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Carpathia Pushes Enterprise Cloud Over the Arizona Desert

8/26/2009

Ashburn, Virginia-based colocation and managed hosting provider Carpathia Hosting has expanded its cloud coverage over to its Phoenix datacenter. The company first released its enterprise and federally focused cloud services into general availability in June, launched from its Blue Ridge Datacenter in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The cloud service, called Carpathia AlwaysOn/InstantOn, is intended to bolster Carpathia's colocation, bandwidth and managed services already delivered in the Phoenix datacenter. The double-barreled AlwaysOn/InstantOn name may be a little unusual, but it is purposefully meant to signify the fact that the new offering will leverage Carpathia's existing managed hosting services (AlwaysOn), and its ability to allow customer to move seamlessly between dedicated infrastructure and its cloud infrastructure (InstantOn). This hybrid solution allows enterprises to have the same level of security, availability and reliability of a traditionally hosted environment paired with instant access to cloud computing and storage together is known as Carpathia Cloud Orchestration.

We expect Carpathia to continue expanding these services to its other facilities. It operates all of its services from its datacenters located in Ashburn and Harrisonburg, Virginia; Phoenix, Arizona; and Los Angeles. Carpathia was also recently announced as an anchor tenant for Advanced Data Centers' facility in Sacramento, California. Earlier in May, the company also took datacenter space at Switch and Data'slocation at the 151 Front Street carrier hotel in downtown Toronto, Canada.

T1R first created the analogy of the hybrid solution being equated to the car buying/renting industry a year ago – and the notion has been used a great deal by Carpathia of late. As John Greaves, CTO of Carpathia, specifies – colocation is similar to purchasing a car, with maintenance done yourself as the user. Managed services are like leasing a car with the leaseholder maintaining the rights to the car. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is like renting a car for the day or week. The importance to the analogy is really to simplify the message for end users, in understanding that there is no longer a need to commit oneself to any one particular solution or expenditure – and that different workloads, applications or problems may require a different resource or cost. In T1R 's view, this is really what cloud computing is about – not just having a highly flexible utility resource available, but a hybrid model that is flexible enough to wrap around a complex solution with appropriate resources molded to each component of the ecosystem. In order to do this more efficiently, a degree of automation is needed.

Carpathia has spoken a great deal about cloud orchestration. The company represents the concept through its interface, which sits on top of both its cloud computing and dedicated infrastructure inside the Carpathia Services Platform (CSP). Its purpose is to blend resources based on a number of criteria such as SLAs, predicted capacity spikes, CLI, API, disaster-recovery events, etc. It's also a series of Carpathia Hosting-developed virtual machine images that provide the glue to make this possible. For example, the solution provides a virtual machine that can monitor the performance of dedicated infrastructure. When certain conditions are met, it automatically provisions more compute resources in the cloud and then removes them when the demand subsides. Virtual machines can also provide load balancing, layer three to seven switches and provide firewalls with capabilities to automatically reconfigure to support more application virtual machines as they are provisioned. This is a prime example of the kind of flexibility and automation that is needed in order to meet the mark of a cloud service as part of hybrid solution.

Carpathia is following suit in what continues to be a series of new cloud computing services aimed at the enterprise segment. While most hosters are offering enterprise solutions based on VMware, in order to play the numbers and provide a continuum to what the majority of enterprises have deployed in-house, Carpathia has gone down the less-expensive Citrix XenSource route. Irrespective of this, the notion of a hybrid model is proving very appealing to the enterprise sector as it looks to have some workloads operate on dedicated environments, some on managed infrastructure and finally, a portion on cloud infrastructure. Carpathia seems to be getting the mix right in light of its recent enterprise (and federal) wins – that incorporate having the option of colocation in its arsenal. The extension over to Phoenix is a good idea as it provides another backup location even for the cloud services, and opens up clouds to a new market – that, despite being distance-agnostic in theory, seems to garner a great deal of local interest as well.