What is private cloud?
Private clouds are pools of virtual resources—sourced from systems dedicated to and managed by the people using them—that can be automatically provisioned and allocated through a self-service interface. They're defined by privacy settings and management responsibilities, not location or ownership. As long as the resources are dedicated to a single customer with isolated access, on-site, off-site, and even vendor-owned infrastructure can power private clouds.
How do private clouds work?
Private clouds rely on a handful of various technologies, but understanding how virtualization works is the key to understanding how private clouds work. A private cloud uses virtualization technology to combine resources sourced from physical hardware into shared pools. This way, the cloud doesn't have to create environments by virtualizing resources one at a time from a bunch of different physical systems. A scripted IT process can just grab all those resources from a single source—like a data supermarket.
Adding a layer of management software gives administrative control over the infrastructure, platforms, applications, and data that will be used in the cloud by helping cloud admins track and optimize use, oversee integration points, and retain or recover data. When the final automation layer is added to replace or reduce human interaction with repeatable instructions and processes, the self-service component of the cloud is complete and that bundle of technologies is now a private cloud.
All that technology—virtualization, management, and automation—has to work well together in order for a private cloud to work. That connectivity relies on perhaps the most overlooked technology of all: the operating system. The consistency, reliability, and flexibility of the operating system directly determines how strong the connections are between the physical resources, virtual data pools, management software, automation scripts, and users.
When that operating system is open sourced and designed for enterprises (like Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®) then the infrastructure holding up your private cloud is not only reliable enough to serve as a proper foundation, but flexible enough to scale.
Why use private clouds?
Private clouds are the ideal solution for IT leaders who want to make enterprise resources available on-demand, but can’t (or don’t want to) move to the public cloud. This can be due to security policies, budgets, compliance requirements, or regulations, like those that define the healthcare and financial service industries. Companies in these industries use encryption protocols and firewalls to secure their IT systems, but private clouds add an extra level of security—compared to public clouds—because access is limited.
Whether or not you invest in private cloud infrastructure also depends on the workloads that need to be supported. Traditional, stateful workloads are well supported by enterprise virtualization products. But stateless, loosely coupled workloads—typically found in development, research, and telecommunications (particularly network functions virtualization)—are better supported by private clouds.
Once you've reached the limits of hard-wired infrastructure, it’s time to virtualize your resources. Once you've reached the limits of virtualization, it's time to develop a private cloud.
Managed private clouds
With private clouds, you're completely responsible for all costs at all times. You staff, manage, and maintain all underlying infrastructure. But private clouds can also be delivered by vendors as part of a managed private cloud approach. Managed private clouds let customers maintain a private cloud—on or off premises—that's deployed, configured, and managed by a third-party vendor. It's a cloud delivery option that helps enterprises with understaffed or underskilled IT teams provide better private cloud services and infrastructure to users.
Private cloud benefits
Private clouds are more than simply an extension of a virtualization platform—they abstract a variety of computing resources and provide controlled self-service access to them. They go beyond the benefits of traditional virtualization by providing:
- Increased infrastructural capacity to handle large compute and storage demands
- On-demand services using self-service user interfaces and policy-based management
- Efficient resource allocation based on user needs
- Increased visibility into resources across the infrastructure
Private clouds reduce instances of underused capacity. They allow the enterprise to automatically configure and reconfigure resources in any way it wants, since those resources aren’t restricted by their physical installations (thank you, virtualization). And private clouds can provide greater security than other cloud options, depending on your organization's’ security policies and practices.
Private cloud storage
Big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) have made private cloud storage very important to businesses, particularly in an era where it can difficult to appraise the value of a byte until long after it was created. Private clouds use something called software-defined storage (SDS) to archive and sort data. One of the more common SDS solutions for private clouds—particularly those deployed using OpenStack®—is Ceph. Ceph is the open source project behind Red Hat Ceph Storage, and it works well with clouds because it unifies object, block, and file storage into a single resource pool.
Why Red Hat
Because each private cloud is unique, and building unique private clouds by yourself can get exponentially expensive . That's why we developed a bunch of cloud solutions that let you build a unique private cloud from wherever you are right now. Need everything from the virtualization infrastructure through metering and management? Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure is the right choice for you. Already have a virtual infrastructure? Red Hat OpenStack Platform runs off the virtual resources you've already deployed. Want to start running containers in clouds? Red Hat Cloud Suite lets you do just that. And you can rely on our support to not only help you get to the cloud, but be productive once you're there.
Is your cloud strategy limited by your infrastructure?
Some virtual infrastructures restrict your software choices by binding you to increasingly expensive enterprise-license agreements. Migrating to open source virtualization could open your path to the cloud.
A combination of tightly integrated Red Hat technologies that lets you build and manage an open, private cloud.
A cloud infrastructure that runs off standard hardware—letting you deploy the private cloud tools you need, when you need them, all from 1 place.
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