With the publicity surrounding Cloud Computing it is easy to form the opinion that Cloud Computing means using Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine or Amazon EC2. These are public clouds that are shared by many organisations. Related to using a public cloud is the question of security. What often gets missed in these discussions is the fact that Cloud Computing very definitely offers a private cloud option.
Leveraging a private cloud can offer an organisation many advantages, not least of which is a better utilisation of existing on-premise IT resources. The number of products available to support private clouds is growing. For instance Amazon recently launched their Virtual Private Cloud which provides a secure seamless bridge between a company’s existing IT infrastructure and the AWS cloud. Eucalyptus provides a cloud infrastructure for private clouds which in the latest release, includes Windows image hosting, group management, quota management and accounting. This is a truly comprehensive solution for those wishing to run a private cloud.
The latest addition to the private cloud landscape is the launch by Microsoft of the Appliance for building private clouds. Microsoft have developed a private cloud appliance in collaboration with eBay. This product compliments Azure by enabling the cloud to be locked down behind firewalls and intrusion detection systems, perfect for handling customer transactions and private data. Interestingly the private cloud appliance allows Java applications to run as first class citizens alongside .NET. Microsoft is partnering with HP, Fujitsu and Dell who will adopt the appliance for their own cloud services.
I am really encouraged by these developments in private cloud offerings, as during consulting and teaching the Learning Tree Cloud Computing course, the concerns of security and data location are offered as barriers to cloud adoption. My argument that private or hybrid clouds offer solutions is being reinforced by the rapidly increasing products in this space and their adoption by organisations such as eBay.