Firing up a few virtual machines in the cloud is a relatively simple endeavor. Being able to manage a public cloud service like a natural extension of an enterprise network is quite another.
Tier 3, a provider of cloud services that are optimized for traditional enterprise applications, now provides customers with self-service provision networks on the Tier 3 cloud service.
According to Tier 3 CTO Jared Wray, the problem most enterprise customers have with public cloud services comes down to visibility and control. Hardly any provide much in the way of visibility into their operations and next to none give enterprise customers control over any physical resources.
Wray says its background in providing hosting services lead Tier 3 to build out its cloud to specifically meet the more granular management requirements of enterprise customers.
Built around nine data centers running VMware or instances of Cloud Foundry from Pivotal or Iron Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments, the self-service capabilities provided by Tier 3 cover the creation and management of load balancers for web applications, VLANs for building secure n-tier systems, site-to-site VPNs, and custom IP ports for firewalls.
Wray says that when it comes to cloud computing in the enterprise, the two biggest trends are self-service capabilities that give IT organizations control over the cloud and auto-scaling of cloud resources. At the moment, Wray says that Tier 3 is optimized to auto-scale applications vertically within the same system, but will soon be able to provide that capability in horizontal fashion that dynamically scales out.
To grow, Wray says cloud service providers will need to automate like crazy. The hubris that many rival cloud service providers have, says Wray, is the assumption that the end customer shouldn’t have granular control over how that automation gets applied.
Part of a growing wave of VMware cloud service providers, Tier 3 is trying to blur the lines between cloud services and on-premise applications. As that occurs, it’s going to be difficult to distinguish between where one cloud begins and another ends.