My colleague, Andrew Moloney, recently penned a blog about how HyperCloud seamlessly integrates into Google Anthos. While pretty much any large organisation can derive great value from using this combined solution, let’s now delve a little deeper into our point of difference and why specifically public sector customers using Anthos should want to run their on-premises solutions using HyperCloud.
We’ve been connecting the dots between Google’s public sector team in the UK and the Defence team in Australia to develop a joint value proposition that strikes a balance between delivering technology quickly, the cost and resource required to do so, and reducing risk.
So why does Google want to run Anthos on HyperCloud?
Three main reasons:
While Google can test for compatibility and security across the entire stack, they aren’t able to make any assertions around the provenance and underlying security of Anthos deployed on on-premises infrastructure supplied and operated by third parties, and nor should they be expected to. Uniquely, SoftIron’s HyperCloud can provide that level of audit and assurance their most security-sensitive customers require.
Two highly opinionated platforms, solely optimised for their particular task. This enables one simple and agile platform across all applications and workloads, regardless of whether it is across kubernetes or not.
Google has a stated strategic objective to enable multi-cloud for their customers. Where private cloud, and the inevitable infrastructure required to build and operate that are concerned, the challenge has always been how to do this in the most efficient way possible for customers at any scale. HyperCloud coupled with Anthos enables an open cloud approach which allows public sector customers to not have to think about the vendor, and focus on driving value.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and elsewhere, the move to the public cloud over the last few years has been inexorable, driven by the enormous advantages of the public cloud, as well as government policy.
Take for example, the UK’s Government Cloud First Policy, which states:
“When procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should default to Public Cloud first, using other solutions only where this is not possible. This approach is mandatory for central government, and strongly recommended to the wider public sector.”
However, therein lies a major problem for public sector organisations – the grey zone where public cloud is unsuitable for certain workloads. Increasing concerns over data privacy and sovereignty, regulatory compliance and security have forced many public sector organisations, particularly in the National Security sphere, to insist on greater assurances around one or more of these vectors.
Hence, as organisations grow and their IT and their requirements become more complex, the vast majority need to pursue a hybrid cloud strategy. This provides them with the ability to keep some workloads and data on-premises, while others sit in the public cloud, and/or are able to move between private and public cloud (or clouds).
If you care about the performance, resiliency and security of your public cloud, logic dictates that you must also care deeply about your private cloud too – otherwise, the benefits of building a hybrid cloud architecture are for nought as soon as that workload is deployed on-premises.
But current on-premise offerings don’t quite cut the mustard. You may not even call them a cloud.
Many options out there, like Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI), don’t give you the availability to customise your own cloud provision and don’t deliver the cloud service layer that actually makes a cloud a cloud. They ignore the networking – the single biggest headache in owning a cloud – and use generic, converged, appliances with limited scaling options. These are all costly and inefficient to both buy and run, and won’t scale elastically to meet future demand.
And don’t forget that most options require subscriptions to multiple, complex and expensive licences and lock you to a single cloud provider, their roadmap & pricing.
All of this falls short when you are looking to reduce inconsistent environments, security and misconfiguration risks, and operational toil.
To consistently achieve the required configuration, security, and management objectives of your private cloud or hybrid environment with Anthos, the underlying infrastructure needs to be more than a collection of disparate parts and systems.
Enter HyperCloud, radically simple, allowing you to focus on innovation, not infrastructure in any private or hybrid environment.
For public sector customers that care about sovereignty HyperCloud provides a unique proposition. HyperCloud is uniquely auditable across every line of code, component and point of manufacture. There is no reliance on any public cloud or obfuscated software and staff can operate the environment with in-house IT teams, not consultants, retaining control over data and workloads. Perhaps, most significantly, HyperCloud’s hardware and software is designed and engineered in AUKUS partner countries only, reducing supply chain exposure to China and mitigating the risk of foreign interdiction into critical cloud infrastructure.
HyperCloud has security certification and accreditation up to FISMA High and FedRAMP High in the U.S, data encryption at rest and in transit up to FIPS 140-2 and stringent hardware and software security controls. For example, HyperCloud’s software development, from its inception to the current day, is undertaken in line with the US Government’s “FISMA High” controls. This means that rather than implementing security controls after the fact, SoftIron’s software stack is Secure by Design from the beginning.
On the hardware side, HyperCloud radically improves the efficiency of security audit procedures. All SoftIron appliances are built on a shared chassis platform and PCB, so many components, circuitry and firmware are consistent across multiple devices and will not change without notice.
Like Anthos, HyperCloud is highly opinionated. Both are solely optimised to perform their dedicated tasks and when combined, they unlock radical simplicity in living with your cloud environments.
Andrew duly noted in our partner piece that public sector organisations have significant legacy infrastructure and applications to look after. At the same time, newer applications are being built with a distinctly different architecture and skill set. Managing transformation and differentiated environments is inevitably complex, and with limited funding and staffing resources, the IT environments can quickly become incredibly complex to run. From a simplicity point of view, HyperCloud tackles that skills problem as it reduces the specialist resources required to run a private cloud.
Anthos’ capabilities are built around the idea of the fleet: a logical grouping of Kubernetes clusters that can be managed together. HyperCloud approaches infrastructure in a similar fashion. Take for example, HyperCloud’s unique stateless design. This places nodes in complete control of the cloud fabric, enabling them to be upgraded, replaced, re-configured or removed centrally and uniformly as a single fleet. Additionally, HyperCloud’s purposefully designed BMC runs the same custom firmware giving consistent and granular control across the entire fleet. The operating system is also custom designed for HyperCloud so when it comes time to upgrade, integrated and automated processes automatically handle power cycling, software instals and authenticity checks across the entire fleet.
Elasticity and Agility
HyperCloud as the underlying hardware platform provides an unrivalled ability to deploy and scale up or down storage and compute asynchronously based on-demand. It’s as simple as plugging in a new node and booting it up, the rest is taken care of under the hood.
Cost and Time Savings
There is no getting around the fact that most private cloud solutions are expensive. Licensing fees, the operational costs of living day-to-day with the cloud, increasing power costs and unexpected egress charges all add up.
However, in comparison to other real world private infrastructure deployments, HyperCloud customers have seen the total cost of ownership reduce dramatically.
- 76 percent of energy saved VS Traditional infrastructure
- 100 percent reduction in VMware hypervisor licensing costs
- 42 percent reduction in maintenance time
- Up to 50% cost savings vs EC2 and Azure IaaS
No Public Cloud Lock-in
Vendor-lock in is on everyone’s minds. Even the UK’s Government Cloud First Policy states:
“Where incumbent vendors are used, organisations should be aware of, and actively manage vendor lock-in.”
With solutions like Outposts and AzureStack hub, you’re immediately locked into one hyperscaler. These environments are often deployed in silos with workloads almost never moving between them, preventing multi cloud environments.
Anthos on HyperCloud negates this problem. Anthos acts as a single pane of glass while HyperCloud provides interoperability and bursting capabilities with other public cloud and private Cloud resources from a single API.