Exclusive. Data centres unfit for hybrid cloud deployments

Operators who fail to meet SLAs face damaging their reputation as well as their own finances and the end user’s revenues.

Businesses are being warned that although a hybrid cloud approach is important in the digital economy, not all data centres are ready to provide such service.

A report commissioned by data centre operator Next Generation Data (NGD) alerts user organisations about the growing performance risks of using the public internet for providing essential wide area (WAN) connectivity between their private, public and legacy environments.

At the same time, the ‘Moving to an Azure Hybrid Cloud’ paper carried out for NGD by Quocirca, suggests the alternative of using dedicated WAN links will prove cost prohibitive for many.

Clive Longbottom, Quocirca’s Principal Research Analyst

Clive Longbottom, Quocirca’s Principal Research Analyst, told Data Economy: “Based on the specific need for low latency high speed data interconnects within the hybrid cloud, choosing the right hybrid-capable colocation provider and moving away from an owned facility completely means there is no need for the company to worry about the WAN links – apart from the ones to the end user device.

“When a company attempts to run their own owned facility or uses a non-hybrid suitable colocation facility as part of a hybrid cloud that is where the issue of WAN links come to the fore.

“Here, even with dedicated WAN connections, performance will not be the same as a hybrid-ready colocation centre plugged into dedicated connections – such as Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute.

“In the vast majority of cases where apps are suitably architected for the cloud or are using client push technologies from the datacentre to the device, the demands on bandwidth and latency are pretty low, so public internet will suffice.“

The report uses the recently launched Microsoft Azure Stack hybrid cloud solution as an example, to highlight the need for colocation data centres with sufficiently dense power availability and direct gateway connections into Microsoft’s dedicated ExpressRoute WAN.

The NGD Cloud Gateway platform connects customers’ IT equipment to Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute,  which allows users to create private connections to Azure data centres without going over the public internet by using private connections.

However, the report warns there are currently very few data centres with such capabilities, potentially exposing organisations to facilities that are purely points of presence (PoP) along the ExpressRoute.

Simon Bearne, Commercial Director at NGD

Speaking to Data Economy, Simon Bearne, Commercial Director at NGD, said: “Relying on a hotchpotch of wide area network connections could be the downfall of any hybrid cloud implementation. Choosing a fit for purpose colocation facility will ensure user organisations enjoy a seamless, reliable fully-functional experience.

“For maximum flexibility, look for colocation providers which offer direct connectivity into the main public clouds and have dedicated high performance networks underpinning connectivity between their own and other facilities.”

Bearne has also warned of the “potentially enormous” financial downfall for an un-fit hybrid colocation operator.

He said: “Colocation providers who cannot properly support hybrid run huge risks in taking on this type of business.  Breaching SLA’s damage the reputation as well as the finances of the colo operator and the end user.”

Longbottom also cautioned operators that if they fail to provide the necessary capabilities, they risk falling victims to the widespread of negative feedback between customers and potential future customers.

However, Longbottom said that colocation facilities that are not fit for a hybrid cloud model also have a place, “but it should only be done as a tactical step”.

He said: “Colocation is invariably becoming a better bet than an owned facility, as it provides better flexibility along with better capabilities, particularly around cooling and power availability.

“However, the cloud is happening – and any company that decides to make a strategic move to a colocation model that does not cater well for a hybrid cloud model will find themselves either constrained by the lack of capability or facing a need to install dedicated WAN links (which will still not provide anywhere near the overall capabilities that a hybrid-capable colocation facility will) or reversing out and having to move to a new colocation facility – with all the hard and soft costs associated with such a move.”