October 12, 2020 By Dave Tropeano 3 min read

Part one of two on an exploration of distributed cloud architecture.

New to distributed cloud? Watch the on-demand virtual event featuring industry leaders and a special guest.

One of the latest trends in cloud environments is distributed cloud. Among other attributes, distributed cloud involves running the public cloud on your infrastructure. This architecture allows distributed cloud to overcome the following potential challenges with public cloud:

  • Regulatory issues when migrating applications to the public cloud
  • Lack of control over your public cloud

See the following video for a further explanation of distributed cloud:

Regulations and distributed cloud

Every public cloud vendor has a set of availability zones or regions in which they run. For example, IBM Cloud runs in the following availability zones:

  • Dallas, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • London, England
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan

These availability zones exist in limited areas. As such, your data and your workload on public clouds like IBM Cloud have to stay in your country. This is true especially for heavily regulated industries, such as financial services.

So, say you’re operating a bank, and you’d like to migrate an application to the public cloud. Many financial institutions have regulatory rules mandating that your workload and data must stay in-country, which prevents you from performing this task.

This situation provides an opportunity for distributed cloud to operate the public cloud itself in a client-defined location. With distributed cloud, you can actually operate your public cloud in a data center or in a data center colocation or even on a third-party cloud that may have available capacity in a country you’re targeting. Distributing public cloud services, or managed services, to different physical locations that you control is a key advantage for you when using distributed cloud.

More flexibility with distributed cloud

While operating our public cloud, we can install software wherever we want in our infrastructure. However, our distributed cloud vendor has the responsibility for fully managing several key processes, including the following:

  • Governance
  • Evolution
  • Lifecycle control
  • Security, reliability and engineering

This division of labor means your vendor performs all the patches, upgrades, installs and deletions to keep your public cloud updated. Your vendor also handles compatibility issues so that one version of a service you use works well with another version of another service. In essence, your vendor is operating the cloud as a “mini-public cloud region,” just within your infrastructure that you control.

So, with distributed cloud, you take your public cloud service and create a mini-public cloud region to run those public cloud services. By definition, your public cloud is your entry point for observability and configuration of those services.

When creating a distributed cloud location, your services and workload run in the location. If the location and the cloud actually have a link or some kind of connection — which they would need to aggregate blogs, monitors and reports — everything still needs to run if you cut that link. Otherwise, you can’t get to your dashboards to configure the service on-premises because the network link was cut.

With distributed cloud, you can still execute your services, workloads and applications because you have a single control pane of one cloud that can configure your public cloud, even if the link is cut. This option is true for any distributed cloud vendor.

To learn more about how distributed cloud compares with other common cloud-computing architectures like hybrid cloud and multicloud, check out “Distributed Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud vs. Multicloud vs. Edge Computing (Part 1).”

IBM Cloud Satellite: IBM’s version of distributed cloud

IBM Cloud Satellite is a distributed cloud offering that brings IBM Cloud services like managed Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud to the infrastructure of your choice.

In the second part of this blog, I discuss how the architecture of IBM Cloud Satellite significantly differs from competing vendors in what the environment can offer you.

Learn more about IBM Cloud Satellite and join the ongoing beta.

Was this article helpful?

More from Cloud

A clear path to value: Overcome challenges on your FinOps journey 

3 min read - In recent years, cloud adoption services have accelerated, with companies increasingly moving from traditional on-premises hosting to public cloud solutions. However, the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud patterns has led to challenges in optimizing value and controlling cloud expenditure, resulting in a shift from capital to operational expenses.   According to a Gartner report, cloud operational expenses are expected to surpass traditional IT spending, reflecting the ongoing transformation in expenditure patterns by 2025. FinOps is an evolving cloud financial management discipline…

IBM Power8 end of service: What are my options?

3 min read - IBM Power8® generation of IBM Power Systems was introduced ten years ago and it is now time to retire that generation. The end-of-service (EoS) support for the entire IBM Power8 server line is scheduled for this year, commencing in March 2024 and concluding in October 2024. EoS dates vary by model: 31 March 2024: maintenance expires for Power Systems S812LC, S822, S822L, 822LC, 824 and 824L. 31 May 2024: maintenance expires for Power Systems S812L, S814 and 822LC. 31 October…

24 IBM offerings winning TrustRadius 2024 Top Rated Awards

2 min read - TrustRadius is a buyer intelligence platform for business technology. Comprehensive product information, in-depth customer insights and peer conversations enable buyers to make confident decisions. “Earning a Top Rated Award means the vendor has excellent customer satisfaction and proven credibility. It’s based entirely on reviews and customer sentiment,” said Becky Susko, TrustRadius, Marketing Program Manager of Awards. Top Rated Awards have to be earned: Gain 10+ new reviews in the past 12 months Earn a trScore of 7.5 or higher from…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters