Launching the Virtual Private Cloud

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You’ve probably already heard about our Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Launched in May 2015, our VPC gives users a flexible, easy-to-manage, scalable virtual infrastructure that can be customized to fit any project. In this article, we’ll look at some practical uses for the cloud as well as its payment system.

Who Needs It: Practical Scenarios

The Virtual Private Cloud is perfect for every user, but it should be of particular interest to corporate clients. Why? For starters, our service offers the following benefits:

  • Cost-effective. Hundreds of projects can be deployed using the cloud’s resources, and since there’s no need to buy expensive equipment or hire additional personnel, it is much more economical than using your own hardware.
  • Simple budgeting. The pay-as-you-go billing is based on your cloud’s resources and a transparent pricing plan. This lets you predict expenses and plan your budget.
  • Quick deployment. A virtual environment with your specifications can be up and running in just a few minutes. From here, you can effortlessly deploy an IT infrastructure for your office. You also won’t encounter any scaling issues: new resources can always be purchased when you need them.

Let’s take a look at some common business applications for our VPC.

Building Separate Infrastructures for Different Departments and Projects

Most companies have departments that don’t interact with one another and projects that don’t overlap. If you’re using a public cloud, then you have to either link an infrastructure to a single account, which is questionable in terms of security, or register multiple accounts, which can cause a number of issues.

The Virtual Private Cloud solves all of these problems. With the VPC, individual projects can be created for each department with a limited number of resources. Users from one department won’t be able to access another department’s resources and vice versa.

Employees will only have access to strictly defined virtual machines, which contain a fixed number of resources.

Users with administrative privileges can access projects from an external control panel. There, they can manage virtual machines, disks, and networks, but not purchase additional resources.

Migrating an Existing Infrastructure to the Cloud

Many companies end up finding that maintaining their own virtual infrastructure can be rather expensive: it requires a backup power supply and Internet connection, hiring additional specialists, buying equipment, and replacing faulty parts. The logical solution then is to migrate their infrastructure, either whole or in part, to the cloud. This, however, is often bogged down with its own issues: software has to be installed and set up all over again. To make matters worse, cloud service vendors often impose a number of rules and limitations, which force you to make significant changes to your architecture.

For those looking to migrate to the VPC, we’ve taken a series of measures to facilitate the process:

  • users can import their own virtual machine images (all major formats are supported);
    the network topology can be customized;
  • both public and local networks (or even several local networks) can be implemented;
  • our virtualization system lets users launch virtual machines with any operating system — if you suddenly need Solaris or FreeBSD, for example, they can easily be installed.

SAAS for Clients

Some companies, for one reason or another, don’t transfer their own infrastructure to the cloud, but aren’t against organizing cloud resources for clients and contractractors. Our new cloud is perfect for this: new virtual workplaces can be created and access to corporate data can be set up from anywhere on the planet.

Peak Loads

Every company experiences peak seasons, wherein their IT infrastructure is put under a lot of pressure (for financial services, this may be when reports are prepared and submitted; for merchants, the Holiday season; etc.). At these times, additional IT resources may be required, but it’s hard to justify purchasing extra hardware or software when it’s needed for just two or three weeks a year. It’s much easier and cost-effective to rent virtual resources that can be easily scaled up or down.

Running New Projects

It’s not uncommon for a company to launch a new project before knowing exactly how many resources it will require. It wouldn’t be very prudent to buy expensive hardware exclusively for a new project, but experimenting on an existing infrastructure isn’t the safest option either; there’s always the chance of a sudden spike in the workload.

In situations like this, cloud resources may be the best decision. With the VPC, you can create an experimental platform for load testing and running new projects.

Based on the results of the project’s test run in the cloud, you can estimate how many resources it will consume and devise a strategy for further development.

Optimizing Software Development and Testing

Our cloud can also be used as a platform for testing software. The closer the testing environment is to the real-life conditions the product will be used in, the less likely errors will occur in the final version.
You can create a testing environment with your custom parameters quickly in the cloud. Among the benefits of using our VPC for testing, we should highlight:

  • Isolation. Since separate development teams work on different projects, each new product requires its own testing environment. In the VPC, you can create multiple projects with their unique testing environment and grant each team access to their own pool. Isolation significantly increases productivity: programmers won’t interfere with one another and system administrators will be able to debug components without inconveniencing the developers.
  • Deployment speed. Using the Heat orchestration module, you can quickly create testing environments with any configuration. Even if the testing pool gets damaged for one reason or another, it doesn’t have to be restored, just redeployed from an existing template.

By testing on virtual machines, you can reduce the amount of time and cost of deploying and configuring test environments.

With the VPC, product access can also be set up for developers and users, helping speed up the testing and debugging process.

Reselling

Our Virtual Private Cloud offers a lot of possibilities for Internet startups: web studios, virtual hosting providers, game services, and more. You can build your own project on resources rented from us and then resell them to your clients.
With resellers in mind, we’ve made the external control panel customizable. You can configure it so that clients don’t even know that their virtual machine runs on our infrastructure.

Pricing

General Principles

When you use the Virtual Private Cloud, you pay for the resources on your account. Once you’ve reserved a resource, the price of that resource is debited from your balance every hour. Since you pay for reserved resources, billing occurs whether or not a resource is in use. When calculating costs, the maximum value for each resource for that hour is used. If, for example, you change a project’s quota several times over the course of an hour, the price will be calculated based on the maximum values.

Under each project, you will find an “Optimize Quota” button. By clicking this, you can automatically set the project’s quotas to the number of resources in use. This lets you avoid paying for resources you aren’t actually using.

System Resources: Payment Features

vCPU

You can rent as many virtual CPUs (vCPU) as your project needs. To avoid unexpected shortages, only full processors can be reserved from each host. If you change the number of vCPUs on a machine, the virtual server may be migrated to another host.

RAM

Any amount of RAM (in megabytes) can be reserved for projects. The entire volume is reserved when virtual machines are created.

Hard Drives

Three kinds of hard drives are available: basic, high-speed, and universal.
In terms of performance, basic disks are the equivalent of enterprise-grade SATA disks. They are perfect for projects that do not require frequent read or write operations.
High-speed volumes are solutions built on SSDs. In terms of response time and overall speed, these disks are several times faster than basic disks.
Universal volumes fall somewhere in the middle. They’re great for storage, but better equipped for read/write operations than basic volumes.

Image Storage

We’ve already mentioned that you can use your own pre-configured virtual machine images in our cloud. All images are saved in special storage. Storage costs are calculated based on basic volume pricing.

Floating IPs

All private servers listen on a private (grey) address, and machines are only accessible externally via a public (white) address. Floating IPs are public addresses than can be moved between servers. This technique is perfect for projects with low workloads. The obvious advantage is its flexibility: a floating IP address can always be detached from one machine and attached to another.

Public Subnet

We can provide Virtual Private Cloud users with a subnet of 5 public (white) addresses on an independent VLAN. This time-tested method provides Internet access and offers higher reliability. User are provided with a subnet of five addresses to start with.

Windows Licences

If you plan on creating virtual machines with Windows, you won’t have to purchase individual licenses; you can rent them right from us. Regular updates are included in the rental cost. Windows licences are billed hourly at a fixed price.

Network Traffic

Each account is provided three terabytes of external traffic a month for free. Our calculations show this should be enough for the majority of small and medium sized projects.

As soon as this limit has been exceeded, funds will be removed from your balance every hour to pay for traffic, both incoming and outgoing.

To streamline expenses, traffic can be purchased in advance at a discount. This should be of particular interest to clients working with large amounts of data.

VPC Balance

When you create a new project or change the quota for an existing project, a special counter in the control panel shows you how much time you have remaining based on your balance. This helps prevent your servers from being unexpectedly shut down due to insufficient funds.

Conclusion

Our new service is up and running! Give it a try. We’re waiting for your questions, comments, and suggestions for future developments and improvements.
Naturally, we don’t plan on staying stagnant for very long; we have big plans for our VPC. A lot of additional services will become available in the near future: new drives (even faster than the ones we have now), load-balancers, and more.
We also plan to continue our publication series on VPC issues in our blog. Keep your eyes peeled for updates!

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