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Exploring Linux and Microsoft Private Clouds

Posted by QuoteColo on June 13, 2016 - Updated on June 18, 2016

The choices seem endless when it comes to choosing the right server environment for your business. However, many are turning to the cloud to reduce costs, ensure better connectivity and help provide better backup and recovery to name just a few reasons. Both public and private cloud options exist, but private cloud delivers the protection and security that today’s businesses need.

Private clouds can be internally hosted, or they can reside in a data center you partner with. There are two primary choices when it comes to private cloud – Microsoft and Linux. They’re very, very different from one another, not just in terms of cost, but also in capabilities, scalability, the level of customization offered, how they work with your apps, and a great deal more. Making the right choice requires that you know a bit more about each platform.


Linux Private Clouds

There are some claims that Linux has “conquered the cloud”, and there’s good reason to believe that this is true. Consider the fact that all server operating systems that are not Microsoft Azure are based on Linux. For instance, OpenStack is probably the most visible open cloud Linux version (although Red Hat and other flavors are also available). OpenStack has truly pushed VMware out of its position as the most popular choice in the industry (as far back as 2014, actually).

There are several compelling reasons to choose Linux. First, there’s no cost involved. Linux is free. With that being said, different versions of Linux are NOT free. What it boils down to is that you don’t have to pay the high licensing fees that you’ll find with Microsoft’s offering. So, you will still have costs here, they just won’t be quite as high as what you’d pay with MS. With that being said, there’s no real yardstick by which to measure here, as each business will have different costs depending on the services they require and the amount of support they need.

Here’s the thing, though. While Linux can save money, and it is the single most commonly used operating system for both public and private clouds, you have to be prepared to do some legwork. You’ll need to decide what version you want – SUSE, Red Hat or OpenStack? There are also non-commercial versions out there like Ubuntu and many, many others. Each version is different and offers a varying array of features and benefits, so be prepared to do your homework before deciding that Linux is the way to go. That’s another mark in Microsoft’s favor. While there are various solutions for MS private cloud options, they’re all Microsoft.

Of course, there is the single most important aspect of Linux – the ability to customize the OS at the code level. That’s impossible with anything from Microsoft (with the possible exception of AzureStack, which is due out sometime near the end of 2016, so isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand). For businesses that require extensive customization at the most granular level possible, this is the single most important selling point for Linux. In effect, this allows you to build your own cloud from the ground up, which can offer not just the ability to customize, but the chance to ensure the utmost in terms of protection and regulatory compliance.

Picture9Microsoft Private Clouds

Microsoft is the only private cloud option other than Linux. Neither Google nor Amazon has created a private version of their public cloud platforms. And, while the costs are higher with Microsoft than with Linux, there are quite a few benefits to be gained with this solution.

One of the most important benefits here is that Microsoft private cloud solutions are app-centric (Linux isn’t necessarily). That means your organization is able to focus on the apps that matter most to business success, and customer/client satisfaction, as well as on building and expanding the apps that you need.

Another benefit here is that Microsoft private cloud solutions offer cross-platform support out of the box, which means that multiple hypervisor environments are supported, and numerous application frameworks are as well. According to MS, it “supports heterogeneous hypervisor environments, operating systems (including Linux), and application development frameworks, allowing customers to leverage their existing infrastructure investments and skills.”

There’s also the fact that if you plan to run Microsoft applications, then it really makes sense to have a Microsoft private cloud to ensure the ideal performance. This includes everything from SharePoint to SQL Server. Of course, there’s also the exceptionally broad range of Microsoft cloud services to consider. These include:

  • Office Web Apps
  • Office 365
  • Lync Online
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
  • Forefront
  • Windows Intune
  • Windows Live ID
  • Windows Server
  • SQL Azure
  • Windows Azure
  • Windows Azure Platform

Making Your Decision

First, understand that there is really no right or wrong answer here. The best private cloud option for one business will not work well for another. It all comes down to your organization’s requirements. Do you need the ability to customize your cloud environment at the code level? If so, then Linux is the choice for you, no questions asked. Do you want to benefit from at least some cost savings, while having access to the widest range of vendor options? Again, this makes Linux a good choice.

However, if you’re a confirmed Microsoft-centric organization, or you work with apps and have stringent requirements in development and rollout in this area, then Microsoft private cloud options will be the better choice.

Perhaps the best choice is to work with a vendor who can provide private cloud solutions based on both Linux and Microsoft. While this takes some of the process out of your hands, the right provider can work with you to create the ideal solution (including Microsoft private clouds that also run elements of Linux if that’s your thing).

Categories: Cloud

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