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The Basics: Private Clouds And Why Monitoring Matters
What Is A Private Cloud?
In spite of the buzz around cloud computing, private cloud technology remains a mystery to many organizations. Essentially, the term ‘private cloud’ refers to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) infrastructure run for one business or organization. It can be managed by a service provider or internally at an end-user company, and hosted anywhere. This means there are also virtual private clouds, where a provider handles the infrastructure but the end user company has a dedicated resource it can manage.
One of the most convincing arguments for private cloud is privacy. Compared to public cloud systems, where you rent access to a service, you have complete control over every decision around security and privacy. Rather than signing to someone else's terms and conditions, your company (or the company acting on your behalf) builds a dedicated and virtualized cloud infrastructure that meets your exacting requirements.
Additionally, because your business is in charge of the architecture, customization is available. You can make the infrastructure look and run the way you want, which offers great benefits of control and development.
Scalability is another key area, because it is vital to have the capacity to meet changing demands and surges in traffic. Theoretically, there is no limit here. You can make the cloud as large and elastic (flexible) as you want.
In order to have a highly scalable private cloud, you do have to be prepared to spend money. Technically, the running costs of private clouds can be unpredictable, unless you are very sure of the technology and services you use, and the maximum capacity you will need.
The cost, associated with meeting fast-changing computing demands, can be high. Many companies seek to link private and public clouds to meet capacity requirements. Some go for cloud bursting, in which regular capacity is handled in the private cloud, but a public cloud is ready to take sudden or unexpected large surges in demand.
The Key Players
A plethora of technologies are available for running private clouds, and this can be confusing for businesses. Here are some of the largest and most widely offerings:
VMware vCloud, announced in 2008, is a popular choice of private cloud. It allows businesses to migrate work on demand from their VMware hypervisors to remote hypervisors. It pulls together the flexibility of cloud computing and a virtualized infrastructure.
Windows Azure, from Microsoft, is another popular cloud computing platform, released in 2010, offering platform and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for a range of different programming languages. While Microsoft claims its approach is significantly less expensive than VMware's, the latter says the breadth and depth of its offering creates a cheaper solution in the long run.
On the open source side is OpenStack, an IaaS cloud computing system, managed by the OpenStack Foundation since September. Many of the large technology vendors are involved including Intel, AMD, SUSE Linux, Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, VMWare and Yahoo.
CloudStack, another open source system, offers infrastructure cloud services. It is Java-based, running on the GNU/Linux and Windows platforms. Originally part-authored by Citrix, it was last year donated to the Apache Software Foundation.
Monitoring Your Private Cloud
A private cloud, no matter which technology it is based upon, is nothing without proper I.T. monitoring. In such a scenario, operations can easily spiral out of control and the IT team has little knowledge of how the technology is running or how to prevent major problems.
Monitoring is crucial to managing security and performance in the Cloud. By constantly analyzing your setup in detail, monitoring private clouds allow you to track and repair any vulnerabilities, protecting your valuable data and infrastructure.
Performance monitoring gives you a real understanding of how well applications hosted in a Private Cloud are functioning. You can see if there are conflicting operations running simultaneously, and get a sense of when you have periods of high activity - therefore whether and when you need to add more capacity.
Opsview is uniquely positioned to offer a truly unified and affordable view of your critical business systems, including those running in a private cloud. By giving unparalleled visibility into every layer of your IT infrastructure, wherever it’s located, Opsview allows your operations teams to plan and prioritize their response to events according to their impact on your business services.