Does Your Company Need a Managed Private Cloud?
Cloud computing offers benefits that more and more companies are moving to take advantage of. These include lower costs, greater flexibility, and enhanced ease of use. But in many instances, corporations also have compelling reasons for keeping at least part of their IT infrastructure in house and behind their own firewalls. For some, it’s a need to ensure maximum security for their sensitive data or to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Others choose to stay at home because of performance constraints that require their data storage and compute resources to be in close physical proximity to each other.
Although these organizations might want to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, it may seem that running a private cloud operation under their own roofs is a bigger task than they are prepared to take on. For many, the best option may well be a managed private cloud.
What Is a Managed Private Cloud?
A “cloud,” whether public or private, is really nothing more than a set of services that can be easily accessed by users. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing this way:
“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
A key element of this definition is that it applies to any kind of cloud. It may be a multi-tenant public cloud run by one of the behemoths of the cloud computing world, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). It could be an in-house private cloud operated by a single company exclusively for its own use. Or, as is becoming more and more common today, it could be a private cloud managed by a third-party provider who specializes in offering individual customers a complete suite of cloud services on a single-tenancy basis. This latter model is what’s called a managed private cloud.
Clouds Are Built on Stacks
The set of capabilities available with a particular cloud offering is embodied in its “stack,” a broad range of services layered on top of one another. In setting up a private cloud there are several stack offerings to choose from.
The most popular stack platform is OpenStack, which is an open source package managed by the OpenStack Foundation, and supported by a wide range of cloud providers. There are also several other open source offerings, such as CloudStack, Eucalyptus, and OpenNebula. Microsoft is entering the private cloud marketplace with Azure Stack. According to Network World, “Azure Stack is basically the same APIs, tools and processes that power Azure, but it’s intended to be hosted on-premises in private cloud scenarios.” Oracle, too, has joined the fray with its Oracle Cloud at Customer offering.
Building a private cloud will mean adopting one of the available stack platforms and fully understanding its intricacies. Rather than devoting internal staff resources to that task, many companies are choosing to outsource the responsibility of implementing and managing their private cloud stack to a partner that has specialized expertise in this area.
Benefits of a Managed Private Cloud
A good managed cloud services provider will set up, operate, and upgrade as necessary your company’s private cloud infrastructure. This may be on-premises at your site, or in the provider’s facility. They will optimize the environment for greatest efficiency with your particular workloads, while also implementing top-flight data security, backup/restore, and disaster recovery capabilities. The provider will monitor the operations of your cloud on an ongoing basis, and will proactively identify and fix problems as they occur.
Being able to offload such functions to a specialist is what makes the managed private cloud an especially attractive option for many companies today.
A key feature that should be part of your managed private cloud is interoperability with the public cloud. The most popular cloud computing approach today, by far, is the hybrid model in which companies make full use of both private and public clouds. Because of the public cloud’s multi-tenancy model, it can achieve economies of scale that make it more cost effective than a private cloud for some services. A well run managed private cloud will be able to call on the public cloud when it provides the best fit for particular workloads, or when surges in demand temporarily require more resources than the private cloud can provide.
How Zadara Can Make Your Managed Private Cloud an Even Better Solution
The Zadara Storage Cloud can make interoperability between private and public clouds much easier than traditional approaches to data storage. The company has its VPSA Storage Array technology already installed in the facilities of major public cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). VPSA Storage Arrays can also be installed on site as the storage component of your private cloud implementation. Because these devices can be set up to automatically mirror and replicate data between themselves, sharing data (including server images) between clouds can be accomplished transparently, non-disruptively, and in real time.
If you’d like to explore how a managed private cloud can work for your organization, please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper.