SecureGUARD Unified Cloud Block platform overview

We are honored to host Helmut Otto, founder and managing director of SecureGUARD GmbH, and a Microsoft MVP. Helmut will tell us about the recently announced SecureGUARD Unified Cloud Block (UCB) FastTrack v4 solution, and will give us a good overview of this converged system and the thinking that went into its design.

The SecureGUARD Unified Cloud Block (UCB) platform is a converged system for running IaaS for hosters or enterprise private clouds. It is built exclusively for Microsoft-based clouds, running a software defined infrastructure with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Azure Pack (WAP). It is a Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Version 4.0 validated configuration.

The unique value that the SecureGUARD UCB platform brings to the table is in providing an easy to deploy converged system based on the Microsoft Cloud OS that has a low cost entry point, is highly flexible and customizable for specific workloads, and runs on high-performance industry standard hardware.

UCB Architecture Diagram


Automated Provisioning

The SecureGUARD Deployment System manages the automated bare-metal provisioning of the Compute, NVGRE, and Management nodes. Administrators simply enter a set of parameters specific to their network, execute the command and take a break. A few hours later the system is provisioned and ready to be used. This automated deployment process saves the customer countless headaches and time (often weeks or months) manually installing, optimizing, updating, and integrating a non-converged solution.

The management infrastructure includes a management cluster running System Center 2012 R2 components, as well as a Windows Azure Pack (WAP) cluster. Depending on the size of the installation and scalability plans, WAP and System Center can be run on the same cluster or on two independent clusters. The System Center components that are automatically deployed are Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, and Orchestrator. The other System Center components are available on the management cluster to be deployed independently if needed. The WAP cluster provides Azure-consistent capabilities that the platform owner can offer to their internal or external customers.


The UCB platform is running software-defined networking (SDN) along with a high performance 40GbE Mellanox Fabric. Using Hyper-V network virtualization, customers are able to configure on the fly networks that are fully isolated and secure, and don’t require any changes to the networking hardware. This hardware is optimized with NVGRE offloads to ensure high performance while using the SDN functionality along with an NVGRE gateway cluster that provides an egress point from the virtual networks. The out of band management, provisioning, and updates are handled by a separate 1GbE management network.


The compute nodes are run on modular 2U, 4 node chassis with hot-swappable server canisters. The standard configuration packs 1TB of RAM and 80 physical processor cores into each 2U compute unit providing for high VM density. Customers can start with a small number of compute units and add additional nodes stamps as their cloud services grow, allowing for easy scalability.


The storage infrastructure of the SecureGUARD UCB platform uses Microsoft Storage Spaces technology. UCB uses a minimum of two Scale-Out-File-Servers in a file server cluster and two JBODs on industry standard hardware for redundancy and enclosure awareness. Configurations can range from 100TB to over 1PB of raw storage per rack, typically with 8% SSD for the “hot” data tier. Customers can choose from a variety of resiliency options as well as different SSD/HDD tier mixes depending on their need. The UCB storage solution is high performance and enterprise grade, with 115K IOPS recorded from testing with SQLIO traffic.


Fully utilizing the Microsoft Cloud OS on industry standard hardware with flexibility, density, and high performance is what the SecureGUARD Unified Cloud Block platform is all about. Having high performance 40GbE fabric will help future proof your investment and extend the lifetime of the platform as throughput needs increase over time. Being able to cut down your time to value with a converged system that is pre-integrated, optimized, and automated will help lower the TCO of running your cloud environment.

Learn more about the solution at .

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