01-25-11 | Blog Post

Private Cloud Computing Explanation, Benefits, and Recommendations

Blog Posts

Yan Ness explains the benefits of private cloud computing and his recommendations for other CEO’s thinking about moving to the cloud.

Find out more about the cloud computing and the private cloud.

Can a Private Cloud Benefit My Business?

Presented by Yan Ness, Online Tech CEO

Some of my CEO colleagues have asked me, “What is all of this cloud computing stuff?”

And the easiest way I can describe it is to describe the job of a transportation manager who has to design a bus system. He knows he needs a 1000 buses to meet his ridership plan. Orders 20 50-seat buses. Finds out that he was wrong; he should have ordered 25 40-seat buses because there’s too many buses riding around empty.

Cloud transportation, let’s call it, would enable that guy, every morning, to redesign all of his buses however he wanted, in any configuration. He could have a 1000 1-seat buses, he could have 2 500-seat buses – whatever he wanted.

Add to that a piece of software that would look at all of his ridership, every night, and reconfigure the entire bus system every morning to maximize the usage for the patterns they see on that day.

That would be called cloud transportation. Now imagine each of those buses as a server, and you’ve got cloud computing. The flexibility is really powerful, and lowers your total cost of ownership.

So the next question I often get asked by that same audience is, “Alright, I understand cloud computing; what’s the difference between private cloud computing and public cloud computing?”

The best way for me to answer that is to say, in public cloud computing, those servers that you put your data on, or that you use to slice up into many smaller servers (those that are called hosts) – those hosts are used by everybody else.

So if you go to a public cloud and you create 10 or 20 servers, you put your data up there – you are sitting on hosts that everybody else might be sitting on – maybe your competitor, who knows. And as they do things with those servers, it may or may not affect what you’re doing. So you end up giving up some predictability and control – usually in exchange for a lot more expandability.

In a public cloud computing environment, you can instantly create thousands of servers and then remove thousands of servers. You just aren’t so sure whether each of those servers are really going to do everything you need.

In a private cloud computing environment, you have your own cloud, you have your own hardware. There’s a stack of hardware – that’s server hosts, that’s network hardware, that’s storage hardware – and nobody uses any piece of any of that except you. It’s your private cloud. You create servers on that, you remove servers on that, you configure servers as you wish, on that private cloud, nobody else is touching it.

The advantage is predictability – you always know everything that’s running on that private cloud and you always understand what might affect you. It’s a powerful feeling.

The disadvantage is that it’s not as expandable. If you want to be able to create a thousand or two thousand virtual servers at the drop of a hat, you need a pretty big private cloud. Most people tend not to afford that. So private cloud computing gives you:

– Significantly more control over your data
– Predictability over your computing
– But you trade off a little expandability

So, I have two specific recommendations for people considering going to a private cloud:

First one is, do it now. We’ve realized fantastic flexibility, time to market and TCO reduction that I’d hate for you to delay it if you can use it.

The second recommendation I have is outsource it. Basically, we think of the world in terms of what we call the Internet Delivery Stack. At the lower levels of the stack is the infrastructure; at the top levels of that stack is the application and your data. And our clients, and most application developers, they want to focus on the application, they want to focus on the database, and you want all your technology resources and all your management time focused on your customers and their experience with your application.

Running on a private cloud is complicated. Private clouds have lots of infrastructure to them, there’s lots of security requirements, there’s lots of VMware configurations, lots of SAN configuration and management. And every second you spend on those things you’re not spending on the strategic value of your application. So we really, really encourage you to outsource it.

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