Business-critical applications in sensitive industries are facing hurdles in the cloud. Cloud made the entire IT infrastructures possible to be configured with just a few clicks of the mouse, making the servers are immediately available, and when RAM, storage or computing power is scarce, the infrastructure can be easily readjusted and scaled. Virtual Locations aims to combine the benefits of the cloud with the performance, compliance and security of dedicated hardware. However, many organizations want to use dedicated servers for individual workloads. Some even have to, because they process sensitive data. Industries such as healthcare, insurance and finance require dedicated IT resources for compliance. In addition, there are often time-critical tasks that are done with high priority.
Companies with these requirements always want to have a certain amount of resources available, such as a permanent 64 core, at least 128GB of RAM, or no less than eight terabytes of disk space. Traditionally, such data center requirements are met by dedicated hardware – a rack-mounted device specifically reserved for the customer. But in cloud infrastructures, such servers are difficult to integrate. Therefore, it is an obvious idea for the provider of the computer in the cloud to virtualize the dedicated servers in the cloud. Such servers are described by the term virtual locations.
Virtual does not differ from normal cloud servers. It is requested and served the same way. It is Dedicated because behind the software layer is actually a single machine with well-defined parameters. The concept of virtual locations thus combines the look and feel of virtual infrastructures with dedicated hardware.
This is how Virtual Locations work
Virtual Locations provide a direct link between the server booked by the user and the resources below. In this case, a correspondingly large physical device is assigned to the virtual device. In simple terms, the operator reserves one of his servers in the data center for a single customer. It basically behaves like all other virtual servers, but has a specific location in the data center of the cloud service.
A service being offered under the name of “Virtual Locations” can be booked in parallel to the traditional virtual servers under the infrastructure provider’s simple user interface and works seamlessly with them. It is available on the familiar user interface with the same automation features. Only with the booking is not minute-by-minute, but a daily billing possible. As a result, users generally have the flexibility that is customary with cloud services, but also all the advantages of dedicated hardware.
Advantages of Virtual Locations
Compared to the typical virtual cloud servers, the virtual places have some advantages for companies with special requirements for data sovereignty and compliance:
- All the resources (CPUs, RAM, storage) are assigned exclusively to one customer. They are ready at any time and do not have to be booted up and assigned.
- It is conceivable that the associated resources can perform tasks that a virtual server can not handle – such as “number crunching”, ie complex and lengthy calculations that require very high computing power. Virtual locations on special high-performance servers can significantly speed up the processing of compute-intensive tasks.
- The current hypervisors of the providers do not completely master the dreaded “Noisy Neighbour effect” in cloud computing. By this is meant that one user claims more of the shared resources than he is entitled to, thus affecting the other users. A system of virtual locations is not affected by this, since all computing power is used and not disturbed by high utilization of shared resources.
- Virtual Locations and Virtual Servers work together in one infrastructure without any problem; Resiliency is achieved in this scenario by extending the Virtual Location to multiple physical servers.
Disdvantages of Virtual Locations
Virtual Locations are the cloud adaptation of a classic root server. You can also bring certain disadvantages for users compared to a virtual server.
- The reserved hardware results in higher unit costs and higher total costs (TCO) compared to virtual servers, since there is no minute-by-minute billing.
- In addition, the users have to do without the quick start of the server. Only conventional virtual servers can be started immediately, otherwise a wait time is expected.
Virtual locations do not replace the fast and flexible provision of virtual servers in everyday IT life. But they are a great complement to mission-critical workloads. In addition, they help companies in highly regulated industries meet compliance requirements with a cloud infrastructure. But billing on a daily basis and waiting times when starting up a new Virtual Location increase both the unit costs and the TCO. The dedicated servers are therefore aimed primarily at companies that need just such a solution.