Data center and cloud providers talk security, performance and easing concerns

GoGrid, HP Enterprise Services have amped up offerings that address security and other issues.

The decision to host your data center somewhere else, or to move some of your operations into a cloud, is never trivial. Chief among concerns are security, performance, and management– including disaster recovery plans that meet your requirements.

GoGrid, a cloud infrastructure and hosting provider, has made a move to address some of those concerns with a new service called CloudLink, a fast, dedicated private line that’s been established via a leased, dedicated line between its data centers in San Francisco and Ashburn, Virginia. Now, GoGrid can dedicate specific amounts of segregated bandwidth to customers. The goal: eliminate worry about sending critical traffic over public lines that lack security and can impact performance.

In a prepared statement, GoGrid’s CMO Jeffrey Samuels said CloudLink gives customers assurance their data is safe and that their information transfers are fast, adding that “CloudLink, combined with GoGrid's powerful cloud platform, and exceptional service and support, makes our disaster recovery and data replication capabilities an exceptional value for our customers."

I have to say, as disaster recovery goes, having two data centers linked by a leased private line is really ideal. The GoGrid offering provides customers with to access a dedicated, private leased line rather than a public line, the company says. It leverages GoGrid's Layer 2 private network architecture that resides securely within GoGrid's data centers and systems. If there is a disaster, customers can configure CloudLink to provide the necessary conduit for data synchronization. And if one of the two data center becomes inaccessible, the replicated data would be available at the other data center. By leveraging CloudLink, customers have a seamless mechanism to keep their data in sync across data centers, the company says.

By the way, I covered the news that GoGrid was opening its second data center in Virginia back in July 2010. At the time, of course, GoGrid had only one data center in San Francisco. Both data centers are SAS70 Type II certified and Cisco-powered networks. GoGrid noted then that the second site would fortify its disaster recovery capabilities.

So, back to the security and performance concerns people have about hosting data centers and/or cloud services. A while back I talked with Rob Taylor, VP of Data Center Services at HP Enterprise Services and he had some interesting thoughts on the topic. First of all, HP Enterprise Services offers a traditional outsourcing offering that, generally speaking, is a collection of capabilities customized for a specific client, typically as an end-to-end outsourcing model.

But HP Enterprise Services has rolled out updated offerings designed to help customers who are considering or making the move to cloud computing. “Traditional outsourcing is still our sweet spot, but the growth is really in these productized services, such as cloud, messaging, desktop, and unified communications – all as a service,” Taylor said during our conversation. And while he agrees enterprises still favor private cloud, they are looking at segregated public cloud versus two flavors of private cloud services: private shared and private dedicated.

“Enterprises are having a hard time consuming public cloud,” according to Taylor who added that many customers’ concerns center around security, control, data protections, and the locations of where the services are offered and even where data may pass among geographically distributed data centers (there are national or continental data storage regulations that can limit organizations moving their operations to the cloud; European data protection laws, for example, make it difficult for companies there to use cloud services in the U.S.)

That’s why HP Enterprise Services came up with shared private, which in effect extends a customer’s network into a private compartment within HP’s cloud network to provide them with another option for their compute resources. “Their security perimeter doesn’t have to be changed,” Taylor noted.” And we can move infrastructure in and out of that compartment.” Clients can choose dedicated physical or virtual servers, fiber channel zoning logically isolates servers, and logical unit security isolates servers to storage devices, masking data not legitimately available to other users. Taylor said clients who currently outsource IT or have done so in the past have shown a lot of interested in the cloud offering. “It is not a take-it-all approach, much more of a dip-in-their toe movement."

This dip-in-the-toe activity is clearly what GoGrid customer Martini Media (a digital media platform) had in mind. In the GoGrid press release, Manicka Babu, VP of engineering at Martini Media said the company could not maintain a consistent and private database replication environment, and it also didn’t want a pure public cloud service. "We needed a customized setup to protect our data as it traveled through the capricious Internet environment," Babu said in the statement. "GoGrid's CloudLink allows us to transfer gigabits of data privately across the U.S. in a cost-effective and easily implemented way."

By the way, CloudLink from GoGrid will be available in the fourth quarter, and service fees will be priced according to bandwidth ranging from 10Mbs to 1Gbs, starting $99 per month.

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