As an enterprise-class cloud service provider, Pi DATACENTERS wanted to offer its clients a transparent, cost-effective and technically superior experience. By selecting SUSE OpenStack Cloud, the company gained a cost-effective and open solution, backed by enterprise support from SUSE. With its “@PiCloud” platform powered by SUSE OpenStack Cloud in place, Pi DATACENTERS provides robust, yet optimized, IaaS, PaaS, DRaaS and a host of other cloud-enabled services, allowing its enterprise customers to concentrate on their businesses, not IT.
As a new business entering the enterprise-class cloud service provider sector, Pi DATACENTERS wanted to provide clients with a completely different experience from existing operators. Many competing public clouds lacked a data center in India, and could therefore not provide transparency about where data was physically located. Pi DATACENTERS knew that it could provide a more personalized, local, and economical service, but needed to find the right platform on which to establish its business.
Sunder Muthevi, Vice President of Products and Strategy at Pi DATACENTERS, said: “We wanted a flexible, reliable, cost-effective foundation on which to build our business and stand out from the crowd. Additionally, many companies have strong in-house technical teams that develop solutions themselves. To win business, we knew we needed to offer added value above and beyond what an internal IT department could provide, using our scale and expertise to make bigger and smarter investments than any single company could do in its own data center.
“What’s more, client requirements are changing all the time, so it was crucial that we focused on creating an architecture that would be able to support all future possibilities.”
Pi DATACENTERS’ additional requirements included ease of implementation and the ability to provide clouds within clouds—so that it could also host providers of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions as clients. As well as maximum flexibility and resilience, Pi DATACENTERS wanted to build a cloud platform that would lend itself well to significant automation, so that a relatively small team could effectively manage a large number of hosted private clouds. Such a capability would also enable it to outcompete both internal IT departments and other cloud providers on cost, and bring enterprise-class IT service provision within the financial reach of smaller clients.
Pi DATACENTERS decided to use OpenStack, a free, open source cloud computing platform. OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources, all managed through a single dashboard. Offering seamless compatibility with popular enterprise and open source technologies, OpenStack is ideally suited to running multi-tenant clouds with diverse workloads.
“OpenStack is the ideal solution for a cloud service provider, bringing all of the major functionality we need into a single stack,” said Sunder Muthevi. “However, while its open source status provides advantages in terms of the cost and the future development path, it also presents certain challenges to organizations seeking to run commercial services on it. Essentially, we wanted all the benefits of OpenStack but packaged and supported by an expert. To get the integration and ongoing support and enhancements we wanted, we chose to deploy SUSE OpenStack Cloud.”
The experienced team at Pi DATACENTERS drew on its extensive past experience of cloud implementations when choosing the SUSE solution.
“I have been involved in implementations of almost every type of cloud technology,” said Sunder Muthevi. “The specific advantages that moved us in the direction of SUSE were cost, ease of implementation and usability, SUSE’s established expertise, fast time-to-market, and flexibility to suit our customers’ needs.”
SUSE OpenStack Cloud delivers enterprise-ready technology for building private clouds, providing automated pools of IT resources that can be orchestrated to meet different requirements. Pi DATACENTERS uses the technology to provide IaaS offerings encompassing compute, storage, networking, firewalls and load-balancing services, so that it can create entire virtual data centers for its clients. SUSE OpenStack Cloud is also the basis for the company’s PaaS offerings, and for virtual services around backup and disaster recovery.
“Another key reason for choosing SUSE OpenStack Cloud was its inclusion of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server,” said Sunder Muthevi. “It’s a world-class, open source server operating system offering high availability and powerful management tools, making it ideal for a cloud services provider. Equally, the SUSE version of OpenStack remains close to the original open release, so while you get the benefits of enterprise support and development, you also don’t go too far from the vanilla solution. The integration with Crowbar is also great, which makes it easy for us to build powerful automation scripts. Finally, our team had many years of experience working with SUSE products in previous roles, which encouraged us to move forward with SUSE again.”
Pi DATACENTERS was able to get up and running rapidly with SUSE OpenStack Cloud, with SUSE Support offering guidance where required.
Sunder Muthevi said, “The SUSE team provided us with high quality documentation and prompt remote support whenever issues arose.
“We have used SUSE OpenStack Cloud to create a 100-percent software-defined data center, and we believe that we are the first such provider in India. The advantage for our clients of using a fully software-defined stack is that it provides exceptional flexibility.
“SUSE OpenStack Cloud has given us a stable platform on which we can provision independent and isolated clouds, enabling multiple clients to have their own distinct cloud environments but all within the same data center fabric. This means that clients can choose to have the security benefits of running in their own separate physical landscape but still within our flexible, low-cost cloud—it’s the best of both worlds.
“We offer our enterprise clients a full spectrum of services across IaaS and PaaS. And we’re continuing to expand into new services such as DRaaS. Building new service offerings by orchestrating components and services in SUSE OpenStack Cloud makes it quick and easy to meet our clients’ changing requirements.”
Pi DATACENTERS has seen a host of benefits since implementing its SUSE cloud solution.
“SUSE OpenStack Cloud was incredibly easy to implement and use, enabling us to go to market very quickly and get our new business off to a flying start,” said Sunder Muthevi. “What’s more, it has proved much more efficient than installing and managing OpenStack ourselves. With SUSE’s build of OpenStack, we can reduce the time spent on maintenance of the core technology components—so we can focus on providing the exceptional customer service that enables us to stand out from our competitors.”
With SUSE OpenStack Cloud, Pi DATACENTERS is typically able to provision a full private cloud within 24 hours for SMBs and mid-sized businesses, and within 48 hours for larger enterprise requirements.
Furthermore, SUSE OpenStack Cloud offers a very cost-efficient platform for Pi DATACENTERS’ business.
“Purely from a financial angle, it would have been very difficult to deliver a cost-effective service to clients with a different solution,” said Sunder Muthevi. “The cost-savings we make from reduced maintenance requirements are passed on to clients in the form of lower service fees, ensuring our competitiveness and helping us quickly gain a substantial market share.”
A key element in the cost-efficiency of SUSE OpenStack Cloud is the automation and standardization it enables Pi DATACENTERS to introduce. T Lakshminarayana said: “In environments where we have hundreds and hundreds of nodes, we can’t afford to spend time securing every component separately. With SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we get seamless auto-discovery of new nodes, and we then use Crowbar and other scripting tools to automatically build the required services to predefined standards. Equally, by standardizing on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the operating system across all nodes, it’s relatively easy to keep all systems patched to the same level.”
The SUSE technology also makes it easy for Pi DATACENTERS to meet all client needs by providing independent and isolated clouds.
“These types of cloud form the largest part of our product portfolio,” said Sunder Muthevi. “SUSE OpenStack Cloud enables us to offer secure, dedicated clouds—this degree of security is crucial for those in sensitive sectors such as government— but with centralized control to keep service costs low.
“We can also host cloud service providers, creating private clouds that they can provision for their clients. These private clouds sit within the same fabric as all our other clouds, with the same centralized management on top. This flexibility in providing clouds within clouds has been crucial in building our client base.”
PUTTING CUSTOMERS FIRST
Today, with the SUSE OpenStack Cloud solution in place, Pi DATACENTERS can provide clients across the government, retail and IT sectors with superior cloud services.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about our clients,” said T Lakshminarayana, Vice President of Operations, Governance and Delivery at Pi DATACENTERS. “By outsourcing their IT needs to us, they eliminate the stress of deploying, owning, managing, maintaining and upgrading their own infrastructure—we take care of everything so they can focus on their core missions.
“By harnessing SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we can deliver a service that stands out from the crowd. Nothing is hidden in our competitive costs, and we offer clients a high level of customization and flexibility, ensuring that our service has a personal touch that is absent from our multinational competitors. For example, as a local company we encourage clients to visit the environments, so they know exactly where they’re hosted and what’s going on.”
Based on its experience of client deployments and view of the full technology stack, Pi DATACENTERS is able to give potential clients detailed models of the cost savings they can expect to achieve by moving from in-house to cloud infrastructure. These models are highly granular, and include elements such as power and cooling costs, enabling prospective clients to clearly see the projected ROI over time.
“Thanks to the centralized control provided by SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we have a very clear view of resource consumption and we use this to provide flexible pricing options to clients,” said T Lakshminarayana. “We offer full elasticity in network, compute and storage, and clients can set up scheduled bursts for periods where they know they are going to be busy, and they can also take advantage of unscheduled bursts to meet unexpected peaks in demand. Either way, they can efficiently pay only for what they need or use—which is a clear benefit compared to the in-house infrastructure model, where you are forced to invest in spare capacity that is largely unused.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Building on the success so far of its SUSE solution, Pi DATACENTERS is looking at further ways to leverage SUSE OpenStack Cloud.
T Lakshminarayana said, “Thanks to SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we have got our business off to a flying start, and look forward to offering our superior service to even more clients as we grow.”