Why Are Companies Ditching the Public Cloud?

cloud Several notable organizations have rethought their decision to deploy cloud based infrastructure. Data center colocation continues to be the most popular alternative to cloud based servers. Experts suggest that there are several factors that could be motivating these businesses to move from cloud to colo.

These factors include:

  • Data center hardware is rapidly decreasing in price
  • Businesses want more control over their infrastructure
  • Data center colocation is falling in price
  • Businesses may require robust network performance

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Avoid a Data Breach: Public vs Private Cloud

Welcome to the future. Let’s stop to think about all of the technological advances that havePhoetic - Word Cloud made our personal and professional lives easier. Prior to smartphones, the internet, and cloud computing, things moved a bit more slowly. And while some people miss the slower moving days of the past, most will admit that they wouldn’t want to live without high speed internet, email, text messaging and so on and so forth.  We truly do live in the future. It’s amazing when you stop to think about it.  But with every great leap forward and every new technological advancement, there will inevitably be new ways for people to take advantage of unsuspecting people and organizations. Yes, the dreaded data breach.  Continue reading

Private Cloud Platforms Common in Colocation Data Centers

DSC_0570Organizations commonly setup hypervisors in colocation data centers to maximize server efficiency while simultaneously virtualizing their workloads. What if businesses could take this a step further and use server colocation as a way to build a private cloud?

When enterprises begin talking about moving to the cloud, many CIOs blindly assume that public cloud infrastructure is the only way to build their cloud. Many CIOs shy away from cloud for this reason alone.

Some industries have found that public cloud is not a viable solution for their business model. As a result, private cloud is surging in popularity with both open source and enterprise solutions available to businesses.

Examining Popular Private Cloud Solutions

The idea of private cloud has been around for the past decade, although some organizations are slow to adapt.

With private cloud solutions, your organization can automate the deployment of infrastructure, making it simple to spin up a new virtual machine, provide more storage or dedicate more computing resources to a particular app.

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular private cloud infrastructures used by enterprises today.

OpenStack: Free Open Source Private Cloud

openstackIt is impossible to have a conversation about private cloud without mentioning OpenStack. When modern cloud computing first hit the scene back in 2005, organizations such as RackSpace, NASA and others were contributing to the OpenStack project.

Since OpenStack’s inception, it has become the gold standard for open source private cloud computing. According to a survey conducted by Talligent, OpenStack has made significant progress in breaking through on the enterprise level. Talligent says:

  • 61% of OpenStack enterprise implementations were motivated by cost savings.
  • 59% of OpenStack deployments were motivated by the allure of streamlining IT service delivery.
  • 54% businesses using OpenStack anticipate their workloads to be private, not public, in the next 5 years.

OpenStack also provides automation within different hypervisors that you may already have in your environment. OpenStack can orchestrate complex private cloud environments which includes Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi and other various hypervisor ecosystems.

With these motivating factors in mind, enterprises are rushing to implement OpenStack as method of automating their IT infrastructure.

Microsoft Azure Stack

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to purchase a Microsoft Azure subscription to use the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure inside of your colocated datacenter.

With Microsoft’s Azure Stack, you can manage the workloads in your colocated datacenter using a robust resource provisioning suite that allows you to deploy resources on the fly. When your enterprise uses Azure Stack, your IT team will gain access to the robust Microsoft Azure private cloud infrastructure.

Although Microsoft Azure Stack has upside for organizations wanting to implement private cloud, businesses must carefully weigh the downsides of using this relatively nascent technology. Currently, Azure is being bundled with specific vendor hardware.

There was speculation that Azure Stack would only be available those who purchased servers from Dell, HPE and Lenovo. The rumor proved to be false as Microsoft has clarified their position saying they would allow customer owned hardware to be used in final releases of Azure Stack.

Azure Stack is currently in technical preview, however, the final release could become available enterprises in mid 2017.

Which Is Best For My Enterprise?

white_paper_c11-543729-5Organizations that exclusively use Microsoft products may already be tinkering with the Azure Stack technical preview in their dev environments. If your enterprise is vendor agnostic or sensitive to infrastructure costs, deploying OpenStack could be the best bet.

There is no true solution that is superior to the other. With Microsoft Azure Stack, your organization may want to keep its core services collocated inside of a data center, while simultaneously being able to expand into a hybrid cloud when needed.

OpenStack is rapidly becoming adopted in large industries all around the world. In fact, OpenStack is being used by popular corporations such as Walmart, BMW and BetFair.

With so much evidence pointing towards enterprises adopting private cloud at a rapid rate, IT decision makers should also consider which data center colocation partner is right for their private cloud workloads.

IMG_2380ColoCrossing is a highly rated data center colocation provider that has private data center facilities located in all across the USA in 9 cities. Call ColoCrossing’s toll free hotline at 1-800-518-9716 for a free, no-hassle consultation regarding server colocation, dedicated servers and managed services for your growing enterprise.

How Managed DDoS Protection Shields Your Critical Web Applications

Reading the headlines? You might not be surprised to see that Akamai found DDoS attacks have doubled between 2014 and 2015. The threat of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack looms large for business of all sizes.

DDoS attacks are somewhat unsophisticated attacks that flood your network with malicious traffic, executed by botnets, hacked servers and hacked routers. When hackers can simultaneously flood your public network with malicious packets, it can prevent legitimate customers from accessing your website.  IMG_0126

And for most businesses, loss of traffic and website functionality means — you guessed it — loss of revenue. 

DDoS Attacks Can Cripple Your Organization

Like the old train robberies of the Wild West, DDoS attacks have become a sort of high stakes online ransom for organizations. DDoS attacks are big business for hackers, who will use the threat of DDoS attack to literally solicit ransoms from high-profile organizations. High profile attacks in recent years have hijacked sites like Evernote and Feedly, to name a few, and they continue to find ways to affect millions of users. These two recent DDoS attack examples offer some insight into the potential damage for organizations:

  1. ProtonMail Endures Sophisticated DDoS Attack Requiring Help from Swiss Government

In late 2015, ProtonMail faced one of the largest DDoS attacks in history when its servers were slammed by an attack that sent over 50Gbps of junky packets to its servers.

The secure email provider reports that its administrators received a ransom email demanding Bitcoins prior to the attack. ProtonMail’s administrators ignored the email and 12 hours later, their services became unavailable, preventing thousands of people from accessing their email.

After unsuccessfully battling the attacks, ProtonMail succumbed and paid the ransom…but the attacks continued. In fact, ProtonMail was unable to deflect the attack until they got the Swiss government’s cyber security agency MELANI involved.

  1. BBC Website Gets Hit by 600Gbps+ DDoS Attack

Even mainstream news websites are not immune to DDoS attacks. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was hit by a massive DDoS attack in early 2016. Security experts suggest the DDoS attack impacting the BBC was the biggest DDoS attack to date.

With the international news agency receiving over 600Gbps of malicious data, many BBC users were unable to access the website. There is no indication that a Bitcoin ransom was requested, therefore many security experts suggest that this DDoS attack could have been a show of power by the cyber gang that perpetrated this attack. For sites like the BBC; however, where timely release of news stories is essential, this type of attack can be particularly harmful.

How to Prevent a DDoS Attack

There are a few steps you can take to prevent DDoS attacks from crippling your organization:

  • Increase bandwidth to prevent a DDoS attack.  Ultimately, DDoS attacks strangle your servers because they use up your bandwidth. Although far from foolproof, one of the simplest ways to stifle attempts at a DDoS attack is to increase your server bandwidth (Hint: We can help you increase server bandwidth here at ColoCrossing).
  • Implement a Network Firewall Appliance to Deflect DDoS Attacks. Network administrators agree that it is a best practice to use a firewall to help mitigate DDoS attacks. Vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto and SonicWALL provide administrators with robust features such as Intrusion Prevention and Real Time Block Lists that help deflect DDoS attacks.
  • Partner with a managed IT provider that offers DDoS attack prevention. Here at ColoCrossing, our managed IT services include robust DDoS attack prevention. We’ll shield your servers from a DDoS attack so that cyber criminals become discouraged (and ultimately shift their efforts elsewhere).

Our DDoS attack prevention service offers sophisticated, automated protection for your server. We help you sleep easy knowing your servers are backed up with 100% network availability and true 24/7/365 support for our nine US-based data centers.  Wondering how ColoCrossing can protect your organization? Contact us today to learn more.

 

6 Important Data Center Insights Every CIO Should Know

DSC_0570Did you know that only 1 in 4 organizations plan on building out their own data centers when they run out of floor space? 451 Research conducted a survey that queried senior IT managers about their organization’s strategy to accommodate a rapid data center expansion which revealed many interesting trends.

In this report, 451 Research highlights the fact that over 1 in 3 enterprises are adopting colocated solutions when compared to alternate options such as building onsite or using cloud infrastructure. With so much on the line, every CIO should carefully consider their own unique situation while simultaneously guiding their enterprise into the coming years. Here are 6 important data center trends that every CIO should know:

Within 24 Months, Many Enterprises Will Move Offsite

Build-vs-Buy-Colocation-Data-CentersNow more than ever, enterprises are ditching their server closets and moving all of their onsite data center equipment into colocated data centers. Research analysts predict that most organizations will use cloud, colo or a combination of the two.

Power and Rack Density Are Key Drivers

When organizations shop data centers, buyers may focus in on two key factors. Having trusted and recognizable power equipment helps those evaluating data centers make confident decisions in their quest to find the best colocation provider. Being able to store dense, next generation equipment also helps data centers close the deal with prospective clients.

The Need for Managed Security Services

IMG_20150910_170031Is your organization at risk for a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack? How can your enterprise fend off a cyber attack? Sometimes, a firewall just isn’t enough. Your data center colocation hosting solution may offer managed security services. One of the most popular add-on security features is DDoS mitigation.

Network Uptime & Availability is More Critical Than Ever

Some enterprises cannot afford to risk their network availability by using cloud based solutions. A Google search for “High profile cloud outages” only proves that when cloud goes down, enterprises are often left in the dark about what happens next. Colocated data centers such as ColoCrossing can uniquely offer 100% network uptime & availability.

The Combination of IT and Facilities

In larger organizations, the facilities crew can sometimes battle with the IT staff on the ownership of the data center. When colocation is introduced, your data center provider will be solely responsible for providing the racks, the cabinets, the power and the ping. This simultaneously streamlines your operation while allowing your IT staff to focus on their day to day tasks.

The Average Age of an Onsite Data Center: 20 Years Old

Tim Flynn at Forsythe Focus says “With the average U.S. data center approaching 20 years of age, enterprises simply don’t want to deal with outdated facilities and building systems infrastructure.” The age of your onsite data center is likely to become a motivating factor for your transition into a colocated data center.

Data Center Colocation is Booming

DSC_0509451 Research recently released it’s latest report on the state of the data center colocation industry. The main takeaway from the report is that data center colocation will be a $33 billion dollar a year business by 2018.

Who stands to gain from data center colocation and why is the market booming? Let’s take a closer look at each of these topics in order gain clarity on the state of the data center colocation market.

Onsite vs. Colocation vs. Cloud

Now more than ever, organizations are finding that data center colocation gives their business more flexibility in deploying hardware and managing servers.

Onsite data centers have proven to be costly while cloud gives organizations the ability to buy infrastructure on a per minute basis. The happy medium between onsite and cloud is colocated servers in strategic geographic location. Businesses are rapidly moving their workloads into colocated data centers for a variety of reasons.

One big reason that organizations have given colocation a second look is the fact that colocated data centers are carrier neutral, giving your end users amenities such as a faster connection to website applications, a lower ping time to the outside world and lower latency on the apps that your business hosts.

Build Your Own Cloud Using Colocation

openstack-private-cloudThe biggest barrier to entry for public cloud computing is security. After all, if your business is renting someone else’s equipment just as you would with any IaaS provider, how do you know exactly where your data resides?

Colocation gives businesses the ability to deploy their own cloud using customized security policies. Open source cloud platforms such as OpenStack are free to deploy while more proprietary cloud stacks such as Azure stack and Eucalyptus can also be configured.

When your business provides its own hardware, rents space in a colocation facility and sets up its own cloud using a suite such as OpenStack, this setup is referred to as a private cloud. With a private cloud, your organization owns the hardware and pays the colocation leasing fees while end users can spin up servers and request additional storage space on the fly.

Hybrid Cloud is a Motivating Factor for Colocated Data Centers

While many organizations prefer to use their own hardware, IaaS definitely has a place in today’s ever-changing technical landscape. As a result, businesses are increasingly using colocated data centers to host their private cloud infrastructure while simultaneously connecting that infrastructure to public cloud infrastructure.

The end result is a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Hybrid cloud uses both public and private cloud hosting simultaneously. The advantage to hosting your private cloud in a colocation data center is the 100% network availability guarantee and the ability to retain full control over the data center hardware that you deploy.

Managed Service Providers Benefit From Colocated Infrastructure

datacenter_floorManaged service providers (MSPs) often utilize the services of colocated data centers to facilitate the rollout of their apps and services.

By handing off all of the critical infrastructure tasks to a team of seasoned professionals, an MSP can focus on converting leads rather than sinking significant amounts of capital into an on-site datacenter.

When your organization begins providing custom tailored solutions to businesses all around the world, you can use the infrastructure that you’ve deployed in your rack to help meet the specific needs of your clients. Whether its virtual or bare metal servers, colocation hosting helps managed service providers gain the most flexibility from their investments in technology.

Flexibility: The Key for MSPs Who Want to Gain Value

IMG_2344-X3Getting the most out of your investments in technology will play a huge role in the overall success of your endeavor as a Managed Service Provider. MSPs often specialize in a specific discipline; Some MSPs are focused on disaster recovery, while others focus on app hosting, file storage, VoIP and more.

Given this broad spectrum of potential needs, MSPs should seek out a versatile colocation partner that provides a presence anywhere in North America. Additionally, your provider should have industry recognized certifications that ensures both data privacy and industry compliance. When MSPs utilize a colocated datacenter space, they can gain tremendous value by permanently housing all of their servers, appliances and network gear within an enterprise grade datacenter ecosystem.

MSPs Should Establish a Relationship with Colocation Hosting Providers

DatacentervscolocationIn many instances, an MSP will establish relationships with different colocation providers located all throughout the world. Managed Service Providers must be able to provide unique solutions for their clients. The relationship that your business develops with a colocation provider can dictate the level of service that you can provide to your end users.

When datacenters are able to rapidly provision services, MSPs are able to provide solutions for their customers that meet or exceed their needs. Many MSPs only use colocation hosting to offer services to their customers. The reliability of colocated infrastructure tips the scale in favor of server colocation while providers such as ColoCrossing are able to guarantee 100% network availability.

Don’t Risk Your MSP’s Reputation to IaaS

amazon-outageManaged service providers can gain measurable value by gaining access to low and predictable monthly pricing offered by a colocation provider. When compared to cloud, your organizations monthly bill could heavily fluctuate, which could become more of a hindrance than a help in terms of monthly expenses related to running a managed services business.

IaaS also contains inherent risks. For example, how do you explain random cloud data center outages that have impacted services such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform over the past several years?

When your business hosts its servers within a colocated data center, your MSP business can feel confident about the safety and security of the data retained by your clients.

IT Security: Colo Provides a Smaller Attack Surface than Cloud

cyber-attackVeterans of the IT industry know one thing: IT trends seem to happen in cycles.

In the 80’s, centralized computing took shape in the form of mainframe computing. In the 90s, computing migrated towards desktop applications with much of the computing power coming from the desktop PC itself.

In the 2000s, simple applications were deployed using web browsers, ensuring scalability and compatibility with all operating systems. In the current decade, Cloud has accelerated the trend of deploying applications on the webs by allowing developers to spin up architecture in efforts to test out apps.

What happens when your apps reach maturity and it’s time for them to be deployed out to end users?

Can you absolutely guarantee that the public cloud can provide your organization with the security it needs?

DSC_0570Comparing Attack Surfaces: Cloud vs. Colo

Think about the different methods in which your cloud server or cloud services can be accessed. Let’s single out one of the top public cloud providers, Microsoft Azure.

To access Microsoft Azure, you have to setup a Microsoft account that can be based upon an internal email address or an Office 365 address.

This in itself greatly increases the attack surface, considering the fact that all that a perpetrator needs to access your entire cloud infrastructure is your Microsoft account.

Another question you should ask is: What if a critical service such as Azure Active Directory fails? According to Neowin, this exact incident happened in early December of 2015, causing many Microsoft customers to go without access to their data for several hours.

Consider this Scenario: When you host with a public cloud, your servers don’t necessarily need to be attacked. If you rely on a cloud service, such as cloud SQL, cloud Active Directory or others, a failure occurring outside of your organization’s network could impact your company’s ability to make money.

With server colocation, you determine at an administrative level what services are installed on your network. This gives your administrators granular control over the services your business offers to end users and customers.

Administrators can customize the security features to their exact specifications, versus adhering to the security specs given to you by a cloud service provider. This in itself tips the scales to heavily favor using collocated servers over cloud based servers.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While many public cloud providers can spin up a virtual machine connected to an SSD array, these virtual machine templates may not give your organizations exactly what it needs in order to operate properly.

When your resources are abstracted, administrators can potentially lose control of their data.

Who is to say that a rouge data center employee won’t discreetly access your account using a service account in order to reduce the likelihood of any red flags being raised? What if a governmental agency asks your cloud provider to perform this very action?

When you host your own infrastructure, with your own Network Attached Storage devices, you can ensure that your organization has the ability to accurately determine who, what, when and how users are accessing company data.

What are you waiting for?

Contact ColoCrossing today to discuss our robust colocation services. With ColoCrossing, you can host your workloads in any one of world class datacenters located all around the world.

Contact ColoCrossing today for a free, no-obligation quote.

Using Colocated Servers as an Effective Backup Plan

Disaster-Recovery-PlanningDisaster recovery is one of the scariest words in the IT world.

Did you know that 40% of IT professionals believe that their small business would permanently go out of business should they encounter a total loss of their data.

While disaster recovery is something that you will never want to go through in your career, the ugly truth is that your enterprise will encounter some sort of event in which data will need to be retrieved from backups. It’s almost inevitable.

Using Colocated Servers as a Backup Plan

Consider the following scenario:

Your organization has excess hardware that it would like to put to use. One of the best ways to ensure maximum uptime to send this hardware to a colocated datacenter and purpose this hardware as a dedicated backup infrastructure.

You may already have a colocated server workload for your organization and you may simply have extra space on your rack. If that’s the case, put your extra infrastructure to work for your business.

IMG_2024-X3Colocated vs. Cloud for Backups?

Every organization is different. Some businesses believe that they must be in complete control of their corporate data. When you give your data to a cloud backup organization, you put your entire data backup infrastructure in the hands of another entity.

What if your business finds itself needing a data backup retrieval. However, for some reason, the data backup the requires help of the cloud service provider. What if you need the help immediately? Can you count on your cloud provider to be there for the moment you need them the most?

By building your data backup infrastructure in a colocated datacenter, you can be sure that your organization has a warm standby server that is available for failover incase something bad happens to your network.

You can also setup file level recovery and rapidly move the data back to your production servers, should you need to restore data that is missing from your servers.

One of the things that businesses must realize is that when they use a cloud data syncing service, they are at the mercy of the bandwidth available between the cloud backup provider and your onsite infrastructure.

If your infrastructure is already setup in a  data center colocation scenario, you could colocate your workload in the same datacenter or in a nearby datacenter that is within the family of your colo provider. This type of setup could provide your network with fault tolerance.

Using the colocated infrastructure backup scenario, you can rapidly recover your data since the data won’t have to travel as far to reach your production environment. This can be advantageous for businesses who wish to be one step ahead of any potential problems that could arise from putting your data backup infrastructure in the hands of a 3rd party solution.

Recent Amazon EC2 Outages Boost the Appeal of Dedicated Servers

url51If you’re an IT decision maker, you’ve probably considered using Amazon Web Services’ EC2 virtual server offering. AWS gives your team the ability to spin up virtual servers on demand and pay for only what you use.

The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model can provide advantages in certain deployment scenarios. On the other hand, hosting critical apps and services that keep your business flowing takes a tremendous amount of trust in an IaaS provider.

Can You Trust the Cloud?

At the end of the day, IaaS providers such as AWS must own up to their service level agreements when outages occur.

If you’re in a business that requires maximum uptime, wouldn’t it make sense to have the maximum amount of control over the infrastructure that houses your apps and data?

When you choose a service like AWS, you’re at their mercy should the right set of circumstances occur. Think about what happened to Google Cloud Platform back in August of 2015.

Lightning Strikes Google Cloud Platform; Causes Data Loss

A lightning strike that hit Google’s Western European data center caused a data loss that measured to be less than 0.000001%. While that may not sound awful, you’d probably be upset if your business happened to be impacted by the 0.000001% figure.

amazon-downAWS DynamoDB Outage Breaks Reddit, Netflix and More

In September of 2015, Amazon Web Services suffered an outage stemming from its DynamoDB service. This left users of popular apps such as Netflix, Tinder and Reddit without the ability to access these platforms.

Reviewing Popular IaaS Provider Uptime Numbers

In 2014, each of the “Big Three” cloud providers suffered some sort of downtime. Here are the numbers for each IaaS provider:

  • AWS – 6.01 Hours of Downtime in 2014
  • Google Compute Engine – 3.46 Hours of Downtime in 2014
  • Microsoft Azure – 42.94 hours of Downtime in 2014

Experiencing downtime that is totally out of your control can become frustrating as an IT professional.

The Great Debate: Colo vs. Cloud

While cloud can provide several strategic advantages to organizations that rapidly need to build and deploy apps, colocation provides IT decision makers with the ability to completely customize, administrate and have complete confidence that their workload will have the maximum uptime possible.

There’s a certain confidence in knowing exactly where a server sits in a cage and being able to trace that server back to the switch. With IaaS, businesses risk running their apps and storing their data in facility that they don’t control. For many IT decision makers, that’s a risk that their organization can’t afford to take.