Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Public and Private Cloud Platforms | @CloudExpo #Cloud #BigData #IoT #API

The original five cloud characteristics, as stated by NIST, are a great starting point for such a comparison

Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud Platforms

For the past few years, enterprises have grappled with the personal cloud dilemma: "Should we use private or public cloud?" To some degree this has moved beyond a binary, either-or decision and now many enterprises are using both, but the question still remains on a per-workload basis: "Should I run this workload on public or private cloud?"

To help enterprises weigh up the pros and cons of public and private clouds it's useful to find comparable attributes and to consider their pros and cons. The original five cloud characteristics, as stated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), are a great starting point for such a comparison:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Multi-tenancy (resource pooling)
  4. Elasticity
  5. Operations (measured service)

1. On-Demand Self-Service
Cloud consumers and administrators love being able to serve themselves. If there are no people and, more importantly, no service request tickets or forms to fill in, then the nirvana of friction-free IT feels nearer.

For public cloud service providers, self-service isn't an afterthought - they have deliberately made it the only way to control your resources, see your bill, and use your services. For this reason, public cloud self-service quality is incredibly high, with quality user interfaces and APIs.

However, there is a downside to this laser focus on self-service - it's not enough when things go wrong. In such scenarios, cloud customers who have put the IT backbone of their business in the hands of a third party want to talk with a human being. They want to be assured that a quick fix is imminent; they might also feel better raising their voice a little. Thankfully, public cloud service provider phone support, usually provided at an extra cost, is now improving.

Private cloud software has improved to now offer users self-service and, at least from the point of the users ordering extra virtual machines, things are better than they used to be. However, if you want more than virtual machines you might find that private clouds have fewer offerings via their self-service front ends, and these self-service capabilities are often clunky and poorly integrated - leading to a poor user experience. Additionally, APIs tend to be complex or completely missing.

2. Broad Network Access
Private clouds, running inside an enterprise, benefit users because they are on the corporate network and should thus be available to all. Plus most organizations have fast local and wide area networks connecting users to the datacenter within which the private cloud resides.

The downside to this is that enterprise networks can be under-invested in, which leads to fragmented and poorly performing networks that directly impact both user experience and the ability to connect to cloud services. The biggest issue is often the difficulty associated with connecting to private clouds from new locations outside of the corporate network.

Public cloud providers make enormous investments and innovations in their networking. They might provide their own content delivery networks, points of presence, and new ways of software-defined networking. They also often have a global presence that means your cloud resources can be available globally.

However, because these public cloud providers are so large and innovative, their networks have a history of issues with load balancers, noisy neighbors and, as one industry commentator cheekily put it, their own "weather patterns."

3. Multi-Tenancy (Resource Pooling)
The average public cloud provider offers a multi-tenant cloud, pooling resources that it then divides up for individual cloud customers. For example, the Microsoft Azure cloud architecture pools compute resources by rack and then into subdivisions. Storage is architected in pools that are then replicated many times across many locations and also shared among many tenants.

This is a very mature operation but there can still be differences in the service you get, often because the network is one of the most shared (and complex) resources. Resource pools aren't uniform either - when you start a virtual machine you could be in a pool of old or new machines, you don't have a choice. This is resource pooling in action.

In a private cloud, the same architectural pooling is possible, on a smaller scale, and similar mechanisms exist to create and share multi-tenant resource pools using software like OpenStack. However, a private cloud is single-tenant, so the resource pooling has a lower isolation requirement (because the whole cloud is isolated).

4. Elasticity
This is the biggest difference between public and private clouds because it's about size and responsiveness.

Elasticity of resources, up or down, with the requisite changes in billing, is the raison d'etre of cloud. It's what allows people to save money and yet to still be agile and experimental. The only downside is that this pay-as-you-go capability can be costly if you have long-running static workloads.

Private clouds offer consumers elastic resources but they are ultimately constrained by the enterprise IT procurement process. Users can consume all they want up to the ceiling, but to move the ceiling up takes time (and justification).

5. Operations (Measured Service)
In an elastic, self-service system the cloud platform needs some "smarts" to optimize itself and to help the administrator make sense of a constantly moving system.

VMware's Dynamic Resource Scheduler is an example of an enterprise measured service system that is used by VMware's private cloud technology. Visual operations systems then integrate with such a resource scheduler to allow both dynamic and human modifications of cloud resources. However the downside is that these enterprise-grade optimization tools often aren't built specifically for cloud, but they are slowly being integrated and modified over time.

Public cloud systems offer limited, but increasingly better, operational systems for cloud customers. They are constantly optimizing the provider-end of resources to balance acceptable performance with density. These cloud operational systems are built for cloud so they integrate and operate very well, but they may lack the detail that the enterprise user expects.

In summary, public cloud is more advanced than any private cloud; it's becoming easier to use and more integrated with the enterprise. The rate of feature releases and reducing pricing levels at the leading cloud service providers also make a compelling case for public cloud. Private cloud may be comforting to enterprise IT staff, but the cons are stacked with constraints and costs.

More Stories By Sarah Lahav

As the company’s first employee, Sarah Lahav has remained the vital link between SysAid Technologies and its customers since 2003. She is the current CEO and former VP of Customer Relations at SysAid – two positions that have fueled her passion in customer service.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...