EarthLink Introduces Flexible Enterprise Cloud

By Doug Barney

IaaS is all the rage, as shops can have elastic computing infrastructure with few of the on-premises hassles. EarthLink is taking this concept to a new level with its FlexCloud Hosting.

The virtualization-based service is designed to replace the sprawling server infrastructure of many shops with an elastic cloud service that makes optimal use of compute resources.

“FlexCloud Hosting enables an organization to track and manage computing utilization across business units within a single IT environment, significantly reducing the cost of server sprawl by pooling resources,” the company explained. “Units can control their applications via the easy-to-use customer portal while the businesses' IT team maintains complete control and management via the Administrator portal.”

The FlexCloud service begins with an assessment to figure how much base computing capacity the client needs, with the added ability to burst above this level when demand dictates.

It also designed to let individual business groups control their own cloud destiny by tracking use, learning if they are paying for excess capacity or already stretching the limits.

Users can also go public or private. They can “create both public and private virtual environments for physical and logical separation with private MPLS or VPN architecture, or create a combination of private and public facing environments with controlled interconnections for isolation of private workloads,” EarthLink said.

Besides compute, the EarthLink service also offers backup and business continuity through weekly fully backup and incremental backups done daily. For true disaster recovery, the data can be mirrored to a second EarthLink data center.

“In addition, FlexCloud Hosting helps businesses meet industry security compliance, with a Data Center Firewall that provides intrusion prevention with reporting and enables businesses to create customized firewall rules for enhanced security,” the company said. “Clients can create both public and private virtual environments for physical and logical separation with private MPLS or VPN architecture. Managed services also are available to help offload the routine management and maintenance of the virtual machines.”

Frost & Sullivan Digs EarthLink

Earlier this year a report from Frost & Sullivan gushed over the ISPs transformation of its IT services. The report, “From a Residential ISP to a Business Communications & IT Services Provider - Analyzing EarthLink's Transformation Strategy,” was penned by analyst Roopa Honnachari.

Topping Honnachari’s analysis is EarthLink’s hearty embrace of managed services. “From predominantly being a residential Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2010 to positioning itself as a leading managed services provider in the business communications and IT services market in 2013, EarthLink has come a long way,” analyzed Roopashree (Roopa) Honnachari, Program Manager, Business Communication Services, Stratecast and Frost & Sullivan. “The company's efforts have been focused on growing its growth retail products that include Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Virtual Private Network (VPN), Hosted VoIP, and IT services. This direction is consistent with Frost & Sullivan research that indicates that a hybrid model appeals to customers that are looking to leverage the cost benefits of the shared cloud model, without fully giving up control or security associated with other environments.” EarthLink says this is what it had in mind all along.

“Over the past several years, we have strategically focused on supporting the growing needs of companies as they seek to virtualize their businesses,” said EarthLink Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Michael D. Toplisek. “As we complete the rollout of our new next-generation data centers and further expand our robust IT services portfolio, EarthLink is truly an end-to-end provider, with a unique package of networking assets, cloud services and managed services wrapped in a consultative approach that delivers more value to our customers.”

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

MSPToday Editor at Large

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