September 23, 2020

SDN makes cloud offshoring more attractive


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Calligo may not be the first to take its cloud operations offshore, but in the age of software-defined networking (SDN), it could be the start of something bigger.

“It’s unclear if a small, niche player that offers the benefits having actual servers located on the Channel Islands can create a business that can compete with Amazon’s infrastructure as a service or the myriad private clouds people want to build, but the experiment is worth watching,” writes GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham.

What’s on offer? Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) (running VMware CloudFoundry): check; Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) (tapping Nicira and SolidFire): check; a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform: check; and disaster recovery and a virtual desktop program: check, check

All these offerings come by way of leased servers on France’s Channel Islands “to provide a cloud option for companies that need to keep their data offshore.” Been there, done that with HavenCo (more on that below.)

What’s so interesting is that the decision to go offshore is made easier in the age of SDN.

GigaOm writes:

Calligo is using Nicira’s software to create software-defined networks inside its data centers and between them to create a seamless and unified cloud for clients while also ensuring that specific security and data routing protocols are kept in place. Much like Google’s use of software-defined networks between its data centers, or NTT’s experiments in creating a seamless failover environment spread between multiple data centers in Japan, Calligo is showing what a abstracting the network from the physical infrastructure can do.

…[Calligo] says it’s possible to use Nicira’s software to essentially cobble together various layers of infrastructure into a seamless cloud from the client’s perspective.

So by using whitebox networking gear, Calligo saves a bunch, the story goes. But here’s what stands out most, cloud watchers: “In many ways Calligo has built a software-defined data center…” Higginbotham writes.

Calligo says the Cayman Islands may be next, but the further offshore and with greater distances between centers comes latency, which wreaks havoc on cloud services.

What’s the big deal here? If it’s a demo of a abstracting from physical hardware and showcases software-defined data center, that’s great but why does it have to be on an island?

Eventually Box says Calligo plans to offer and offshore Dropbox-style personal storage account since many of the employees at its proposed customer base are leery of their employees using services like Dropbox given the sensitivity of having corporate data land on servers that could be located in the U.S.

While an entirely different fish in the sea, given it was located on the smallest man-made island of Sealand, HavenCo thought it could set up and keep out the bad guys, but that failed and it closed in 2008.

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