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Comparison of IaaS solutions: how companies find the right solution

by Jürgen Frisch
Dr. Helmut Cantzler, Lead Enterprise Architect Cloud Computing at T-Systems
Dr. Helmut Cantzler, Lead Enterprise Architect Cloud Computing at T-Systems

T-Systems offers three Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions. Dr. Helmut Cantzler, Lead Enterprise Architect Cloud Computing at T-Systems, helps companies choose the IaaS option that is most suitable for them as business users from the array of Telekom cloud services.

Dr. Helmut Cantzler, Lead Enterprise Architect Cloud Computing at T-Systems

In the first part of our interview, Dr. Cantzler describes the various IaaS services offered by T-Systems: Microsoft Azure, the DSI vCloud and the Open Telekom Cloud. The deployment scenarios for these cloud solutions are important – on the basis of these, anyone interested in cloud services can decide which of T-Systems’ three IaaS solutions is best suited to their needs.

Dr. Cantzler, please describe the Infrastructure as a Service solutions currently offered by T-Systems.

Dr. Helmut Cantzler: DSI vCloud (Dynamic Services for Infrastructure with vCloud) is T-Systems’ classic cloud service for Infrastructure as a Service, which is based on the VMware virtualization solution and has a strong focus on infrastructure.

The Open Telekom Cloud is a relatively new cloud service based on the OpenStack architecture, which we are gradually developing with solutions such as Database as a Service.

Azure is Microsoft’s Infrastructure as a Service solution; alongside a broad infrastructure base, it includes a wide range of services and is closely integrated with the Microsoft ecosystem.

IaaS products offered by Deutsche Telekom
IaaS products offered by Deutsche Telekom

In the IaaS cloud, the ecosystem decides

What do you think about Infrastructure as a Service solutions with ecosystems?

The term ecosystem refers to the cloud product world offered by an IT manufacturer as well as its connections and interfaces to products provided by partners. If a company opts for Infrastructure as a Service, it is important to check which application programming interfaces (API) are supported by the respective cloud service.

DSI vCloud integrates well with VMware’s existing customer installations. Azure can be closely integrated with Microsoft environments, while Open Telekom Cloud provides programming interfaces to OpenStack, which supports a wide range of third-party products.

Which criteria can companies use to decide which cloud services are best suited to their business?

In principal, all of these cloud solutions offer the basic services for Infrastructure as a Service, including virtual machines and virtual networks, for example. However, there are differences in the advanced features, performance and quality of service offered by each cloud solution. Some cloud services offer database services in different forms.

Others, on the other hand, are characterized by high performance with very large virtual machines or special hardware for high-performance computing. Let’s assume a company wants to operate an on-premises SAP system and supplement it with cloud modules for personnel management, travel expense accounting and customer service, for example.

It’s up to the customer: SaaS or their own cloud infrastructure

How can the cloud modules be linked to the in-house system? What Infrastructure as a Service products are available for the cloud modules?

First of all, the company needs to decide whether it wants to use one or more Software as a Service solutions for its business case, or whether it would rather set up a cloud infrastructure using its own software installation.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) model makes it easy to purchase and quickly deploy a cloud solution without the customer needing to install and maintain the application. If the customer wants to set up Infrastructure as a Service using their own software, they proceed in the same way as if they were integrating an additional data center into their IT environment, by connecting the virtual Infrastructure as a Service environment to their network.

In the simplest scenario, the connection to the cloud is made via the Internet, or they can establish the connection via a secure virtual private network. After connecting to the cloud, the software is installed and integrated with the in-house modules like a user directory service.

An SAP system in the cloud requires a high degree of system availability

What if a company wants to use an entirely cloud-based SAP system? Are any special provisions necessary for this business application when it comes to availability?

As with an in-house installation, an SAP system in the cloud requires extremely high system availability. Customers can decide how much they want to invest in high availability on the basis of their own requirements and the desired guaranteed availability of cloud products.

In order to assess the availability of cloud services, the company needs to examine the associated service level agreements very carefully. Some providers, like Amazon and Azure, significantly limit the warranty in the small print.

The type of installation depends on the level of availability needed: either a single installation or a redundant installation in a single data center for less demanding requirements, or two installations in two separate data centers for very demanding business-critical systems. In this case, the cloud system can still be used even if a data center fails completely.

Further information on IaaS and PaaS can be found in this video.

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