A Private Cloud computing platform is a stack of network, server and storage hardware dedicated to you for the purpose of cloud computing. When a managed cloud computing service is utilized, the stack of hardware becomes a customizable cloud of computing and storage resources that can be configured and re-configured when and as you wish. Why is this ability to configure and re-configure your server resources with a Private Cloud computing platform so valuable? Here's why.
With a typical dedicated server stack, which is either managed by you or outsourced, you select your server, storage and networking needs, purchase them, and then live with that configuration for 3 to 5 years. During the course of those years, you might add memory, which isn't too difficult. You might need to upgrade disk drives, which proves a bit more difficult. Over time, you might need to upgrade CPU's, which is very difficult and expensive because this essentially requires changing the entire server.
When speaking to finance professionals, the following analogy can be used to describe the benefit of Private Cloud computing:
Imagine you were responsible for bus transportation in a metropolitan area. You are getting ready to order new busses that your community would need to live with for the next 7 years. Busses are available in 20, 30, or 50 seat configurations. You need 1,000-1,100 total seats to accommodate your population and the routes you've designed to service their needs. Each line is designed to maximize the use of a 20 or 50 seat bus. So, you guess and buy twenty, 20-seat buses, and twelve, 50 seat busses, and then hope it's efficient for the next 7 years.
Interesting puzzle huh? Even if done really well, at the end of the day, there's still tons of room for inefficiencies and wasted resources.
Instead of being forced to live with the same resource configuration for several years, imagine you could purchase a "cloud with 1,000 bus seats" and re-configure those seats at will into whatever size busses you want, at any point in time. Busses could be as small as a single seat or you could have one bus with 1,000 seats. Got a convention? Make 4 x 200 seat busses between hotels and the conference center. Having this flexibility is really powerful and valuable. Why? Because with the increased flexibility you can have more seats being used at any one time, thus requiring significantly fewer seats while providing a better experience.
That could be called "cloud transportation", and it would be every Transportation Officials dream. Now think of each bus as a server and you have "private cloud computing" - every IT-finance manager's dream come true.
An Important New Requirement
We just saw the power of the flexibility provided by Private Cloud computing. Unfortunately, it introduces a level of complexity that wasn't present before. There are a few unique abilities that must exist in order to really gain the benefit of a Private Cloud.
Continuing with the transportation analogy… you now have this new on-demand flexibility for your busses. All you need now is a staff of people monitoring the traffic flow and re-designing the busses with more or less seats based on demand and utilization. They would work feverishly to reduce the wait and route times for anyone wanting a seat on any bus. The flexibility is powerful but to get the most out of it you need fairly sophisticated and complex (i.e. expensive) abilities to dynamically change your configurations and obtain the full benefit of the flexibility.
In the computing world, what you need to do is watch the server, storage and network resources. When one appears to be causing a bottleneck, provide it more resources. You also have to remember to reduce the number of resources allocated to a server that doesn't need it. If you don't, it sits idle and unavailable for another server that might demand it. This resource allocation process is powerful, but not inexpensive.
That's where you need to pay attention when designing your Private Cloud. You need it to automatically change the cloud configuration in real-time so resources are where they need to be when they need to be there! In the blink of an eye and automatically, it needs to turn cloud servers off that aren't being used and turn them back on when they are needed. This means that a small, extremely smart piece of software will have to constantly monitor your server, storage, memory and network resources and compare that to work-loads. It will then estimate and forecast which servers need more resources. After estimating, it then needs to automatically, in real-time, re-allocate resources so that you are always using your cloud computing resources in the most efficient manner. How cool is that? The dream continues…