Running a Hybrid Cloud is an effective way to power your business, as it delivers optimal performance and scalability with cost savings. In order to accommodate this, you need a great plan that includes an enterprise data center, a defined roadmap, and experienced engineering. The goal is to engineer a robust Cloud system as efficiently as possible.
Mindcentric runs private Cloud environment for enterprise systems by leveraging Hyper-V technology on dedicated, physical servers. For data center operations, we partner with Switch Super NAP to lay the foundation for our critical Cloud solutions. We would like to highlight the benefits of our model and how we deliver cutting edge engineering and management solutions (for both performance and Security) to business at an exceptional value.
Everyone knows that Virtualization enables server optimization and efficiency, and it completely revolutionized data center infrastructure in late 90’s. Since then, it has developed significantly and there are a plethora of options to choose from. Virtualization is the main technology that powers public Cloud platforms, we see many of the same major technologies used all over the world - These leaders include:
- VMWare (Dell/EMC)
- Hyper-V (Microsoft)
- Citrix Xen
- Amazon Web Services (Xen/KVM)
- MS Azure (Hyper-V)
- Google Cloud Platform (KVM)
- Alibaba (Xen and KVM)
- Various newcomers such as Nutanix Acropolis (KVM)
Our team relied on VMWare for many years, and we continue to manage clients that have investments into it today. However, we recognized that Microsoft was going to disrupt that industry from a cost and functionality perspective many years ago. Microsoft first launched Hyper-V to compete with VMWare in 2008, and the initial benefit was that it had minimal costs if users were running a Microsoft Server. Over the years, there have been many new releases and improvements of the virtualization technology; the latest being Windows Server 2019. Today, it has almost identical features to VMWare, but at a much more reasonable price.
Licensing costs are the major driver to get users to move over to Hyper-V. Depending how it is used, there are more reasonable expenses when running Microsoft servers. When running Linux machines, there’s no licensing required. This alone has made Hyper-V the 2nd most used hypervisor in the world behind VMWare. Hyper-V is also the underlying engine that powers Microsoft Azure, the #2 Cloud Platform on earth.
Today, Microsoft has developed Hyper-V to the point that it has included features that truly make an impact in today’s market – especially when considering a Hybrid Cloud. The key features in Server 2029 include:
- Hybrid cloud integration with Microsoft Azure services.
- Increased resilience with multiple security layers built into the OS.
- Create cloud-native applications and upgrade traditional apps using containers and micro-services.
- Transform a traditional data center into hyper-converged infrastructure for better performance.
- True two-node clusters
- Storage Spaces Direct improvements
- ReFS de-duplication
- Windows Admin Center
- Shielded virtual machines
- Container advancements
- Encrypted networks
Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI)
In 2016, a feature called Storage Spaces Direct was issued to deliver virtual SAN (Storage Area Network)/Software Defined Storage capabilities within the management system. This feature gives engineers the ability to virtualize direct attached Server Storage and manage it through Hyper-V instead of leveraging a 3rd party SAN. This helps with IO performance, cost reductions, and overall management.
The core concept is to be able to run converged/hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) that is 100% software defined. An architecture like this radically simplifies procurement and deployment also combines features such as caching, storage tiers, and erasure coding, together with the latest hardware innovations such as RDMA networking and NVMe drives. For an on-premise solution, it delivers unrivaled efficiency and performance.
By moving to a HCI + Software Defined environment, businesses see great value. Some of the major benefits of a system like this include:
- Operational Efficiency
- Easy Scaling
- Simplified Hybrid Cloud Deployment
- Reduced Data Center Footprint (Density)
- Streamlined Vendor Management
- Improved Business Agility
- Improved Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
- Enables Faster Deployments
- Public Cloud Integration
- Reduced Overall Operational Costs
Dedicated Compute Nodes
Mindcentric Infrastructure consolidates computing, networking, and storage functions into a single resource pool (Node). This model increases infrastructure efficiency and performance while enabling IT Operation teams to easily deploy and manage their data centers. HCI extends the capabilities of a data center beyond the limitations of traditional systems. Integrating all server functions together simplifies deployment, management, sizing, and scaling while distributing and migrating workloads.
Each node is a uniform design that can deliver the following per/server:
- 256 – 1,024G RAM
- 24 - 48 Physical Cores
- 20 – 500TB HD or SSD
- 10G Network
Because they are HCI/SD builds, these Nodes are stack-able so you can easily scale your infrastructure. Storage tiers can also be defined within the system and can assign higher performance drives to specific VMs. All Network transit and bandwidth is included, so customers will know exactly what they are getting every time with dedicated infrastructure.
Today, Mindcentric manages 500+ Servers and well over a Petabyte of Storage on our SSD powered infrastructure. We run various enterprise networks, critical applications, and over 20,000 Zimbra (Hosted Email) endpoints on this system. Production environments are primarily run from our Vegas investment, and data is replicated to Reno for Disaster Recovery.
Multiple Tier-5 Data Centers
Our data center partner, Switch believes they far exceed the max Tier-4 as defined by the Uptime Institute. They have designated themselves as the world's only Tier-5 facilities. The important thing is, they have operated millions of square feet for many years and have never encountered an outage. Due to the nature of how the electric grid is managed combined with the threat of various natural disasters, it is impossible to have a Tier-4 or Tier-5 data center in the state of California. Additionally, the kW/Hour rate in San Diego County is the highest in the continental United States. The best rated Data Center in California is a Tier-3, and the costs in CA are top in the nation.
So, Mindcentric moved all critical operations out of California considering that uptime and costs were significantly better in Nevada. Today, we have infrastructure investments in Switch Las Vegas and Switch Reno with a private 10G fiber loop running between both sites. We get twice the product for half the cost of hosting in California.
Partnering with Switch also conveys the following operation controls and audits:
- Type2 SOC1
- Type2 SOC2
- Type3 SOC3
- PCI DSS ROC
- NIST 800-53 Type 1
- PCI DSS AOC
- ISO IEC 27001 Cert
- Type 1 HIPAA Report
Nested Virtualization is the ability to manage Operating Systems that are guests on other infrastructure such as a public Cloud like Azure. The benefit of this is the ability to centrally manage a hybrid Cloud solution from your legacy Hyper-V management console. This of course enables Hyper-V to integrate with other Microsoft technologies such as Azure. This type of Hybrid Cloud solution is used if you wish to accommodate the following:
- Have Static Costs for Static Workloads
- Provide Flexibility to Scale into Public Clouds for Specific Workloads.
- Provide Geographic Diversity and/or Disaster Recovery
- Easily set up New Environments Without Up-Front Investments
- Run everything on Legacy Systems without New Investments
- Standardize on Transferable Software-Defined Technologies
Although Hyper-V and Azure are built to be integrated, it is still possible to run Hyper-V on other Cloud platforms such as AWS. For this example, you can install and run Hyper-V on AWS Bare Metal servers. It is not uncommon to have a multi-cloud environment and all the vendors are working to improve integration, making the use of their technologies more accommodable.
Cloud Gateways and Direct Connects
Switch Data Centers are some of the most interconnected buildings on the planet, with access to hundreds of Networks. This also includes peering points for all major Cloud Providers and Interconnects. We have the ability to cross connect directly to any public Cloud environment to leverage MegaPort’s global connectivity at Switch. Running a hybrid Infrastructure is much more efficient when running out of a mega facility like Switch.
Our team is Agnostic to Cloud Infrastructure and Platform, everything is a tool and has a place. Our goal is to work with clients to address their specific needs and to apply technology and engineering to deliver the best possible solution for you. If it matches your business model, running Containers (Swarm/Kubernetes) across your infrastructure can also help with a multi/hybrid Cloud deployment.
We believe that our Hyper-V HCI solution delivers the best performance and pricing available on the market. A single 24 core, 256G, 20TB HD Hyper-V Node starts at a locked in at $1,600/month, including all network traffic. With everything (bandwidth, network transit etc), we generally see our Hyper-V nodes running about half of the public Cloud alternatives.
Mindcentric is a private company that provides IT Management and Engineering services. With over 20 years of operating experience, we have the team to address a majority of IT related projects. Our core team is in San Diego, California, with members spreading into Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the North East. Contact us today to discuss which cloud option is right for you.