Microsoft's Cloud OS partner network is picking up steam and one of the first companies to launch a managed private cloud offering under the program is Chicago-based managed services provider Hostway.
The small and midsize business (SMB) technology specialist today unveiled new virtual and dedicated private cloud services for businesses seeking "greater and granular control over their cloud," said Tony Savoy, general manager and vice president of managed hosting and cloud services at Hostway. As a long-time Microsoft partner, Hostway's new offerings are based on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack, a collection of cloud services and management technologies from the software giant that integrates with Windows Server, System Center and SQL Server.
Taking lessons from its own Azure public cloud build-out, Microsoft launched its Cloud OS Network for businesses and IT services providers seeking to deploy their own private and hybrid clouds. Since its debut in late 2013, the program attracted more than 100 service providers and 600 data centers, Marco Limena, vice president of hosting service providers at Microsoft, revealed in October.
Now, SMBs can take advantage of some of the benefits inherent in private cloud implementations, Savoy told eWEEK. Hostway's private cloud implementation is targeted at businesses "looking for better performance and predictability," as well as those seeking a helping hand in the form of "managed services on top of the virtual private cloud."
For resource-strapped SMBs, Hostway's solution provides a shortcut to adaptive, cloud-enabled workloads. "Many organizations lack the bandwidth to fully manage their environments given their internal constraints," Robert Boles, CEO at Hostway, said in a statement. "With our new private cloud, they can now look to Hostway for that management."
By using the Windows Server 2012 R2 platform and Azure Pack as a private cloud foundation, Hostway's product "can help speed time to value and reduce cost by simplifying underlying infrastructure and delivering the flexibility to move workloads between on-premises environments and the cloud," Michael Leworthy, group manager of Microsoft's Enterprise Cloud, said in a statement.
By basing the services on Windows Server 2012 R2, Hostway can deploy virtual servers in minutes and use the operating system's support for Hyper-V's live migration features to provide high availability and disaster recovery services. Self-service management capabilities are provided by Azure Pack integrations.
John Hamner, senior product manager at Hostway, said his company's approach to remotely hosted private clouds is fundamentally different from that of most providers. Whereas resource management and allocation is virtually segregated, "ours is done at the network level as well as the hardware level," providing isolation for security-conscious customers within the company's data centers, he said.
Noting that there is a feature lag between Microsoft's current Azure public cloud capabilities and those delivered through the Cloud OS Network, Hostway takes a "consultative approach" to getting customers up and running, said Hamner. Migration projects are aided by Hostway personnel in a process that employs Microsoft's production-stable server and virtualization software.
Leading up to the service's rollout, the company "spared no expense" on "best-of-breed hardware," ensuring SMB workloads achieve enterprise-grade uptime and reliability, Hamner said. "Only an act of God can take it down," he said. The service also helps the company move a bit upmarket as enterprises look to add flexibility to their on-premises or Azure-based workloads, he said.