Talk about the public cloud and most people get it. They’ve seen services like those from Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft and others and understand how the public cloud lets them take applications and services out of their data center and put them onto a cloud service provider’s infrastructure. But talk about private clouds and people start to get a little confused.
There are two questions that skeptics of a private cloud will typically ask if you bring it up:
- “How can the cloud be private? Isn’t the whole point of the cloud that stuff is in the cloud, not the data center?”
- “Private cloud, give me a break. That’s just another way to talk about using virtual servers in your data center.”
The funny thing is, both of these comments are valid in their own way, despite being mostly wrong in their focus. The rise of cloud computing did come about mainly because of the public cloud. And yes, a private cloud is, to a large degree, all about using virtual servers in your infrastructure. But as they say, it’s the details that matter.
Why Virtual Infrastructure Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Cloud
It’s true that organizations have been building virtual server infrastructures in their data centers for quite some time. But during that time, they’ve run into more than their fair share of problems when it comes to implementing these infrastructures. Poor server utilization, duplicate virtual servers and applications, orphaned virtual machines, and lots of unchecked and unmanaged virtual machine sprawl.
It’s also true that the cloud blossomed in the public space. But by taking many of the key developments of the public cloud, the private cloud solves many of the issues of virtual infrastructures run amok.
Through improved provisioning, metering, self-service and management capabilities, a properly deployed private cloud can solve virtual machine sprawl, improve server utilization and help end users deploy only the resources that they need. It’s a simple matter to go to a public cloud provider and use a templated process to get only the resources you need for an application; likewise, a private cloud implementation can enable IT to provide capabilities to the company at large while retaining full control and visibility into resource usage.
But just as traditional virtual infrastructures can fall apart when not implemented correctly, a private cloud that is deployed without the proper foresight, planning and hardware infrastructure will be doomed to fail or underdeliver on its true potential.
What can a business do to properly deploy a private cloud? A key step is to deploy an infrastructure that’s been built from the ground up to enable the private cloud to run at its best.
Because in the end, if you don’t do a good job of laying the infrastructure for your private cloud, your failure could be very public.