Scale Computing Connects Hyper-Converged Infrastructure To Google Cloud

Hyper-converged technology specialist Scale Computing on Thursday unveiled a relationship with Google aimed at making it easier to move enterprise application workloads between on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.

The company has debuted Cloud Unity, a new offering that combines Scale Computing's HC3 on-premises appliance-based hyper-converged infrastructure with the Google Cloud Platform.

Cloud Unity allows businesses to use resources in the cloud and on-premises simultaneously, and it allows on-premises applications to run in the cloud via virtual machine instances of HC3, Scale Computing said.

[Related: 19 Powerful Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Solutions: New Choices From A Narrowing Field Of Vendors]

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With the new relationship, Google resources are incorporated in the HC3 cluster but look as if they are on the corporate LAN, said Jeff Ready, CEO and co-founder of Indianapolis-based Scale Computing.

"So to integrate the HC3 to Google, just click a button and integrate as if you were on your own LAN," Ready told CRN. "The movement of workloads is transparent, so customers can work on their workload as it is migrating. And the workloads can migrate both ways."

This allows for seamless disaster recovery, Ready said. "Since it's running on the same LAN, the IP address of the workload looks the same in Google," he said. "There's no need for a VPN. If a workload goes or has a short period of inactivity, it's backed up with the same IP address."

Scale Computing's HC3 has built-in software-defined networking (SDN) to simplify the disaster recovery setup, Ready said. "This is great for disaster recovery," he said. "When there's a failover, the customer comes up on the cloud, but is still on the same LAN."

Because the HC3 appliances can include high-performance NVMe flash storage along with seamless integration with the Google cloud, businesses get a true hybrid environment where performance workloads can run on-premises and other workloads in the Google Cloud, Ready said.

"But they all run on the same LAN, and apply the same procedures for backing up of data," he said. "We're bringing the cloud to customers' LAN instead of moving the workloads to the cloud."

Hybrid clouds like Cloud Unity are an important part of how many customers take their first serious steps towards using the cloud, said Stanton Girod, principal and solutions architect at AR Consultant Group, a Monroe, Ga.-based solution provider and channel partner to both Scale Computing and Google.

"We run into customers who are hesitant, for whatever reason, to go to the cloud," Girod told CRN. "The beauty of a hybrid cloud is that customers can still touch it and feel it. It is their HC3 cluster that is on-premises. This helps them accept the benefits of the cloud. Then in the event of a disaster, or for test-dev purposes, it's just a step to the cloud. And people accept that."

AR Consultant Group has worked with Scale Computing almost since the time that vendor first came to market, Girod said.

"I wish all vendors were like Scale," he said. "Their support has been spot-on. Even if it's not a Scale issue, they'll help."

Scale Computing has proven to work well in midsized businesses with between 100 and 500 users, which Girod said is perfect in terms of where the growth of the cloud is happening.

"Larger customers are already exploring the cloud, but the 100-person to 500-person companies are ready to try," he said. "I see this as a chance to really try the cloud.

"Just look at the recent hurricanes. Customers could have used Scale Computing to put data in the cloud. Then when Hurricane Irma came by and knocked out power, they could have run their businesses from the Google Cloud."

Scale's Cloud Unity offering will allow partners to provide an easy way to implement cloud-based disaster recovery solutions with predictable costs, said Ken Dominguez, senior account manager for enterprise technology solutions at Ocean Computer Group, a Matawan, N.J.-based solution provider and partner to both Scale Computing and Google.

"It's a turnkey offering ... And with Cloud Unity, Scale is integrated with Google with no need for us to contact Google," Dominguez said.

While Cloud Unity is starting with a focus on disaster recovery, Dominguez said he could see the ability to move live workloads to Google Cloud in the future. "This would give us a truly hybrid-based solution," he said.

Any customer relying on backup and recovery as their disaster recovery solution can benefit from Cloud Unity, Dominguez said. "They do backups, and then restores, but these are different processes," he said. "But Cloud Unity really provides the ability to quickly turn on a current replicated virtual machine in a disaster."

The move to partner with Google was based in large part on a key differentiator between that cloud provider and its competition, Ready said.

"Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure want you to develop applications for the cloud," Ready said. "But what about the thousands of applications that weren't written for the cloud? We think most customers will want to run them in hybrid environments."

While Scale Computing is currently the only company working with Google Cloud in such a fashion, the two company's are not in an exclusive agreement, Ready said.

"But Google contacted us about one-and-a-half or two years ago," he said. "They were intrigued by how we do hyper-converged infrastructure with KVM in the background instead of VMware. Google uses KVM to run their cloud. So there is a natural connection there."

Scale Computing's disaster recovery-as-a-service offering with Google Cloud on the back end costs $500 per virtual machine per month, in addition to the on-premises Scale Computing infrastructure, assuming the virtual machine is not spun up, Ready said.

There is a per-virtual machine discount as more virtual machines are included in the service, he said. Very large capacity virtual machines could result in higher charges, he said. Metered charges start only if the virtual machine is actually spun up.

"Specifics on pricing through the channel will be rolled out with our partners shortly, but we expect this to be in-line or better for partners than other IaaS/DRaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service and disaster recovery-as-a-service) offerings," he said.