Every decision in crafting our Cloud Computing Infrastructure has been made with a view toward optimizing the hosting of clients’ 24 x 7 x 365 mission-critical Windows and Linux line-of-business applications.
High Availability is a key requirement of our clients; indeed availability is one of the Trust Principles covered in our SOC 2 Type II audit (Security and Confidentiality are the other two). We provide a number of behind-the-scenes services to increase resilience; things many other hosting providers either do not do, are not capable of doing, or charge extra for. Examples include:
- Fully redundant networking hardware
- Fully redundant power paths
- Data centers are on separate power company grids
- Data centers have independent Internet peering, but connected by our own 10Gbps DWDM fibre ring
- Autorestart of virtual servers in the event of hardware host failure
- Affinity and anti-affinity VM placements
- Secondary storage (snapshots) on separate SAN frames from primary storage (VM disks)
- Secondary storage replicates between data centers in near real time on a 10 Gbps DWDM fibre ring (not point-to-point)
Clients benefit from near-zero to no downtime in the event of hardware failures, maintenance and life cycling. In the worst case of a host failure, a client’s VM will simply be down as long as it takes to reboot the VM on a different host.
Depending on your application’s architecture, we can provide RPO/RTO measured in minutes, not hours or days.
Security & Compliance
Most of our clients are either in regulated industries, and/or their data is so proprietary that they might as well be, so security and compliance are at the forefront of how we do what we do. We provide:
- HIPAA, FISMA (Moderate) and SEC/NASD compliant hosting
- SOC 2 Type II audit covering Security, Availability and Confidentiality
- ITIL-compliant Change Management and Incident Tracking systems
- In-House SIEM, Pen Testing, Log File analyses and other security services provided by AlienVault
- In-House Email encryption and DLP services provided by Barracuda
- Encryption at rest and in flight as needed
While many of our clients have used a “lift and shift” approach in migrating to our Cloud Computing offerings, other clients utilize a Hybrid approach. Regardless, many clients require secure, reliable Enterprise Integration with on-premises Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange and other systems. To meet these needs we offer:
- LAN expansion into our Cloud via VPN extension of clients’ RFC 1918 IP address spaces
- Carrier-neutral data center access
- Fibre connectivity to One Summer Street (Boston)
- Custom MPLS networking via OTELCO SiteLink IP
The vast majority of the applications we host for clients have very demanding I/O requirements; email (random read/write) and database (SQL Server, MySQL/Maria/Galera) are the most common. We have therefore invested in high-performance 10Gbps storage. Our CloudStack environment bifurcates storage to provide better performance for clients: Primary storage on a separate SAN frame is used for VM’s disks and Secondary storage on a different SAN frame is used for snapshots, templates etc. In addition, the storage frames we use provide a mix of auto-tiering, compression and deduplication to further enhance performance.
To improve network performance, we have deployed a number of optimizations to eliminate any potential choke point, for example by allocating more CPUs to the CloudStack virtual routers and utilizing physically separate data and management network planes. We are always looking to improve performance.
Financially, moving to Cloud Computing involves trading Capital Expenditures for Operating Expenditures. In that regard we are partners of Microsoft, Citrix and Zimbra and can provide pay-as-you hosting licenses to provide a pure OpEx solution. Clients however are free to use their existing purchased licensed, keeping in mind that Microsoft has some very strict (and not always intuitive) rules regarding mixing owned with hosted licensing. We can help you make the decision that’s best for your company by providing alternatives.