Flipping the Cloud Paradigm – part II

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A little over a year ago I wrote “Are you a cloud paranoia”. The baseline of the post was that people don’t trust Public Cloud – mostly rightfully so – to own all their business information. We briefly touched on it in last week’s episode of In Tech We Trust as well due to Microsoft Azure (blob storage) going titsup again for more than 11hrs.

But it’s the last part of that blog I still think of a lot. I proposed the idea of flipping the Cloud Paradigm and running your total production in (public) clouds but using your local infrastructure as your DR-location. Here were some of the reasons: 

  • I still own my data when sh*t hits the fence
  • My buying cycle shifts almost completely from
  • My own infrastructure including power, cooling
    & hardware maintenance is minimal
  • If my own infrastructure is minimal maybe even
    my staffing could be minimal (this cost will shift to well trained service
  • Public/shared cloud providers have a core
    business is making their infrastructure as efficient as possible (SuperNap/RackSpace/…).
    If your provider adds new services that didn’t exist last year you’ll be the
    first to benefit from that.
  • you probably will have a better relationship
    with some consultants when you need help/advice

Your Cloud Storage is now Local

One of the challenges with my proposal would be what technology to use here. One idea would be running your apps hybrid but that could be an expensive and really hard to design solution for every single app. Backups & Replication do spring to mind as a second solution but then you’d need a lot of short retention points and you’d need a constant process of checking the recoverability.

What if you could run your production in a public cloud but have your storage reside in your local datacenter? Well, this is exactly what Avere presented at TechFieldDay just a couple of weeks ago. On the left side of this simplified sketch you see how Avere worked in the past; you’d find an Avere header that would effectively cache your classic NAS or Cloud Storage. On the right side you see the concept they added this year: running the Avere FXT controllers in an Amazon EC2 solution, making it available to your application you’d want to run in the cloud.

UPDATE: the people at Avere apparently have noticed my post – thanks for the plugs!

Are you ready for the cloud?

If you’d have to start from scratch, would you invest in a new datacenter on your facilities? I think I wouldn’t. There are two key things I strongly believe in here and they are contradictory to each other:

  • Basic infrastructure services that are not your core business should not be done by you
  • You as a CIO/CEO are responsible for all your company information and it’s uptime

I hope to see more solutions like this one that brings these two extremes closer to each other. And for Avere I hope they can start working with more solution providers other than Amazon. I see a lot of value here for the cloud providers that actually offer those services as well.

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