Taking the Cloud In-House

Cloud Inside a House

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015

The success of the Cloud focuses on two key factors – virtualisation to ensure hardware resources are maximized, and scalability to assist with shifting demands for computing resources. Third party public Cloud services are specifically geared to delivering against both these demands, but there remain some serious concerns that need to be addressed for enterprise deployments.

The problem of ‘guest escape’

Because virtual servers make use of shared host hardware, there is always a risk that one machine image may access another. Bugs in the hypervisor, or insecure virtual networking configuration could see virtual servers interacting against the intended design. Worse still, a compromised image could be used by cybercriminals to attack other corporate resources, stealing data or taking systems offline.

In a public Cloud setting, guest leak is not limited to your own virtual servers – pooled hardware resources means that machines belonging to any service user could conceivably be used to access yours, reducing the control you have over the infrastructure and security.

Taking it back in-house

The reality is that although public Cloud services do keep hypervisors and hardware up-to-date, there will always be some risk of guest escape, placing service users’ data at risk. And without any degree of control over the virtual infrastructure, users are completely reliant on the service provider.

The only answer to the dilemma is to build a private Cloud solution. This will then allow your business to take advantage of the scalable nature of on-demand computing and retain complete control of the virtual infrastructure. Most businesses assume that private Cloud solutions are too expensive to implement, requiring significant investment in new hardware.

But by pooling older systems, it becomes possible to build a cost-effective Cloud platform that offers the required scalability and additional value from existing hardware investments. You can even expand capacity as required at far lower cost than purchasing new systems.

Most importantly of all, your business minimises the security risks associated with public Cloud, and the fall-out from guest leakage between virtual servers belonging to other businesses.