There is a widely accepted truism surrounding the benefits of the private cloud and traditional data centers – increased control and superior security. On the other hand, the public cloud model supposedly offers the advantage of moving workloads to the cloud, and taking full advantage of its scalability, low cost and agility.
IT managers all over the world are buying into what the big vendors tout as clear benefits of the public cloud over the private cloud: cost effectiveness, and this has been the main driver to move from private to public.
But is this really the case? The truth is that the distinction between public and private clouds is blurred, and before trying to analyze and pick your solution, you should be aware of the distinction so that you can make the right calls in the right time.
I Like to Sum This up with My 3 Cloud Myths:
1. “The Public cloud is not secure”
This was proven to be totally not true. It was recently published that Amazon, the #1 player in the cloud industry nowadays has the world’s best security level, and has received almost all possible security certifications. This includes PCI, HIPAA among others. Even the CIA is working with them for their cloud needs.
2. “The Public cloud will never provide the same level of control that my own data center provides me with”
Sure, one might think that the service level given by public cloud vendors will never match the service and control level which one can achieve by building his own data center. The thing that IT managers don’t take into account is that the biggest vendors in the market have a clear interest in providing the best self-serve control tools to minimize the need for constant customer support and service. Case in point, public cloud vendors such as AWS and Azure have created better tools for assuming and maintaining control.
3. “The Public cloud is more affordable”
Well, this is no myth, but this also is not guaranteed. The cloud can be cost effective if you are familiar with its advantages – these include knowing how to utilize its elasticity and to right-size your cloud so you don’t overspend on unused resources. But without stringent monitoring, your cloud costs can skyrocket with unnecessary or wasted resources and usage of less-than-optimal pricing models.
So, How Can DevOps Know the Exact Cutoff point when Public Cloud Deployment is Wasteful?
The ease with which instances and environments are deployed in the cloud can have very costly side-effects with redundant allocations, completely unused resources and very limited visibility into who is responsible. A professional DevOps approach would include using monitoring and optimization tools that identify unused and underutilized resources, and provides sizing and other cost management recommendations based on relevant metrics.
Private or Public? – Unclouding the Definitions
Confusion between private VS public clouds is also due to incorrect understanding of the relevant terminology. People are using the words ‘public’ and ‘private’ when they should actually be using ‘hybrid’. Here are some examples on public vs private:
1. “The hosts within my own data center are ‘private’, right?”
This one’s easy. This is a clear case of a truly private cloud.
2. “Placing my own hardware at someone’s hosted location – private or public?”
When you’re purchasing rack space at a hosting provider’s datacenter, and with that bringing your own hardware and building a cloud on the space you bought you have essentially created what is referred to as an externally ‘hosted private cloud’.
3. “I’m renting a dedicated host by month at a hosting provider, and using it to build my cloud. Is this public or private?
This is also a case of externally hosted private cloud, but cost-wise it’s a bit closer to the public cloud, in both the Opex/Capex models and in the server costs.
4. “When I’m renting virtual servers with a public cloud vendor, and building a cloud on those virtual servers with an IP address which was assigned from my own data center along with my own security regulations– is this considered private or public?”
Amazon refers to this as ‘VPC – Virtual Private Cloud’. The line between public and private in this case is very blurred. On one hand, the deployment is 100% private – it consists of an IP that’s drawn from my data center through a secured VPN and it also includes my security regulations, and on the other hand, this structure is now on the public cloud.
5. “Are mutations like Government Clouds considered private and/or public?”
This is a classic hybrid cloud. Because it features the best out of the two models. It is public in a way, referring to its elasticity and agility, but it’s also hosted on a completely isolated environment, is built for a specific entity, and has clearly many characteristics of a private cloud.
My hunch is that the name “Private Cloud” will be eventually assigned to some extensions of the Public Clouds and so the distinction between the two will dissolve over time, and we will remain with the hybrid and the public clouds.
Rising Above the Cloud Jargon
With so much marketing and technical terminology being thrown around to describe the cloud, it’s no easy task determining which cloud is right for you.
However, gathering your internal computing requirements, security policies etc and asking the right questions, will go a long way in ensuring you get what’s right for you.
At Cloudyn, we provide unprecedented insight into your cloud consumption with emphasize on identifying wasted resources and where you can optimize your total cloud ROI. Our tools are for both public, private and hybrid cloud deployments, helping newbies and cloud veterans gain clarity and become their company’s cloud hero.