Cloud infrastructure is generally deployed in one of four deployment models: private cloud, community cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud. For organizations looking for a dedicated, customizable environment, a private cloud is generally the way to go. It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
Private clouds offer businesses more control and performance capabilities than a public cloud while ensuring data residency. They also allow the defining of custom operating system images, as well as instance types for special memory or CPU requirements not available from a public cloud. In essence, it all comes down to the performance. The private cloud customer benefits from fully dedicated resources rather than shared resources with noisy neighbours. It’s like you live in your own quiet cul-de-sac with nobody else around. Your space, just for you, and super customized.
But there’s more to a private cloud than it being private. Cloud services generally have five principal characteristics that distinguish them from traditional IT infrastructure approaches: broad network access, measured service, on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity and resource pooling. These all matter, depending on the business requirements.
Broad Network Access
Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations)
Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service
Customers can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the customer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
The provider’s computing resources (i.e. storage, processing, memory, etc.) are pooled to serve multiple customers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to customer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter).
Looking for your own quiet cul-de-sac? Here’s what to look for in a private cloud solution.
When looking for a service-provider-based private cloud solution, you should ask yourself the following questions in your selection process:
1. Underlying data centre environment – does the availability of the service provider’s data centre environment match with your needs?
2. Cloud software functionality – does the cloud software suite provide the functionality and control for cloud resources that you require?
3. Hardware infrastructure – private clouds are more useful if the underlying hardware is as flexible as the cloud software sitting on top of it, and lengthy delays in procuring and installing new server and storage resources for a private cloud can negate the flexibility inherent in your cloud software – does the private cloud provider you are considering offer flex-infrastructure options?
Getting the most out of your private cloud means ensuring the control and performance capabilities match your unique business requirements.
Nabeel Sherif is the Cloud Product Manager at Q9 and has spent most of his career in technology conceptualizing, developing, and marketing computing and communications products for a variety of ICT providers and global electronics manufacturers. For the past decade, his focus has been in developing and creating the next generation of services and products in hosting, cloud computing, datacentre services, and application networks. Nabeel is active in technology education, and is the creator and lecturer for University of Toronto’s Cloud Computing Certificate program. You can follow him @themightynab.
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