to a large number of customers« - Henrik Hasenkamp, gridscale.

What is always important to keep in mind when using cloud services is that due to locations in different regions in Europe, users and providers are bound by strict data protection regulations. Thus, even in the public cloud, compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO) must always be ensured. If, for example, a system house based in the EU were to use the white label solution of a partner in the USA, this could lead to conflicts.

This is where cloud providers who have adapted their offering precisely to the required regulations and can also provide competent advice in this regard prove their worth. This gives the Swiss hosting provider from our example an advantage over the competition with its European customers that should not be underestimated.

Extensive benefits with little effort

The advantages of hyperconverged infrastructure are well known: high scalability, automatic resource planning and great flexibility. What is already familiar to IT companies is now making its way to system houses and data center operators.

The challenges include growing requirements and ever-increasing workloads in the digital space with simultaneously increasing competitive pressure. Access to the public cloud with HCI systems can help meet these challenges. Whitelabel offerings are particularly suitable for this and do not require data center operators to have extensive cloud expertise, as operation and maintenance often continue to be handled by the IaaS provider itself.

Click here for the original article in german.

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