How Does a Virtual Data Center Work?
A data center architecture is designed to provide an organization with certain types of resources. These include processing power, also called “compute” (CPU), storage (RAM and disk space), and networking connectivity. While an organization can deploy all of these resources in an on-prem data center, these same resources are available for lease in the cloud. Instead of purchasing and maintaining their own physical infrastructure, virtual data centers allow organizations to rent virtual infrastructure from cloud providers at need.
Cloud Services and Types of Cloud Deployments
The cloud comes in a variety of different flavors, including a few different service models and several types of cloud deployments. Different cloud service models split the responsibility for the infrastructure between the cloud provider and customer in different ways. The three main types of cloud service models are:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In an IaaS model, the cloud provider manages the underlying infrastructure (compute, storage and networking) for the customer. The customer is responsible for installing an operating system (OS) on this infrastructure and managing everything from the OS up.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): A PaaS deployment model provides the customer with a managed environment (or “platform”) where they can deploy their own applications. Under this model, the customer is responsible for deploying and managing only their applications and data. The PaaS vendor is responsible for the infrastructure used by the platform.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Under a SaaS cloud service model, the cloud provider offers access to pre-built applications to its customers. Under this model, the customer is only responsible for their data and configuration settings within the application. The SaaS vendor is responsible for the underlying components used by the software, including platform and infrastructure.
In addition to different service models, cloud customers can also take advantage of the different types of cloud deployments. The four main deployment types include:
- Public Cloud: In a public cloud deployment, the cloud customer shares cloud resources with other cloud customers. This provides greater flexibility and cost savings at the cost of some security.
- Private Cloud: A private cloud’s resources used exclusively by one business or organization. The private cloud may be physically located within the customer’s on-site data center, or it may be hosted by a third-party vendor.. This provides improved security but is often a more costly and less flexible option, and may require purchasing infrastructure (Capex) instead of leasing the infrastructure (Opex).
- Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud deployments combine public and private clouds. This allows an organization to take advantage of the security of private clouds for the data and applications that need it while reaping the benefits of public cloud for other needs.
- Community Cloud: Community clouds are less popular and lie between private and public clouds. They share resources between different customers, but the list of potential customers is restricted.
Cloud customers have a variety of different options for cloud-based infrastructure – and this makes it possible to build virtual data centers tailored to business needs.
Benefits of a Virtual Data Center
Virtual data centers provide a number of advantages over physical ones, including:
- Flexibility and Scalability: Flexibility and scalability are the main selling points of the cloud. Virtual data centers, which are built using cloud resources, provide these same benefits.
- Reduced Overhead: With an on-prem data center, an organization needs to acquire and deploy physical appliances to meet data center requirements. With a virtual data center, additional capacity can be leased at need, decreasing the overhead associated with maintaining a data center.
- Simplified Management: In a virtual data center, the cloud provider is responsible for maintaining a significant portion of an organization’s infrastructure stack. This decreases the load on IT staff and allows the company to focus on its core business.
- Improved Resiliency: Cloud providers are in the business of guaranteeing high availability and accessibility to their customers. Deploying data storage and applications in a virtual data center enables an organization to be more resilient than if they tried to host the same resources in a physical data center.
- Business Focus: Most customers are not experts at purchasing, installing and maintaining physical data centers and thus need to hire specialist staff for this purpose. Transferring the responsibility to a cloud vendor means the company can focus only on their key business objectives without the distraction of managing physical infrastructure.
Securing the Virtual Data Center
When deploying any data center, physical or virtual, data center security should be a primary concern. An organization’s data center contains sensitive applications and data that need to be protected.
With a virtual data center, all of an organization’s infrastructure is hosted in the cloud, so cloud security solutions are needed to protect it against cyber threats. When selecting a cloud security solution, it is vital to choose one that can scale organically with the business.
Check Point provides industry-leading unified cloud native security for all your cloud assets and workloads, giving you the confidence to automate security, prevent threats, and manage posture – everywhere – across your multi-cloud environment. To learn more about Check Point CloudGuard, check out this ebook. You’re also welcome to request a free demo or sign up for a cloud security trial to see for yourself how CloudGuard can protect your virtual data center.