Microsoft CloudOS Network - what is it?


    Let's talk a bit today about IaaS, hybrid history, service providers, hosting and Microsoft. In the new year, we will pay more attention to this interesting topic, and we begin by telling us what we have and what CloudOS is and why the COSN network (in which there are representative companies such as Softline and ) is important.
    All posts in the Hybrid Story series are tagged with the corresponding hybridstory tag .

    So, as we all know, the virtual dedicated server service appeared on the Russian market more than 7 years ago, and was immediately picked up by the largest players in the hosting arena. The evolution of this service is infrastructure as a service (the same IaaS - Infrastracture-As-A-Service).

    VPS (Virtual Private Server), also known as VDS (Virtual Dedicated Service), is a rental service for a virtual machine operating in the data center of a hosting provider. The service takes place between shared hosting (traditionally hosting websites and databases, when services of different users are running on the same physical server within the same OS) and a dedicated physical server (you are the king and god of your physical server, and do not share it anymore by whom).

    VPS has found application in cases where you want to have full control over the services inside the virtual machine, fine-tune the OS, and also in cases where you want to be able to install any software inside the OS - from game servers to 1C services. At the same time, VPS is traditionally cheaper than renting a dedicated physical server, plus you do not need to bother with failed fans and incompatible drivers.

    During these 7 years, the server virtualization market has grown significantly, and accordingly, the rental market for dedicated physical servers has also decreased. Many companies want to remove some of the servers from their server to the large data center of the hosting provider, but at the same time they want to keep all the flexibility that server virtualization already uses within the company. They are faced with the fact that the set of virtual machines that they can buy as part of the VPS service is not an equivalent substitute for what they get from the internal virtualization environment. And then IaaS just enters the scene.

    IaaS and Microsoft Technologies

    In Microsoft's view, IaaS consists of the following key elements:
    • Virtual machines
    • Virtual storage
    • Virtual networks

    What is a virtual machine, most likely, everyone understands. :)

    Virtual storages are disk spaces available to the client for use. The client does not know how the storage network is built, what storage systems are used, on which disks and on what types of RAID arrays the storage is collected. The client simply receives the required Nbytes of space for him and can choose what type of storage he buys - fast, but expensive (for example, on SSD disks), or cheap and capacious, but slow (for example, on SATA disks).

    But virtual networks are just what allows IaaS to implement such scenarios that were impossible using VPS. Virtual networks are isolated networks that a client can create with the necessary IP addresses and DHCP settings. And also, in our case, he can set up Site-to-Site VPN connections between the data center of the hosting provider and his own offices. At the same time, virtual machines of several customers can work on the same host, but they can’t see each other at all. They can even use the same IP addresses like - it’s okay, the networks are isolated from each other and do not look directly at the Internet.

    It turns out that in the case of IaaS, the client can independently create an isolated network between its virtual machines running at the hosting provider (on different hosts or even in different data centers), and then connect this virtual network to its physical network using Site-to- Site VPN. He can use the usual address space, add virtual machines to an existing domain, while virtual machines will not have direct access to the Internet. You can even make them access the Internet through an existing proxy server in one of the offices.
    Although, of course, you can select virtual machines as a full-fledged external IP address (as in the case of VPS) or release them to the Internet through a single NAT gateway of the hosting provider. But the client will be able to configure NAT rules and publish only the services he needs on the Internet.
    The IaaS concept implies that all routine actions are automated (both by the hosting provider itself and the client), the services are most customizable, and you need to call and ask for technical support to configure or change much less often.
    The IaaS concept also implies a transition from paying for a virtual machine to paying for consumed resources (as is done in Microsoft Azure). That is, you are buying from the hosting provider 20 virtual cores, 48 ​​gigabytes of RAM and 1 terabyte of fast disk storage. You can use these resources at your discretion - at least deploy one large virtual machine, at least a dozen small ones.

    The monetization model for different hosting providers may differ (for example, Azure considers everything - both IOPS, and disk space, and traffic), someone can generally take money for each virtual machine, and not for consumed resources. We can only give recommendations to our partners and provide tools for measuring consumption, but each of them takes decisions on what and how to count.

    CloudOS network

    In 2013, Microsoft presented its vision of an operating system that is unified for use on customer’s servers, in public cloud services and in data centers of hosting providers. This vision was called CloudOS.

    According to CloudOS ideology, you can easily transfer virtual machines and physical servers running Windows Server to Microsoft Azure cloud or to a hosting provider. Or vice versa. All 3 scenarios use the same format of virtual machines and virtual disks Hyper-V, which gives us such freedom of choice and mobility.
    But there are many hosting providers on the world market, and not all of them could quickly remake their infrastructure under the CloudOS ideology and can provide hybrid cloud services. To differentiate hosting providers compatible with CloudOS ideologies, we present a new affiliate program - CloudOS Network.
    CloudOS Network (COSN)Is a closed network of hosting providers around the world that provide IaaS service according to the ideology of CloudOS. In essence, this means that the hosting provider uses Hyper-V 2012 R2 as a hypervisor, System Center 2012 R2 as a management environment, and Windows Azure Pack as a self-service portal for users (or only its API, with which the hosting used provider service control panel can integrate with the infrastructure of Hyper-V and System Center).
    Each of our partners participating in the program undergoes regular checks on the conformity of the quality of customer service and the reliability of the service delivery infrastructure. We must be sure of those whom we call the CloudOS Network partner, so that our customers are confident that they choose high-quality and reliable service.

    You can get a list of hosting providers in your region participating in the CloudOS Network program on the program’s official website .

    The program was launched globally only a few months ago, so that so far there are not many hosting providers on the Russian market. But we are actively working on adding new partners to the catalog, and by the end of next year there will be many times more. 

    IaaS vs VPS

    At first glance, the IaaS under the CloudOS Network program and VPS are quite similar - both there and there you get a set of virtual machines that you have access to. But IaaS allows you to implement more use cases due to its distinctive features.


    Empty server

    In most cases, VPS did not allow you to transfer all servers from your server to the hosting provider. Usually, everything was limited to a few servers running services for external consumers - websites, b2b systems, etc.
    In the case of IaaS, your virtual network in the data center of the hosting provider is a continuation of your own network - with the same addressing and settings.
    For example, you have a main office in Moscow, where you have a large server room. And there are a dozen regional offices in which there are 2-5 servers. Most likely, you already use branch virtualization. Hyper-V is often used as a hypervisor in branches in Russia, which greatly facilitates the migration process.
    What you can do: transfer the files of your virtual machines to the cloud of the service provider, create your own virtual networks there, and then independently pass Site-to-Site VPS connections between each office and the data center of the service provider. Your virtual machines are transferred to the data center of the service provider and work there, but the consumers in the offices will not even notice the difference - the IP addresses are the same, and if suddenly the bandwidth of the Internet channel in the remote office is not enough to work correctly with the server located at the host, then the hoster will be able to guide you a fast L2 channel to your data center.
    You can also use the service provider's data center as a backup for the data center at the head office - virtual machines and servers will simply be replicated from your servers to the service provider’s cloud, and in the case, for example, if your server’s power goes out and important services are stopped, you can start the necessary servers in the cloud of the service provider, moreover, with the same IP addresses.

    Hybrid cloud

    So, we have solutions for building a private cloud on your servers. Plus, we have CloudOS Network, a community of service providers offering IaaS services to technologies you already know. And we have our own Microsoft Azure cloud.
    When you think about hosting servers, you can flexibly choose and deploy them at your own, in the data center of a service provider in Russia, or in the Microsoft Azure cloud. For example, you keep heavy SAP servers. Transfer services related to personal data to the data center of a service provider in Russia. And public services, and services that can be hosted abroad, which require maximum reliability, are transferred to Microsoft Azure. Users receive a reliable service that can run on servers in the next room (Private Cloud), in your city (CloudOS Network) or abroad (Microsoft Azure). Using virtual networks for you, all this turns into one large internal network.

    If you want to move the server to the cloud in order to reduce the cost of ownership, but Microsoft Azure for some reason does not suit you, then the cloud of the hoster included in the CloudOS Network would be the best choice.

    Visit the CloudOS Network website and select a service provider:

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