Overview of the Russian VMware hosting market. Comparison of leading corporate IaaS providers in Russia

The cloud market in Russia is developing very dynamically and now we can distinguish a separate segment in the niche for renting virtual infrastructure - the so-called “corporate” IaaS. It is distinguished, first of all, by the use of commercial hypervisors and control software, high requirements for the hardware component, with a relatively higher cost of cloud resources. At the same time, overpaying for hypervisor licenses and for using high-end equipment, the corporate customer receives the necessary functionalities, for example, HA functionality (high availability), support for any guest OS, the ability to integrate with its own virtual infrastructure, etc.

The undisputed leader in server resource virtualization for the enterprise segment today is VMware. In this post I will share information from a real project for the deployment of a virtual data center, during which all the officially existing and actually operating today in Russia VMware service providers were compared. Below will be detailed information on the distinguishing features of such companies and my thoughts on this.

Separately, it should be emphasized that everything you learn below has nothing to do with the VPS / VDS hosting market and the needs of companies that need one server and two IT people (Corporate refers to what belongs to a large company, corporation. - Explanatory dictionary of the Russian language Dmitriev. D.V. Dmitriev. 2003).

A short background. One large corporate startup selected a site for organizing a virtual data center. There are only two starting criteria for selecting suppliers:

1. The main site should be in Russia.
2. The virtualization platform used must be VMware.

I won’t go deep into the details of choosing VMware as a hypervisor, I’ll only note that the critical arguments in favor of such a solution were: the existing positive experience with the hypervisor, the High Availability, vMotion functions, support for the required OS, and the ability to pair with your own virtual infrastructure, and, in the future, the ability to use the functionality of SRM. But this is not about that, therefore we will not give additional argumentation and take these initial premises as a given.

The main platform is in Russia, to ensure minimal delays and an affordable cost of a dedicated connection to the cloud. In the future, a plus for the provider will be considered the presence of a second site similar in architecture, possibly foreign.

Go. Where can I get a list of Russian VMware service providers? To cut off all kinds of agents and resellers like 1cloud , go to http://partnerlocator.vmware.com/ , specify Country - Russian Federation, Partner Type - “Service Provider”. We get a list of VMware partners officially providing IaaS in Russia. The list of 12 companies. To be honest, we’ll sort them by the start date of the provision of services in the status of VMware Service Provider, because the order of delivery in the partner locator is completely incomprehensible to me.

So here is the list of heroes.
IaaS ProviderWebsiteSince what year has IaaS been granted
VMware Service Provider status
VSPP Affiliate Status
12.DEPO Electronicshttp://www.depo.ru/2014Professional

Immediately medals get IT-GRAD for the most experience and Dataline for the highest partner status.

The next step - we need an understanding of estimated prices for cloud resources. Most of the listed providers on the sites have calculators that calculate the total cost of a machine or pool using some non-linear formulas. For the corporate level, this, of course, is not good. We will need fixed prices for each of the resources prescribed in the contract. Moreover, even those prices that we will receive in the first commercial offer are only a starting point for pushing a real figure, for example, by holding a tender or auction. In this segment, already at a volume of 100,000 r. a monthly payment, you can agree on a substantial discount without even scaring the provider with lower competitor prices and without any competition.

In other words, the prices that we will see in the table based on the first commercial offers received are not the prices that will ultimately be in our contract and are presented solely for understanding the order of values. At the current stage, we should be more interested in the model and pricing principles. In this regard, taking into account the homogeneity of the hypervisor and the management software, we do not have such a variety as in the budget cloud hosting market.

By requesting commercial offers, we get the understanding that in this niche two main billing models are used:

  • static (for the allocated amount of resources);
  • dynamic (for the amount of resources actually consumed by the machines).

Static models differ in the size of the billing period. Also, they can be applied to hard tariff grids with a given CPU / RAM volume ratio, which is an inconvenient limitation.

A dynamic model may include a hard disk resource, in which case a gigabyte of occupied space will cost a little more than a gigabyte of allocated disk space. Or not include, then the cost of the HDD will be taken by analogy with the cost of a static model.

The dynamic billing model is not supported by all providers. This is due to the fact that it is suitable, as a rule, mainly for test and development environments. For corporate production it turns out a little expensive. Nevertheless, for those who are developing their own software, the presence of a dynamic model is a significant plus for the opportunity to save.

When asking for commercial offers in some companies, you will have to face a quest called “Get VMware exactly”. For example, in Aiteko you will be offered a budget MakeCloud on the OpenStack platform by default, while on VMware they separately implement the so-called “Enterprise Cloud”. In CloudFlowUy, the default test will be issued to you on Citrix Xen. CROC will tell you that their cloud uses Red Hat KVM virtualization, so we’ll have to clarify which hypervisor we need separately.

After completing the first quest, in most cases you will have to face the second - to get separate prices for CPU, RAM and HDD, and not just the cost of the requested pool in its entirety. Yes, and also, preferably, in rubles. Many providers offer prices in dollars, euros or cu, but since you and I are in the corporate segment, if you wish, we will be converted to rubles without any problems and will even enter these numbers into the contract. The conversion rate, however, may not please at all.

One way or another, after a few mail iterations, we get individual prices by resources, and with the help of a calculator we bring everything into a monthly payment format according to a static and dynamic model. For drives for the standard of comparison we take HDD SAS 15Kor comparable in performance from the list of tariffs offered by the provider. The cost of the processor is reduced to the cost of 1 GHz (if necessary, we divide the cost of renting a core by its clock frequency). Let me remind you once again that these prices for our case are only interesting as indicative, for understanding the general market situation. The dollar exchange rate was taken on March 19, 2014 and is equal to 36.45 rubles.

* Minimum prices, subject to the ratio of the number of processor cores to the number of GB of RAM 1: 8. If this attitude is not respected, the cost will be more expensive.

For the availability of billing for the actual consumption of resources, Dataline, IT-GRAD and SafeDate receive medals.

The striking individual low prices for RAM suggest that perhaps not all providers honestly report to VMware for licenses.

It is not possible to single out the leaders at the lowest / highest prices, the total cost will depend on the ratio of the volumes of individual resources (CPU / RAM / HDD), total volumes of consumption and the results of price negotiations.

It turns out that on the IaaS VMware market, the average starting price for a 1 GHz processor is about 500 r. per month, and about 1 GB of RAM - about 600 p. A hard drive with performance comparable to SAS 15K will cost an average of 14 rubles per GB.

If all providers are approximately the same with the processor resource and RAM (taking into account the use of common virtualization technology), and there shouldn’t be any questions on the performance of either, then with the disk subsystem everything is much more complicated. Having received the “Disk space HIGH”, “HDD FAST” or “HDD SAS 15K” positions in the control unit, we do not get any understanding as to what performance will be guaranteed to us.

The only real means of assessing the performance requirements of the disk subsystem for a particular application is to conduct load testing with measuring the current load (in IOPs) and delay (Latency, in ms) in the operating system (eliminating the stray load of other applications before). For almost any application, a latency of 20 ms is sufficient, higher latencies, as a rule, begin to affect application performance.

Therefore, we should clarify this point. It’s of particular interest - the presence of guarantees prescribed in the agreement (SLA) or at least declared guarantees for the number of input / output operations per second (IOPs) and guarantees for the maximum delay when accessing disks (Latency, ms). As well as the ability to manage the performance of our disk subsystem, in the context of the pool or in the context of individual machines (which of course is more preferable).

A little tinkering with the documentation and sellers, we get the following table.

* Agreed figures can be entered into the contract upon request, depending on the volume of consumption.

This time we give medals to Cloud providers (for the best starting performance indicators, even though this is not reflected in a typical SLA) and IT GRAD (for technological effectiveness: the ability to set the required values ​​of performance parameters within a typical SLA).

It is sad that more than half of the providers are not able to guarantee at least some figures on the performance of the disk subsystem. This means that in case of its degradation, we will still have to try very hard to prove to the provider that this is really an incident, while our application for this time may completely lose its working capacity.

Now we turn, in fact, to performance guarantees. Usually, organizations providing any IT services usually make out SLAs, which record guaranteed availability, quality service parameters, service levels, etc. Surprisingly, not all VMware service providers have SLAs, or some providers understand SLA as purely operational rules. technical support services.

Since we are comparing here, we will pay attention to guaranteed availability and compensation in case of violation - these items are, if not in the SLA, then at least in the contract. So, having examined the main compensation schemes, we can distinguish the following:

  1. Linear scale in direct proportion to downtime
  2. Progressive scale, with thresholds and limit the amount of compensation,
  3. Lack of a typical compensation scheme. Compensation for proven damage, with a limitation on the amount of compensation

How it looks in numbers is shown below.

* 1 incident is allowed with a resolution time of not more than 90 minutes
** Availability for the year, 3.3% penalty for every 0.1% decrease in availability. Penalty on the amount of payments for the last quarter.
*** SLA is missing.
**** Losses are reimbursed to the extent of the amounts received and must be documented.

* Compensation for quarterly payments with an average annual decrease in availability reduced to 1 month. Those. if during the year 11 days were unavailable, the last quarterly payment will be fully compensated.

Based on the results of the above analysis, we will no doubt hand over the Softline medal for the toughest SLA in terms of compensation for violation of availability.

After the accessibility that almost everyone has, we will try to assess the saturation of the SLAs used in terms of parameters and quality indicators. We reviewed the parameters and performance indicators of the disk subsystem earlier, so we will focus on regulating the quality of support services.

After analyzing the procedural moments, it's time to look at such tangible things as a cloud platform and a platform for its placement. Let's start with the traditional questions regarding iron, which is part of the platform.

The configuration of a typical server cell is, as it turned out, very confidential information, which corporate IaaS providers are extremely reluctant to share.

In the absence of the full amount of reliable information on this slice, we will not hand over the medals, but it is worth highlighting important points, such as the used processor generation, their frequency and the size of the server cell. Obviously, newer processors will give greater performance at 1 GHz frequency, a higher clock frequency per core is the only way to accelerate the execution of applications that parallelize their work less efficiently, and the size of the server cell directly limits the size of the created virtual machines, for example, powerful database servers. Concealment of such information from a potential client is clearly a bad sign.

Among the storage systems used to build public clouds on VMware, NetApp is the leader in Russia.

On a number of issues, without deep research, we will not be able to make a difference. For example, all VMware IaaS providers declare the presence of two independent Internet channels with automatic switching by means of network equipment (it will be possible to verify only in practice). Everyone declares by default the HA (High Availability) feature enabled by default. All service providers formally declare a 100% guarantee of the allocation of the declared resources for the client.

Below is the status of virtualization software for the first quarter of 2014. Megaphone is frustrating.

Having dealt with hardware and virtualization software, let's move on to an overview of the sites that host cloud platforms. Formally, all VMware hosts declare that their data centers comply with the TIA-942 Tier 3 standard. Traveling to all data centers and checking whether this is actually the case is not our option. Therefore, the easiest and most reliable way will be to check the availability of certificates confirmed by the Uptime Institute:

  • Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility
  • Tier III Certification of Design Documents

Validated UTI certificates can be viewed here: http://uptimeinstitute.com/TierCertification/certMaps.php .
A list of verified VMware sites can be found here: http://vcloudproviders.vmware.com/vcloud_ecosystem .
Sites with a declared reliability category below Tier 3 will not be considered here as “unincorporated”. All of these data centers, of course, if you wish, you can visit by arranging an excursion with the appropriate cloud provider VMware.

According to the results of the site review, CROC and IT-GRAD will receive medals for the sites fully certified by the Tier III Uptime Institute.

As a result, we examined the main “hard” parameters by which a corporate client can compare VMware service providers. All data is as of Q1 2014 and is based on data received by real customers during private closed tenders for VMware virtual infrastructure rental based on an analysis of typical providers' offers.

The data given may not be accurate , but the good news is that, as mentioned earlier, in the corporate segment there is an opportunity to correct many things, roughly, “on the go”, for example:

  • agree on substantially more favorable price conditions than the prices presented here by default providers;
  • offer the provider and coordinate with him his own edition of SLA;
  • coordinate the individual configuration of the hardware platform that underlies the cloud data center;
  • take into account other individual Wishlist in design mode.

The ability to negotiate and adjust the conditions for you depends on the size of the project - on the client’s side, and the share of the cloud business in the total activity - on the part of the provider.

We will not single out the comparison leader in this review of VMware service providers, since for each client each criterion has its own weight. Therefore, we restrict ourselves to the general impression of the current market.

If you look at the development of the Russian VMware hosting market in dynamics, you can clearly distinguish the pioneers: IT-GRAD, Datalayn, Cloud one and Seyfdata. Moreover, Datalayn and Seyfdata is initially a data-center business, frolicking in IaaS. These providers place their platforms exclusively on their own sites. IT-GRAD and Cloud one - initially cloud-based companies that place their capacities in data centers of their choice.

Large integrators and communication providers, such as CROC, Aiteko, Lanit, Megafon and Rostelecom, are pulling up behind them.
And finally, in the first quarter of this year, integrators such as Softline and Depot entered the VMware hosting market.

An analysis of the presented data shows that the most developed services, both from the technical and organizational side, are among the companies that were the first to start in this market and currently have the largest number of customers using IaaS VMware, thanks to the focused work on the corporate segment during last five years. By indirect indications, these are IT-GRAD and Datalayn (actually used sites, equipment level, partner status, etc.). MegaFon and Rostelecom are in their infancy, IaaS VMware, but for them this, apparently, is not critical, as they are aimed at regional government customers, the demand from which this, obviously, will not affect in any way.

It will be easiest to agree on the correction of the service and the conditions for its provision with companies for which corporate IaaS is the main activity (IT-GRAD, Dataline, Cloudone, SafeData, Cloud4Y). Integrator companies (Croc, I-Teco, SoftLine, DEPO, Lanit) are more focused on the sale of “as is” services, while the “as is” significantly lags behind in terms of the degree of elaboration from what is available on the market for specialized IaaS providers, or try to translate the client into their usual project approach with a charged price tag for a dedicated solution. Federal communication providers (Megafon, Rostelecom) are not at all ready for a dialogue with a potential corporate commercial client with minimal elaboration of their services.

I hope that the material presented in this article will help corporate customers demand more from virtual infrastructure providers, and corporate IaaS providers on VMware to refine their proposals.

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