While the real world adoption of cloud computing in still in its infancy the technologies that enable cloud computing are evolving rapidly. Traditionally the cloud has been viewed as hosted services. However, that is what is now known as the public cloud. In contrast, the private cloud is built using the same type of computing paradigm as the public cloud but the private cloud is comprised of your own organization’s resources. To get a better understanding of the private cloud let’s dig a little deeper into the different types of public cloud offerings and the then see how they relate to the private cloud.
There are three basic types of public cloud offerings: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). SaaS is best typified as software products that are immediately ready to be put to use. Examples of SaaS cloud offering include Office365 and Windows InTune. IaaS is different from SaaS in that it provides a platform for running your applications but you have to provide those applications. The key point to understand is that with SaaS a host like Microsoft provides the software applications that you use. With IaaS the cloud providers supplies a hosted platform for you to run your own applications but they do not provide the applications themselves. Examples of PaaS cloud offerings include Windows Azure and SQL Azure. IaaS is an even lower level of cloud service and it roughly corresponds to hosted virtual machines that you can access in the cloud. Examples of IaaS offerings include Amazon’s EC2 where you buy access to VM’s running on Amazon’s web-based hosts and Microsoft’s Hyper-V Role in Windows Azure. However, Microsoft doesn’t like to position Windows Azure as an IaaS offering this because they don’t sell access directly to the Hyper-V role. Instead, the Hyper-V role is only available a part of their overarching Windows Azure product.
Although these are all public cloud offerings they illustrate the four primary characteristics of cloud computing. The cloud provides shared resources, those resources are scalable and elastic, those resources enable end user self-service, and the costs for those resources are usage based. These same characteristics can be provided by internal on-premise IT resources as well as Internet based public cloud providers. When you surface your internal IT infrastructure as this type of service then your IT infrastructure becomes the private cloud. One of the key underlying tenants of the private cloud is the ability to present IT resources as services.
The private cloud is a collection of computing resources or services that is provided by and managed by your on-premise IT organization. The private cloud is build using the business’ private hardware resources. One of the key technologies for creating the private cloud in a Microsoft oriented IT infrastructure will be the upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (VMM 2012) product. In addition to creating and managing VM’s, Microsoft’s VMM 2012 will enable the organization to create a private cloud management structure over the virtual resources that the organization possesses. Using VMM 2012 you’ll be able to create private cloud definitions, specify the virtual resources that comprise these private clouds and secure the access to your private cloud resources. Essentially this private cloud’s management layer sits over your IT resources allowing multiple individual resources to be managed as a single unit or service.
Using VMM2012’s private cloud definitions, administrators can create an aggregate set of resources, such as VMs, storage and networking, as fabrics – which are essentially the components that are used by the cloud. Administrators can add and remove resources from these fabrics to provide elasticity of resources. Dynamic optimization and power optimization capabilities enable the private cloud to provide optimal and efficient performance in response to changing workload requirements. Resource usage of the private cloud is controlled through user roles and quotas. Administrators are able to delegate management and usage of the private cloud to different end users enabling self-service management for end users.
The private cloud enables IT resources to be presented as a service. It provides for a dynamic and elastic IT infrastructure having self service capabilities with none of the security considerations that affect the public cloud. The private cloud can also be a crucial stepping stone to implementing an internal chargeback model where various business units contributed to IT according the resources that they consume.
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By Adrian Simays
As more and more companies virtualize their mission critical workloads, administrators are faced with the challenge of how to keep these applications highly available in the event of a power outage, natural disaster or some other scenario that will result in downtown for these applications. Replicating data across physical locations can be challenging depending on the distance, available bandwidth, technologies used to replicate (at the VM level, server and\or storage), how much data to replicate, the recovery time objects and how much data needs to be recovered. Technologies like Live Migration simplify the process for moving active virtual machines without any downtime but Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) and replicating shared volumes across long distances can be a real challenge. Read More