Exploring Sovereign Cloud Options: A Introduction for IT Infrastructure Decision-Makers

By Published On: May 1, 2024

It’s time for an update on the hybrid cloud terminology and landscape. With the recent developments around the European Digital Operation al Resilience Act (DORA) and increased interest in sovereign cloud, the market has begun to reposition solutions marketed as hybrid cloud now as sovereign cloud solutions. We wanted to highlight the latest offerings from each major public cloud provider and Broadcom.  

Azure: Azure Stack

Azure Stack is Microsoft’s umbrella branding for its hybrid cloud platform. It extends Azure services and capabilities to your environment of choice—on-premises, in your datacenter, or at a service provider’s facility. Beneath the Azure Stack umbrella includes Azure Stack Edge, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Hub. Each offers varying levels of services based on the intended use case. 

Azure Stack Hub is the datacenter-level solution with the most Azure capabilities, including Virtual Machines (VM), Cloud Storage, and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Optionally, Azure Stack Hub offers a platform as a service that includes MS SQL/MySQL databases, event hubs, and an app service.  

Azure Stack is consistent with Azure, providing a platform for building applications that can run on the public cloud or locally. Microsoft has partnered with the largest server and network OEMs to offer the rack-level components needed to deploy the solution. 

IBM: IBM Hybrid Cloud

IBM Hybrid Cloud offers a flexible approach to managing cloud services, providing the tools to build integrated and secured environments across public and private clouds. 

IBM advertises its Hybrid Cloud as an on-demand solution that includes the entire service catalog of IBM’s public cloud offering. Theoretically, a customer could provision IBM Hybrid Cloud on a set of AWS EC2 bare metal instances. Within these instances, a customer could deploy IBM Cloud-managed Red Hat. 

While not exclusively a sovereign cloud solution, it supports the development of such environments by allowing businesses to maintain data within required locations. IBM’s emphasis on security and integration makes it an interesting choice for organizations that need to comply with stringent data protection regulations.

Google Cloud: Google Distributed Cloud

Google Cloud previously lead with an Anthos software message. That service still exists but under Google Distributed Cloud portfolio which is a combination of hardware and software solutions that extend Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services to the edge and into your data centers. Services include the ability to run the infrastructure in completely disconnected scenarios, which is crucial for meeting stringent data sovereignty and security requirements. 

Google Distributed Cloud portfolio ranges between four offerings. 

·Google Cloud Edge

·Edge Appliance 

·Google Cloud Distributed Cloud Hosted 

·Google Cloud Distributed Cloud Virtual

 Of interest to the other solutions are Google Cloud Distributed Cloud Hosted & Virtual. The hosted solution is a hardware solution with infrastructure based on pre-engineered OEM servers. The hosted solution resembles Google’s original Anthos offering, which runs on existing customer-provided hardware or public Cloud instances. 

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers a unique approach through dedicated region clouds that bring all of Oracle’s public cloud services directly to a customer’s data center. This solution is ideal for organizations that need a public cloud environment but must keep data within their control for regulatory reasons. Oracle’s fully managed services model provides the same capabilities as its public cloud offering.

AWS: AWS Outposts

AWS Outposts extends AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience. It is particularly beneficial for applications that require low-latency access to on-premises systems or when data needs to remain in-country to comply with local regulations. Like Oracle, AWS Outposts allows customers to use the same AWS interfaces and management tools they’re accustomed to, simplifying the integration and management processes.

It comes in two categories of sizes: AWS Outposts Rack and AWS Outposts Server. AWS provides all the associated hardware and support for either solution. Beyond the noticeable differences in capacity, each offers a different level of service. Outposts Server offers EC2, ECS, IoT Greengrass, and VPC networking. Additionally, Rack offers EKS, EBS, EBS Snapshots, S3, RDS, Elasticache, EMR, Application Load Balancer, and several other services. 

VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware has long focused on a multi-cloud message, led by the VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) product offering. Unlike the previously mentioned solutions, VMware Cloud Foundation began as an on-premises offering that is extended into the public cloud via public cloud bare metal services. Broadcom is early in the progress of transforming VMware Cloud Foundation into a challenger to existing sovereign public cloud offerings. 

VMware relies heavily on the popularity of VMware vSphere as the base for VCF. vSphere has a substantial hardware compatibility list, which makes VCF extremely portable across x86 environments. Currently, VCF needs more of the advanced services of the other sovereign cloud offerings. However, for customers with high concentrations of VM-based applications, VCF offers an excellent sovereign cloud underlay. 

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