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Private Cloud Progression

Recently I spoke with a vendor about private clouds. To me the definition of a private cloud is not precise. Many throw it around the way pundits toss around the term "socialist" when they've never read a word of Das Kapital or "Randian" when they shrugged their shoulders at the very first page of Atlas Shrugged.

I asked what a private cloud was and how was it different from a highly virtualized data center. Security, umm, scalability, he said. We finally got to what I think is the answer -- elasticity. A private cloud, as ill-defined as it still is, is the equivalent of a public cloud. By virtue of being highly virtualized, workloads are highly expandable and transferable both in terms of processing and memory, and storage as well. This means the data center is highly orchestrated. It also has to be either very overbuilt, or applications and data must spill over to an external service when your private cloud runs out of gas.

Of course don't even get me started on the notion of having a private cloud hosted by a service provider. It's too early in the day for my head to spin off just yet.

Jason Cowie of Embotics lives in this world and as a result is far more calm about private cloud nomenclature than I.

Here's how Cowie sees the world of private cloud moving. Cowie's piece is in-depth so I'll just give the Sparks Notes version.

First, Cowie is a fan of private cloud, but once you built one, don't just declare mission accomplished. An elastic, utility-style virtual data center that can spin up new services quickly is all well and good, but there is much more that can be done such as tying your private cloud into a public cloud and making it hybrid.

Before you go hybrid, Cowie wants you to take that cloud and make it the best private cloud it can be. That means optimizing.

What is an optimized private cloud? Provisioning is automatic, multiple hypervisors are handled, chargeback is fully integrated, and workloads are easily deployed so long as they are within the scope of cost models.

Also, all your resources are fully optimized, which is really the beauty behind virtualization. Offline capacity shouldn't stay offline for long, but should be allocated to your most critical workloads. The whole idea is to rightsize your entire operation, making sure you have enough capacity to handle spikes and growth, but not so much idle that you are wasting precious company cash.

What is your experience with private clouds? Share at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/01/2012 at 12:47 PM


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