Will the Real Private Cloud Please Stand up?

The industry has been experiencing quite a bit of Cloudwashing in the recent past. Cloudwashing is a term used to explain the deceptive and misleading attempt by vendors to associate everything and anything with the Cloud. Unfortunately, Cloudwashing is not just confined to product companies and services companies. Even some of the enterprise IT teams want their staff and management to believe that they are ‘Cloud Ready’. This can be called as enterprise Cloudwashing. A few customers that I met proudly told me that they run their entire infrastructure on a Private Cloud. Further probing reveals that what they are actually running is plain vanilla Virtualization. But what distinguishes Private Cloud from Virtualization? Many businesses think they are the same. Plain vanilla virtualization is not same as the Private Cloud!

The key attributes of the Cloud of are self-service, pay-by-use, elasticity and programmability. Virtualization alone doesn’t deliver any of these promises. Of course, Virtualization forms the core of the Private Cloud. But there are multiple layers and abstractions that are built on top of Virtualization to deliver the true value of Private Cloud. The following capabilities differentiate Private Cloud from plain Virtualization.

Private Cloud Capabilities
Automated Provisioning – This automates the provisioning and deployment of virtual resources. The biggest benefit that this capability brings is the reduction in turn around time. By tapping into the APIs that the Hypervisor exposes, the provisioning and resource allocation can be scripted. This becomes the façade for every other layer above the Hypervisor to talk to the Virtualization foundation.

Workflow / Governance – Mere automation is just not enough for the enterprises. Many enterprises have internal IT policies that define the governance. Provisioning requires approvals from a set of individuals and departments. This should be completely aligned with the procurement life cycle and IT governance policies of the enterprise. This forms the essential component of the Private Cloud.

Metering & Billing – To realize the Pay-By-Use attribute of the Cloud, there needs to be an accurate tracking of the resources. There could be multiple departments in an enterprise consuming the Cloud services. Metering & Billing enables the IT team to send the resource usage to respective departments. This brings accountability and transparency into the Private Cloud usage. Finance can perform Chargeback operations on each department consuming the Cloud resources. Without this, the infrastructure doesn’t qualify to be called as Private Cloud. It is still an automated Virtualized infrastructure.

Self-Service – This is the biggest differentiator of the Private Cloud. By surfacing all the above capabilities of automated provisioning, Workflow and resource tracking, individuals and departments can be empowered to deal with the infrastructure through self-service. This will reduce the friction between the business units, IT departments, finance and procurement by connecting all the stakeholders through an automated workflow. A Private Cloud without self-service is incomplete and doesn’t deserve to be called as Private Cloud.

It is time for the CIOs to ask for the real Private Cloud to stand up!

- Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor, CloudStory.in


Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He contributes to cloud related articles on YourStory.com. A former employee of Microsoft and Amazon, Janakiram built a cloud consulting company that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is an analyst with GigaOM Research contributing to the Cloud related market research and analysis. He can be reached at jani@janakiram.com.