This week’s news of the Series A funding of Software Defined Networking Contrail Systems and VMware acquiring Nicira hit a chord with our architecture and development teams at ProfitBricks. Nicira’s virtualized networking platform, born from the founders experience in inventing OpenFlow and their work on cloud platforms brings to the forefront the need for a new networking model in the cloud. VMware’s $1.26 billion purchase price enables them to begin to continue to round out their strategy for a true cloud environment with management, flexibility and elasticity. At ProfitBricks, these technologies are available today.
The ProfitBricks cloud architecture team built and deployed the first true virtual data center that virtualized not just servers, but the network as well. Every layer of the data center includes an automated orchestration layer of pooled hardware resources to allow for a restriction free, second generation cloud platform for our customers.
Layers of Abstraction
The cloud, in it’s ultimate form is designed and built with a series of building blocks – each block abstracting a layer of complex technology (compute, storage, networking) from the applications deployed on it. When done right, applications leverage resources as needed, whether it be CPU cores, RAM or network connections to the public Internet or a private network across fire zones in a data center. Application architects and the systems administrators that run those applications need to have the same or better flexibility they have had the opportunity to build in a physical data center.
Networks In the Cloud – from limited to infinitely flexible
One of the biggest problems in the use of 1st generation clouds and their virtual servers (or dedicated servers) at cloud or hosting companies is that you are not given any freedom in the way you are able to network virtual servers, storage systems, load balancers, and firewalls with each other. In the most cases, all the virtual servers are connected directly to the Internet. In fact even today many hosting providers leave customers with no other option. Restricted networking options are sometimes offered, which at least enable load balancing, but they have nowhere near the flexibility you would have in a patch panel for example. Additionally, real isolation of customer networks in a Virtual Data Center is rare.
ProfitBricks took a different approach, we selected the ultimate high-performance network technology of InfiniBand which enables 80 Gbit/s connections between servers and storage. Then we leveraged the concept of virtualization and our expertise in software to enable users to design a network that suits their needs for applications, databases and security models. Using our graphical designer, Data Center Designer, you can create as many sub-networks as you want, use load balancers and firewalls flexibly at any point and structure your network exactly as you would in a traditional data center. We do not put any limitations on you and thus enable you to use, for example, a far better method of separation to safeguard important systems or other complex structures without any extra costs.
Your experience with networking in the cloud
We would love to hear from users that were frustrated or held back from moving to the cloud because of the lack of network flexibility. What has been your experience with cloud networks?