As you may recall, at the beginning of 2011 we polled over 500 CTOs, developers and IT professionals asking them about various aspects of cloud computing. Questions included: What is cloud computing and how do you use it?, What security measures do you require in the cloud? and many more. The data from this cloud survey report provides a good idea of the current cloud computing landscape and upcoming trends as we race towards 2012.
Continuing on in the series, we wanted to know what IT professionals thought of cloud computing’s latest innovation: the private cloud. Private clouds have quickly become the topic of much conversation in the industry because they offer core public cloud technology but within a single-tenant environment. Before we jump into the results of our question, What aspects of the private cloud are most important to your organization?, it is important to have a clear understanding of what private clouds are.
What are private clouds?
There are quite a few ways how private clouds differ from public cloud offerings but I won’t go into all of the differences within this post. As I mentioned above, there is the idea of tenancy. To broadly generalize, public clouds are multi-tenant and private clouds are single-tenant. To expand on this concept a bit more, public clouds provide shared resources for consumption by multiple companies or organizations within the same server cluster. However, these resources are dedicated and fully isolated to those users in that networking, storage, RAM and CPU units are allocated to those users. This is very different than traditional shared hosting or VPS’s (Virtual Private Servers) – shared or VPS environments can, at times, suffer from over-allocation of resources or degraded performance if one user on a particular “machine” is “hogging” those resources. Public clouds effectively isolate those resources so that customers don’t experience usage hogs.
Private clouds are essentially public clouds but in an environment dedicated to one company, thus “single-tenant.” That does not mean though, that a private cloud cannot host multiple departments or business units from that single organization. Basically, a private cloud dedicates all of the resources to a single company or corporation and serves just that organization. The computer, storage and networking resources are most likely either owned by that organization, hosted by that organization or running exclusively for that organization but managed by another vendor (see GoGrid’s Hosted Private Cloud).
Private clouds frequently come at a higher cost than traditional public clouds mainly because public clouds give you economies of scale via larger infrastructure installations. Some companies may prefer operating in a non-shared environment due the higher amounts of control that they have on the infrastructure and the hardware or due to compliance or regulatory concerns.