VMware Cloud Environment

Enterprise level virtual datacentre: providing highly redundant, fast and scalable solutions.

Introduction

Virtualisation has been slowly revolutionising computing for over 10 years now. When we undertook the challenge of building a new VMware environment, we decided that it should encompass the best that virtualisation had to offer whilst rivalling the performance of traditional physical server-based solutions. To help overcome this challenge, we looked to VMware, who are arguably the leaders in the virtualisation market.

Traditional physical solutions

Physical servers are flexible and allow us to create some excellent solutions to various IT challenges. However, all dedicated solutions suffer from the same drawback: hardware failure. The only way to negate hardware failure is to use redundant hardware. This can be done in master/slave configurations or, more commonly these days, by clustering services on multiple hardware platforms.

Issues with master/slave and clustered configurations

Unfortunately, more hardware means two things: a more costly solution and a more complex solution. A master/slave setup offers N+1 redundancy. If you require more than this then you will need to look at complex clustered solutions. What all this means in real terms is that you end up paying out good money for hardware that, if you're lucky, you will never use.

These factors are the main driver behind the development of virtualisation technology.

Virtualisation

In its simplest terms, virtualisation is a way of taking a physical server and partitioning it into many virtual servers. Thanks to Hypervisor-based virtualisation technology (VMware), each VM (virtual machine) has its own distinct set of resources that is accessed at a hardware level. VMs are completely unaware of each other and do not contend for each other's resources.

From your perspective a VM will look and behave exactly like a physical dedicated server.

How VMware handles redundancy.

Virtual hosts are still physical servers, suffering from the same issues (such as hardware failure) as a traditional physical server environment. These hardware failures are dealt with in exactly the same way as in physical environments. Multiple components such as power supplies are standard across our VMware cloud environment but it is clustering that really brings this product into its own.

Our cloud VMware environment is actually a large cluster of VMware ESXi servers, all managed by a product called vCenter. vCenter monitors the health of all the ESXi hosts. Your VM exists on one of these ESXi hosts but any of the ESXi hosts are capable of running your VM. If vCenter detects an issue with any of the ESXi hosts, your VM is seamlessly moved from the host with the issue to one without. From your VM's perspective, there has been no change at all. Your VM will just continue to run as normal.

If the ESXi host that is running your machine has a total failure, vCenter will detect this and simply restart your VM on an ESXi host without issues. In this instance you will see nothing more than a reboot.

Why virtualisation is better for your solution.

Our VMware cloud environment has at least N+1 redundancy on every single component in the cluster. This includes internet connections, storage, storage networks and power. Most components are actually N+2.

Because our VMware environment is clustered and protected against hardware failure in this way, your applications and services don't need to be. You will no longer need to spend money on redundant hardware that you will never need, as the environment already has this built in.

Are there any limitations to virtualisation?

How will my virtual server perform?

In its early iterations, the overhead of virtualisation made it unsuitable for certain applications but these days are long past and major tech companies such as Microsoft and Oracle support virtual implementations for resource-hungry and complex packages such as SQL, Active directory and Exchange as standard.

This does not mean there are no performance differences. Typically, a virtual machine will have a reduction in performance of about 5% in comparison with a dedicated machine of exactly the same specification.

Many people have concerns regarding the safety and security of cloud solutions, and the concern for a lot of people is: Is my data secure? A simple answer to this question is:-

Yes, your data is as safe on our VMware cloud platform as on any dedicated server.

In a VMware clustered environment, data is not stored on the ESXi host but on a central storage platform and accessed via a storage network. However, this doesn't mean that someone could simply gain access to the storage platform and access your data.

There are many systems, both physical and virtual, that prevent this:-

As you can see, your data is as secure in a VM as it is on any dedicated server.

Does virtualization offer any other features?

Virtualisation allows us to approach the various challenges around hardware in brand new ways that would not be easy, or even possible, within a physical environment.

Flexibility

Easy upgrades and downgrades

Scaling hardware requirements is difficult, particularly in a physical environment, and it requires the physical changing of components in the servers. This usually involves a lot of downtime.

In a virtual environment, the hardware specification is defined by a configuration file, which can be edited extremely quickly. Adding more RAM and CPUs can be done in a matter of minutes and committed with a simple reboot of the operating system. Additional hard disk space doesn't even require a reboot and can be done on the fly (depending on your operating system).

Live storage migrations

VMs in our VMware cloud environment are housed on an Enterprise-level storage solution from EMC.

We have 3 tiers of storage, each with its own features which better suit it to certain workflows, and each with its own costs. If your needs should change at any time, for whatever reason, we can easily move your VM between these tiers. This will change the performance characteristics of your VM instantly. This is done without the need for any downtime at all. It doesn't even require a restart.

Private internal networking

As well as creating virtual servers in the VMware cloud, we can also create all manner of virtual devices such as switches, firewalls and routers.

Technical Diagrams

The following diagrams are to illustrate the architecture of our VMware cloud environment. They are designed to give an indication of the technologies used to create this solution. They are not, however, 100% accurate. Some devices/configurations have been purposely left out for security reasons.

Storage network

Storage Network Diagram

Key Points

Internet access

Internet Access Diagram

Key Points

Some companies or individuals need to know certain processes are in place to ensure that their website or application will remain online during events which would take a standard server hosting environment offline. These things are numerous in nature but include disk drive failure, individual server component failure or switch failure. Any of these incidents could take a traditional hosting product offline. Our VMware Cloud Server Hosting plans consist of clusters of VMware Cloud servers connected to a remote storage device with data striped down multiple devices, redundant switches and uplinks, along with enough capacity to handle losing 40% of the hardware nodes.

Using our simple cost calculator, you can quickly build and order a VMware Cloud Hosting plan to suit your individual requirements.

Cost Calculator

Have any questions? Contact our sales team on

0800 862 0380

VMware Cloud Hosting Features

We include 2 free Dedicated IPs with each VM

Unique IP Address

Day or night, our technicians are here to help

24 x 7 Technical Support

We offer a 100% uptime guarantee in accordance with our SLA

100% Uptime Guarantee

Our NOC engineers proactively monitor our network 24 x 7

24 x 7 Monitoring

We provide full root/RDP access to your VM as standard

Root SSH / RDP Access

We'll set up your new VMware Cloud free of charge

Free Setup

VMware Cloud Technical Whitepaper

Format:

PDF or HTML

PDF Size:

520 KB

Abstract:

Technical documentation regarding VMware Cloud, virtualisation technology, and the benefits and drawbacks of the platform.

Download:

PDF   HTML

Do you offer a money back guarantee with VMware Cloud?

Yes, we offer a 30 day money back guarantee subject to our terms of service.

What is the uptime guarantee on VMware Cloud?

We are very confident in the quality and reliability of our cloud infrastructure. If your virtual machine experiences downtime that is the result of a problem with our infrastructure, you will be compensated for the period of downtime which occurs for a particular month in line with our 100% uptime service level agreement. For more information, please read our service level agreement.

Do you charge for technical support?

We always try to go out of our way to offer you the very best service we can. We very rarely charge for technical support we provide which is outside the remit of our service level agreement. Like all of our other web hosting products, our VMware cloud hosting plans are managed solutions – whether you need an image restoration, server software to be installed, recompiled or fixed or your virtual machine to be security hardened – you can contact our technical support department who will be happy to assist you.

Do you offer 24 x 7 technical support?

Yes. Our Level I, II and III support technicians, data centre engineers and experienced sales team work on alternating shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I need a solution custom to my requirements.

If you require a custom solution, our experienced sales team can work with you to offer a solution which perfectly matches your requirements. Please call our sales team on 0800 862 0380 or e-mail us on sales@eukhost.com.

Are there any time-bound contracts that I must agree to?

No, there are absolutely no time-bound contracts. Except for our 30 day rolling time-bound commitment on our line of dedicated servers, there are no time-bound contracts with any of our services. You can cancel at any time.

Do you charge VAT on this product?

Yes, VAT is included in the price.

Can I upgrade my VMware Cloud resources in the future?

Yes you can. If your usage or requirements are outstripping the current resources allocated to your virtual machine(s), you can contact our sales team for upgrade options. We never use more than 55% of the physical resources available in case a customer on a particular node needs to look at upgrading their plan or specific resources.

Is VMware Cloud secure?

Yes, it is very secure. Please see our VMware Cloud whitepaper for detailed information regarding the technical and security benefits of VMware Cloud. In essence, VMware Cloud virtual machines (VMs) are as secure as a physical server.

What are virtual servers?

Virtual servers are, as you'd expect, servers which virtually reside on a physical server. Virtualisation is the process of having a physical server partitioned into many virtual servers which act just like a physical server. The operating system on a virtual server does not know it is running in a virtualised environment – as far as the operating system is concerned, it is running on a physical server.

How does cloud hosting differ from VPS hosting?

Cloud hosting consists of a number of physical servers in a cluster which are connected to a remote storage device with redundancy at the hardware and network level. The result is a solution which is highly reliable, scalable and redundant and failsafe from scenarios which would take a standard hosting solution offline.

If the server which is hosting your virtual machine suffers from a hardware or software failure, your virtual machine is automatically transferred over to another healthy server in the cluster within seconds.

Is a VMware Cloud virtual machine as fast as a physical server?

Virtual machines are almost as fast as a physical server of the same specification – there is typically a 5% performance difference. Please see our VMware Cloud whitepaper for more information.

What happens if the operating system on my virtual machine corrupts?

We securely backup your virtual machine twice weekly. While this is intended for disaster recovery, our technicians will make restorations on request if necessary.

We do recommend you consider using R1soft backups which can backup your entire virtual machine disk. If you require backup storage, you can purchase an R1soft backup plan starting at £5.00 a month.


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