by October 1, 2012 0 comments

All the buzz in the cloud computing space is now happening around private cloud. As the name suggests, a private cloud is a set of software solutions that let you build your own cloud computing setup, behind your network’s firewalls. Initially, a private cloud was something that only large enterprises could afford, but over time, just like most other technologies, this one has also trickled down and been made available for small and mid-sized enterprises.

In this story, we explain the concept of private cloud and what types of organizations is it relevant (and not relevant) for. We explain the benefits it can bring to your organization, and how to migrate to it. Plus, we take you through a few tools and software that make it possible to set up a private cloud.

Private Cloud=Virtualization++

Let’s first get the broad definition of private cloud out of the way, because without that, it would be impossible to figure out whether a private cloud would be useful for your organization or not. If you’ve implemented virtualization, then it doesn’t mean that you’ve implemented a private cloud. Virtualization is just a stepping stone to setting up a private cloud. It’s the basic building block for it. Once you’ve implemented virtualization, you need tools to quickly provision new VMs, networking and storage resources. You need tools to manage the performance of your setup, and even tools to allow users to provision resources on their own depending on their business needs. So in effect, you’re implementing a new architecture/blue-print for your IT infrastructure by doing all this. That’s what a private cloud setup is.

Small ISPs and ISVs must use it

A private cloud setup will allow you to reduce the time to provision new resources from days to minutes. Not all organizations need that sort of a speed. Only organizations where such requirements are very in-frequent, shall moving to a private cloud make sense. So a private cloud would be essential for an ISP for instance, who’d like to be able to provision new portals for its customers instantaneously. A software development house shall find private cloud important so that it can allow its developers to quickly create their own test setups without requiring any intervention from IT. Likewise, an ordinary manufacturing company might not require such a setup immediately, and could plan out a gradual, phase-wise migration, starting with simple virtualization.

Use it if you don’t have too much legacy hardware

The whole purpose of building a private cloud is that you can bring automation and remotely control all your servers, to dynamically provision resources. Old/outdated servers might not have the technical capabilities to allow this to happen. This basically means that you’ll first have to invest in new servers, implement virtualization on them, migrate apps from old servers into the new virtual environment, and then start reaping benefits of a private cloud. It’s a long-drawn process and could be expensive.

Private cloud vs public cloud

A lot of companies can’t host data outside their firewalls due to compliance and regulatory norms. Such companies can’t really use the public cloud, which is on a shared infrastructure. Companies who’ve already invested heavily on on-premise applications shall not find it feasible to move to the public cloud as it would be a waste of their existing investments. Likewise, companies that use very high bandwidth applications shall also find it very expensive to move to a public cloud. For all such cases, a private cloud could be a consideration.

Hosted or on-premise private cloud?

Yes, this is another variant of a private cloud for those who can’t afford to setup one on their premises. There are service providers who’re offering a hosted version of a private cloud, which effectively means that the company would provide you dedicated servers with private cloud functionality along with technical support. This might work out cheaper than investing in servers, software, networking, and storage hardware in-house. On the other hand, going for a private, on-premise private cloud would have the benefits of lower latency, better user experience over a hosted model, etc.

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