Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is the Private Cloud?

What is this “Private Cloud” thing anyway?

The simple term is that it is a pool of compute resources that runs on hardware that you own (it is in your datacenter). 

But, that just means that I am running virtual machines, right?

Not exactly.  It means that there is some type of automation framework in front of the hypervisors and the virtual machines that is providing some type of orchestration.  This could be XenServer + VMLogix or Hyper-V + SCVMM.

At the same time, virtual machines are not required – but it is easier with virtual machines.

HPC from Microsoft, the old fashioned mainframe, the Cray – these are examples of private clouds that have been around, performing massive calculations, they are orchestrated; they meet the definition.  But they require custom written applications so they work well in very specific situations.

The recent “Private Cloud” term tossed out by Microsoft I think can be summarized in this way:

  • Private Cloud is owned by you.
  • Private Cloud is dynamic (in some way)
  • Private Cloud is at least Hyper-V (but it can be more as you need it to be).
  • Private Cloud has OEM reference hardware designs (these are tested and known to work, but they are not the only option)
  • Private Cloud is NOT all boxed up and sitting on a shelf somewhere. (it is not a SKU that you purchase)
  • Private Cloud is not defined by a specific set of prescribed technologies.
  • Private Cloud must be pieced together by you (the architect, the enterprise, the planner – you must know what your requirements are).
  • Private Cloud is NOT Microsoft only technologies.

Private Cloud is your enterprise datacenter.  Enabled to be nimble and adaptive through technologies that make it dynamic.  Some of these technologies are:  Hyper-V, SCVMM, SSP, Operations Manager, Configuration Manager (basically any of the System Center group added on top of your infrastructure that happens to be running as virtual machines).

In the Citrix world I could describe the same, or I could have a mash-up of Citrix products with Systems Center products.  The end result would be the same – a Private Cloud.

This is where the big disconnect is happening and all of the confusion is currently happening.  Private Cloud is a term, a term that summarizes a conglomeration of technologies that are working together to make an IT shop more efficient, more nimble, more self-service.

4 comments:

fawzi said...

Agree with you, private cloud is not a new thing at all.. it is the same old technologies with new brand.
As you said private cloud is not limited to using virtualization technologies for example "Leveraging Java EE and dynamic infrastructure to enable a shared resource, on-demand scalable infrastructure – without server virtualization"
http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/macvittie/archive/2009/09/02/how-to-build-a-cloud-without-using-virtualization.aspx
I believe that the term of private cloud is just a transition phase that would reduce customer fears and concerns in another form. Since private cloud is so cloudy I think it is all about automation of service and ability to scale in and out on demand without human interaction.. This meets some parts of cloud computing standards but not all of them... To better efficiency I think private cloud should move to community clouds

BrianEh said...

The previous terminology that also equals the current term private cloud:

"autonomic computing"
"dynamic datacenter"
"dynamic IT"

It is not a new concept at all. Only the passage of time and adapting a very old concept to the current implementations.

You mention "Community Clouds" - IMHO this is the old concept of sharing unused compute cycles. You have an agent application that runs on all fo the PCs in your enterprise and when the users aren't busy with productivity work the agent kiks in and uses the free compute cycles to perform backend calculation work.

The perfect model of this is SETI@Home and Folding@Home.

But again, that is the concept without machine virtualization.

fawzi said...

mm.. I think the main problem comes from the IaaS part... do you think that we may have another way to provide that "IaaS' Without using virtualization ?
The sharing of resources is more difficult without virtualization a la VMware/Xen/Hyper-V

BrianEh said...

And the most interesting part is that those particular dots are being assembeled.

They are not all connected yet, but if you look around at things that are happening you can see that the requirement for IaaS is beginning to reduce.

IaaS is simply a stepping stone - one that is a natural progression from one perspective, but at hte same time one that could be stepped right over.

It isn't there today, but it is coming. We just don't know exactly what it will look like yet.