New virtual hosting services from Claranet represent the next stage in cloud evolution

Award-winning managed services provider, Claranet, today announced the launch of a three-tier virtual hosting service offering that will meet the complex, varied and rapidly changing hosting requirements of UK and EU businesses. The three cloud services - Dedicated Virtual Hosting (DVH), Multi-tenant Virtual Hosting (MVH) and Shared Virtual Hosting (SVH) - offer customers unmatched flexibility, reliability and cost control. By combining them with its pan-EU networking capability, Claranet has created a unique end-to-end service offering that represents the next step in the evolution of cloud computing.

With enterprise consumers seeking a more holistic solution to their business-driven application and infrastructure needs, they are hoping that cloud will offer them a cost-effective and secure solution for all of their workloads.

To date there has been a gap in expectations with most service providers able to only deliver off-premise solutions on public or shared virtual infrastructure, at arm’s length to their private environments. The next stage in development of cloud platforms is to offer enterprises a single provider of SLAs and solutions suited to a variety of workloads ranging in security and performance sensitivity, for both simple and complex deployments.

Antonio Piraino, Vice President of Research, Tier1 Research, a division of The 451 Group

Claranet’s new cloud services fit the bill. They are designed to meet the particular hosting demands, and associated networking demands, of different parts of a business’s IT infrastructure in the simplest and most cost-effective way, without compromising reliability or security. For example, an e-commerce business might host its large-scale mission-critical online application on DVH - which also supports PCI DSS compliance. Simultaneously, it may use MVH resources as an emergency scaling platform to handle spikes in demand, or for disaster recovery; and SVH as a development environment, or for non-critical website operations, such as a heavy video or document downloading.

According to Michel Robert, managing director of Claranet UK, having access to this range of cloud services from one provider will benefit businesses that have had to either rely on one type of hosting solution for everything, or host various parts of their IT with multiple vendors.

Many businesses are paying over-the-odds for a dedicated hosting solution that under-utilises available resources and is not efficient,” said Robert. “Others are coping with the management headache and additional costs associated with using several vendors, all with separate SLAs. Our three-tier virtual hosting service offering aims to eliminate these problems by providing greater choice and flexibility from one provider; hosting and network reliability assured under one simple, business-relevant SLA; and improved cost control through server virtualisation and matching the right hosting solution with the right application or IT function.

Michel Robert, Managing Director of Claranet UK

UK businesses in particular will benefit from Claranet’s new offering in that all three tiers can be hosted in the UK. This means that organisations can be sure of where their data resides, and it makes complying with local regulations simpler. For EU organisations, DVH and MVH can be located in the UK, France and Germany if required from a disaster recovery, resiliency or regulatory point of view.

Additional Information

Dedicated Virtual Hosting (or Enterprise Private Cloud, as per analyst Tier1 Research’s terminology)
Organisations would use DVH for business-critical, complex web-based or intranet applications that need large-scale computing resources and/or very high availability, and/or to comply with regulations such as PCI DSS. Note that it is not just for large organisations; e.g. a SME that sells online and needs to comply with PCI DSS would use DVH for the e-commerce aspect of its IT infrastructure.

Francois Chabat, Technology Manager at Five TV, said:

Virtualisation is at the forefront of where the hosting industry is going and Claranet is certainly leading the way in this regard. We look forward to continuing our work with Claranet as our digital media strategy evolves.

Multi-tenant Virtual Hosting (or Enterprise Public Cloud)
MVH suits applications or IT functions that need a high level of functionality, security and reliability, but not the massive computing resource, high availability or regulatory support of DVH. For example, a public website with an application layer and a database layer, or a Microsoft Exchange email server with Windows domain controllers. Businesses using MVH will traditionally have relied on dedicated servers, but can now realise substantial cost savings without compromising the performance of their application or IT operation.

Andy Scutt, Technical and Operations Director at network and application monitoring company NetEvidence, said:
With our continuing growth, we needed a hosting platform that was highly flexible. Claranet’s MVH platform enables us to easily add capacity as demand for our services increases, in a flexible and cost effective manner. It also gives us a level of hardware resiliency without the need for multiple servers. In addition, scaling platforms up (as well as down) is made a lot easier which, in turn, results in more economic server specifications/pricing.

Our services are delivered via the cloud. This allows us to ensure that we always have the right level of computing power to underpin our services, without needing to worry about buying and managing hardware. If we get a sudden surge in demand for our platform, Highlight, we can easily adapt to meet that demand. And we know that the level of support will match what we’ve come to expect from Claranet.

Shared Virtual Hosting (or Mass-market Public Cloud)
For businesses that want the flexibility of having their own hosted virtual server, as opposed to basic shared webspace, but may lack the budget to afford high availability or are growing rapidly, SVH is ideal. Although this means that SVH tends to suit the hosting needs of SMEs, it’s also suited to specific parts of the IT infrastructure or operation of larger organisations. For example, a multinational may use it to host a development environment to test some new code. In this case, the lower availability provided by SVH is balanced against its flexibility and lower cost.

Steve Fung, Technical Director at web development and marketing agency Alchemy Interactive, said:
Upgrading from a physically shared website hosting platform to a virtual shared service means we now have a tailored solution that gives us complete control over what we put on our virtual machines, as opposed to having to make do with a standardised service. And we can adjust software requirements as our customers’ demands dictate without having to pay for this capacity in advance. We’re effectively gaining the flexibility of a physically dedicated server without having to pay the extra costs for the hardware.

This flexibility means we can be much more agile than before and react quickly to any changes needed. For example, we can create new website platforms readily as we know the resource is available when needed. In addition, we’ve experienced far less contention on the SVH platform, which in turn means our customers’ hosted applications perform better.

Finally, as our hosting requirements vary in line with the projects we are working on, if we have a new customer on board with specific security requirements or high capacity demands, we know that we can then choose another of Claranet’s virtual hosting services [DVH or MVH] - with their higher security, bandwidth and resiliency levels - to match these particular requirements. This avoids the timely and costly outlay associated with having to move all of our hosting requirements to a completely new platform.