Bluemix Private Cloud FAQ

Here a few answers to our most common questions:

Why shouldn’t I build my own private cloud (DIY)?

If your team is busy building your cloud and managing infrastructure, they’re not going to have time to focus on application development and other critical areas of your business. Furthermore, OpenStack can be challenging. Why not let someone else worry about the build and management of your OpenStack-based private cloud?

What is Bluemix Private Cloud?

Bluemix Private Cloud is a Private Cloud as a Service (PCaaS) solution for organizations that demand the security and control of a private cloud with the ease of use of a public cloud. Our private clouds are deployed in IBM Cloud data centers, conveniently located across the globe.

What value is provided by Bluemix Private Cloud?

Users benefit from the performance and cost management benefits of private cloud with the ease of provisioning and operations support of public cloud. It offers a single management tool for OpenStack-based private clouds, regardless of location, bringing greater simplicity and consistency to the operation of public, private, and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

How long does it take to get my private cloud up and running?

Our single-tenant private cloud deployments can happen in less than a week (dependent on the build volume). Put simply, the sooner you express interest, the sooner we can set you up.

What does the minimum base cluster include?

Three dedicated physical nodes with dedicated, highly available firewalls are included in the base cluster. The cloud capacity is as follows:

  • 88 Compute Cores
  • 378 GB RAM
  • 3.5 TB disk (unformatted)

Can I scale my deployment?

Absolutely! Additional capacity can be both added and removed on a month-to-month basis.

Are there other add-ons available aside from the base cluster?

Yes. You can add block storage and object storage (Hybrid or SSD-based). You can also mix and match compute node types to optimize for your workloads.

How would I securely connect workloads on private clouds?

There are multiple secure connectivity options available to you. First is via the use of a VPN connection (IPSec or OpenVPN). Second, for additional security you can leverage Direct Link, which is a dedicated high-speed private network that bypasses public internet.

Can I customize Bluemix Private Cloud?

Yes. We provide a variety of customization options, such as different capacity compute nodes, OpenStack controllers that can be separated so that the control plane is fully isolated, access method to the cloud (public, VPN or Direct Link), bring your own (BYO) IP addresses, BYO guest images and licenses, and Central Processing Unit (CPU) oversubscription.

What is the difference between Bluemix Private Cloud and Bluemix Private Cloud Local?

The Bluemix Private Cloud offering is deployed off premises in an IBM Cloud data center. The Bluemix Private Cloud Local offering is set up in an on-premises location of your choice.

Do Bluemix Private Clouds always run on the most recent OpenStack release?

As new OpenStack releases are made available, our team tests, validates, and upgrades each private cloud to provide access to the latest capabilities on the platform.

I’m very interested in this open technology I keep hearing about. Where can I learn more about OpenStack?

You can visit the OpenStack community website and check out the OpenStack Foundation’s Superuser microsite to see how companies in a variety of industries are using OpenStack.

Who manages OpenStack upgrades and performs periodic vulnerability scans on the cloud?

Our team manages all upgrades and security patching of hypervisors and OpenStack software. We’ll work with you to schedule maintenance windows for infrastructure upgrades and patches. At your request, we can also live migrate compatible VMs so that the maintenance window incurs minimal downtime. We perform vulnerability scans as part of the initial cloud deployment and quarterly thereafter. Internet-accessible services such as Horizon and OpenStack API endpoints are scanned weekly.

Which OpenStack services and APIs are supported?

  • Block Storage (Cinder) API v2.0
  • Compute (Nova) API v2.0
  • Identity (Keystone) API v3.0
  • Image Service (Glance) API v2.0
  • Networking (Neutron with LBaaS) API v2.0
  • Object Storage (Swift) API v1.0
  • Orchestration (Heat) API v2.0
  • Telemetry (Ceilometer) v2.0
  • Dashboard (Horizon) 2015.1

Which open technologies are used to power block and object storage?

Ceph is used for block storage and OpenStack Swift is utilized for object storage.

Is the architecture used highly available?

Yes. We leverage OpenStack controllers and pairs of firewalls for security and service availability. Storage local to compute nodes is configured in RAID sets, where block and object storage solutions are configured to distribute multiple replicas of data across infrastructure to maximize data durability.

Can I deploy a hybrid cloud by using both Bluemix Private Cloud offerings together?

Absolutely! Our offerings use identical software stacks (OpenStack, Linux, Ceph, Swift, etc.), which are 100% compatible. They also share the same reference architecture and deployment tools. Both of these factors enable hybrid clouds by allowing applications and workloads to share and migrate between our private clouds.

How do I get started?

You can reach our team by emailing bbsales[at]us.ibm[dot]com or calling 1+206.538.0248.

I work in U.S. healthcare, so I’m concerned about meeting HIPAA compliance requirements. Does your private cloud address these concerns?

Yes. Both Bluemix offerings can host HIPAA-regulated workloads. To host these, Dedicated Controllers must be deployed (additional fees apply).

What services are performed to support hosting HIPAA-regulated workloads?

Support Type Description Dedicated Responsibility Local Responsibility
Business Association Agreement (BAA) Sign BAA agreement governing access to PHI Client and IBM Client and IBM
Vulnerability Scanning and Server Hardening Perform server OS patching, scanning, and hardening of infrastructure IBM IBM
Data Encryption for Data in Motion Encryption of PHI data when in transit IBM IBM
Activity Review for Infrastructure Periodic review of system activity, logs and audit trails IBM IBM
Risk Management Provide a compliance framework to assess risk and mitigate on a regular basis for infrastructure IBM IBM
Media Disposal and Media Re-use PHI disposal and/or media re-use of hardware and maintains records IBM IBM
IBM Two-factor Authentication Control of user access and verification of person seeking access to system with PHI is the one claimed IBM IBM
Facility Access Implements contingency operations, a security plan, provides access and validation procedures and maintains records IBM Client
User Access Controls Administers unique ID management, emergency access procedures, and automatic logoff of users IBM IBM and Client
Employee Oversight Controls Train and follow onboarding/off-boarding procedures and administer password and login management of IBM management/administrative users. IBM IBM and Client
IBM Workstation Security Implement access control, control safeguards, session timeouts and encryption of workstations IBM IBM and Client

How do I get started with running HIPAA-regulated workloads on Bluemix Private Cloud?

An IBM Business Association Agreement (BAA) must be signed between the client and IBM to get started. We’ll then work with you to solution your cloud and support your capacity and workload needs. The same compute, storage, and networking options that can be used to build your private cloud will host HIPAA-regulated workloads.

What is IBM and Red Hat announcing?

IBM and Red Hat are collaborating to offer enterprise customers and partners the agility and efficiency of a public cloud with the enhanced security features, control, and performance of a private cloud environment. IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat delivers managed, private cloud technology at scale on Bluemix Cloud Infrastructure, now available with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage.

What does this announcement mean for Red Hat customers?

IBM is now able to deliver the enhanced security features, control, and performance of Bluemix Private Cloud with support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests. This release extends and preserves the investment of Red Hat customers in existing workloads and solutions while taking advantage of IBM Cloud’s global footprint and scale.

What does this announcement mean for IBM customers?

IBM customers can purchase subscription-based private cloud as a service at scale on IBM Bluemix Cloud Infrastructure now available with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage. It is now easier than ever for customers to deploy new or existing workloads reliant on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

What is the IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat offering?

The cloud service provides customers with subscription-based Private Cloud as a Service (PCaaS). PCaaS provides access to a dedicated and managed Red Hat OpenStack environment hosted in an IBM Cloud data center. This dedicated single-tenant IBM Bluemix Private Cloud Service provides compute, storage and networking resources to customers. IBM manages the infrastructure and Red Hat OpenStack Platform up to and including the hypervisors, to support a customer’s use of the service. This includes configuration and management of the following OpenStack services:

  • Red Hat Ceph Storage
  • Compute (Nova)
  • Identity (Keystone)
  • Network (Neutron)
  • Image (Glance)
  • Dashboard (Horizon)
  • Orchestration (Heat)
  • Object Storage (Swift)
  • Block Storage (Cinder)

How does Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat differ from the Bluemix Private Cloud?

Dedicated Controllers are required for all Red Hat configurations
The base configuration for Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat includes one (1) pair of dedicated Red Hat OpenStack Platform controllers and three (3) compute nodes provisioned with the hypervisor.

Add-ons options
As is the case in Bluemix Private Cloud, compute and storage resources can be added at any time. The following add-ons are available for Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat:

  • Compute
    • High I/O Compute Nodes
    • Standard Plus Compute Nodes
  • Storage
    • Red Hat Ceph Storage (SSD only†)

All infrastructure is configured with Red Hat Enterprise Linux
All infrastructure related to the cloud deployment is configured with Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

  • Dedicated Controllers
  • All Compute Node Types
  • Red Hat Ceph Storage
  • Swift Storage

Why Red Hat and IBM Bluemix?

In addition to having over 65% of the Linux operating system market share, Red Hat has experience shipping enterprise packaged products and higher level services in a robust ecosystem.

IBM is a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP), offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenStack, and Red Hat Ceph Storage on a Red Hat certified platform. As a CCSP, IBM offers a trusted destination for Red Hat customers, ISVs, and partners to benefit from Red Hat offerings.

Many enterprise customers have standardized on Red Hat, and as these customers move into the cloud, they need support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests in their cloud environments. This Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest support is on Red Hat’s own KVM.

The combination of marketshare, ecosystem and enterprise software experience makes Red Hat a clear target for strategic partnership in cloud.

Choice for customers.

  • IBM Bluemix Private Cloud ships with a prescribed configuration of upstream software curated based on best practices and built to support workloads at scale.
  • IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat provides Red Hat’s enterprise-hardened OpenStack distribution providing support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests above the hypervisor.
  • Enterprise customers demand Red Hat which might include the following components:
    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest OS
    • Red Hat Ceph Storage
    • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform
  • Highest adoption rate for OpenStack distribution

IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat will be offered in addition to our existing products. The full list of IBM Bluemix Private Cloud options is as follows:

  • IBM Bluemix Private Cloud
  • IBM Bluemix Private Cloud – Local
  • IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat

When should sellers position IBM Bluemix Private Cloud with Red Hat?

This offering should be positioned in the following scenarios.

  • New or Existing Red Hat customer that would like to consume OpenStack
  • Customer requires Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest OS
  • Customer wants support for enterprise database platforms, SAP, or SAP HANA workloads
  • Customers would like to deploy Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform
  • Competing with Rackspace/Cisco for Red Hat private cloud as a service

What are the guest operating systems supported & certified in this offering?

This offering supports the Red Hat, Windows and SUSE operating systems. Please refer to the following website: https://access.redhat.com/articles/973163