Tata Communications has unveiled a managed private cloud service tailored to enterprise customers, with a self-service portal to provision and manage resources and the ability to handle resources on AWS and Azure the same way.
IZO Private Cloud was officially announced today, but has been in operation for some time with selected Tata customers, the firm said. It offers enterprise customers a fully managed private cloud hosted in any one of Tata's data centres around the globe, as part of the firm's Cloud Enablement Services portfolio.
The service is based on the OpenStack Kilo platform released earlier this year, with additional layers of management and automation tools to meet enterprise requirements for security, audit trails and ease of use, with enterprise-grade service level agreements (SLAs) added.
In fact, the customer does not see OpenStack at all, but interacts with their infrastructure entirely through the IZO Private Cloud portal.
"IZO Private Cloud is a platform for enterprise customers to bring in their mission-critical applications within a private cloud environment hosted in our data centres with a high level of security and SLAs around it," said C R Srinivasan, vice president for global product management in Tata's Data Centre Services division.
"OpenStack provides certain capabilities, but we understand enterprise requirements and enterprise operational needs, especially for audit and compliance, so we have introduced a layer of management in our framework around OpenStack called Catalyst.
"This allows us to integrate business application engines, and that allows us to implement business rules such as validating users and role-based access control to services."
Automation is a key capability for Tata, and Srinivasan said that the platform integrates with ITIL and third-party workflows so that if an authorised user goes to the management console and clicks to launch a new virtual machine (VM), the system automatically creates a request for the orchestration service and logs the user ID and profile to create an audit trail.
If the desired action should fail for any reason, the system will automatically create an incident ticket for the support desk to look into the problem.
The platform also includes a configuration management database (CMDB) to tag assets and make sure they are stored in a way that the customer needs to record and audit them, Srinivasan said.
Security is another consideration, and a customer's entire infrastructure is firewalled and measures put in place to mitigate against DDoS attacks, he added.
Another ace up Tata's sleeve is that customers are able to control workloads running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft's Azure public cloud services using the same management console as their IZO Private Cloud.
"Customers told us they wanted integration with key public cloud services, basically a cross-connect in some form, so they can burst into that cloud or make use of services on that cloud as they deem appropriate," Srinivasan said.
"So, we made it possible for customers to spin up VMs on AWS from our interface, and when they launch VMs they get integrated into our CMDB, so an administrator can look and see that 10 VMs are running on a private cloud and the next five are running on AWS, for example, and they can click and manage those the same way they manage VMs on our private cloud," he explained.
For this capability, Tata is able take advantage of its strengths in the telecoms sector by building secure, high-performance dedicated interconnects between its data centres and those of Amazon and Microsoft via the AWS Direct Connect and Azure ExpressRoute programmes.
Srinivasan conceded that this is tricky in some circumstances owing to differences in the cloud architectures, but said that as the firm gains experience and works with more and more customers, it will be able to achieve a "fairly robust uniformity" around how actions are performed on the private and public clouds.
"We're trying to make it as seamless as possible from an end customer's point of view," he said.
Tata is also looking at extending the number of cloud service providers with which it can integrate in this way, but Srinivasan said that for now AWS and Azure represent the two most important public cloud platforms for its enterprise customers.
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