To Ken Ziegler, president and chief operating officer at managed hosting provider Logicworks, moving into the cloud is just a natural extension for his company.
That is the impetus behind Logicworks' Private Cloud offering, which the company unveiled June 17.
Based on VMware's Virtual Infrastructure virtualization technology and its own management capabilities along with those from VMware, Logicworks is offering a service that includes all the benefits of cloud computing without all the problems of a shared environment, Ziegler said in an interview.
The new offering is aimed at businesses that need high availability and top security, such as enterprises, financial services portals and e-commerce sites.
Logicworks uses such technologies as systems powered by Intel's new Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" processors and 40 gigabits-per-second InfiniBand connectivity. It also uses solid-state drives and the latest VMware offerings, and will soon offer VMware's vSphere 4, which will enable businesses to have up to eight processor cores per virtual machine.
Logicworks' Private Clouds are fully dedicated to each customer, and can be customized based on individual requirements. They offer the same flexibility, performance and security that its other bare-metal service provides, but with improved redundancy, scalability and manageability, thanks to VMware's Virtual Infrastructure.
A Logicworks Private Cloud has at least two front-end VMware ESX servers and two iSCSI servers for redundancy and protection against service interruptions. Those iSCSI servers include DRBD, which is used in high-availability clusters and ensure that data written to one is simultaneously written to the second. If the primary fails, the secondary automatically takes its place.
Customers manage their private clouds through VMware's vCenter software and Logicworks' LogicOps proprietary customer portal.
Manageability is key concern for businesses, which are seeing their data center environments becoming more complex.
"The whole concept of cloud computing is rooted in the idea of making complex management problems disappear," he said.
Ziegler said the economy is helping to drive the interest in cloud computing. IT budgets are getting slashed, but IT professionals are still being asked to do more, he said.
"Companies are not green-lighting capital projects, so they might look to cloud computing as an alternative," Ziegler said.
There's no capital expenditures with cloud computing, which lowers the cost of getting involved, he said.
IDC is expecting to see significant growth in cloud computing. The research firm said in April that it expects worldwide spending on cloud services to almost triple by 2012, reach $42 billion, driven in large part by the promise of giving businesses a cheaper way to use technology.