To a large extent the term ‘Private Cloud’ is poorly defined and serves vendor marketing more than users of the technology. However the accepted term is that a private cloud sites behind the corporate firewall, hence alleviating concerns over user and data security. In reality several suppliers offer hosted private clouds – which are sometimes called hybrid clouds! Here is a list of some of the more prominent platforms.
Apache CloudStack supports a wide range of hypervisors including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and KVM. It comes with everything apart from the hypervisor and provides a good management interface, usage metering and image deployment. Storage tiering and Active Directory are also included. CloudStack is seen as a one-top-shop (apart from the hypervisor), and provides a low cost infrastructure for private cloud deployments.
CloudBees offers cloud based private and hybrid clouds and on-premise premise private clouds. They use Jenkins open-source integration server which manages and controls development lifecycle processes of all kinds, including build, document, test, package, stage, deployment, static analysis and many more. CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise brings enterprise robustness to Jenkins. CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise is a suite of enterprise-level plugins that secures and optimizes Jenkins, eliminates downtime and helps manage Jenkins more effectively.
Microsoft has come to the private cloud party late, as it nearly always does. The upside is that there is more experience and lessons have been learned. The private cloud offering is part of System Center 2012 R2. This incorporates Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager and Endpoint protection. Focus is on the application lifecycle with a good deal of automation and monitoring. The ability to create self-service portals based on IIS aids the installation process, and exploiting the .NET framework supports extensions and troubleshooting. Microsoft System Center supports and manages Windows 2012 Hyper-V hosts and third party hypervisors from Citrix and VMware, although notably KVM is not yet included. Security can be based on Active Directory without single sign-on, although this is obviously less secure. Lack of support for third party network providers, including Cisco, may be a problem for some customers.
OpenStack is a popular open source platforms and manages compute, storage and networking. It does not have its own hypervisor, but can be used with VMware’s ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-v and Citrix Xen, although the most popular options is open source KVM. Because it is open source many platforms are supported and a strong community of developers means there is plenty of free support, although paid support can also be had.
Platform 9 uses the OpenStack platform to provide private clouds that are hosted in an external cloud. Data still resides within the organisation and only the management is external to the business. It supports KNM (open source) hypervisor, although VMware ESXi is imminent. The big advantage is that Platform 9 handles all patches and upgrades, and administrative overhead is minimised through a simple user portal, image management and infrastructure discovery capabilities. Pricing is based on a monthly service fee.
Rackspace private cloud supports VMware, Microsoft Cloud Platform and OpenStack (which was the first offering). The VMware offering is a single tennent private cloud and comes with VMware’s cloud management platform, and control through vCloud web portal and vCloud API compatible orchestration tools. The Microsoft platform uses Hyper-V and System Center 2012 R2. It can support thousands of nodes per Windows Azure Portal. The OpenStack implementation comes with a rigorous SLA with a 99.99% guaranteed uptime. Rackspace looks after infrastructure and management of the private cloud deployment. Hybrid cloud alternatives are also offered.
VMware technology is a well tested platform for private cloud deployments. It supports some truly demanding workloads and customers can configure the technology to their needs. vCloud Suite comes in three offerings – Standard, Advanced and Enterprise, according to need. It features enterprise security at the hypervisor and network layers and integration with Active Directory single sign on. It supports alternative hypervisors, including KVM and Hyper-V, although the preferred hypervisor is ESXi. The licensing applies to the whole package, depending on which one is chosen. The Advanced Edition adds vRealize Business for vSphere, and the Enterprise Edition includes vCenter Site Recovery Manager in addition to the vRealize Business Suite. vCloud can integrate with VMware’s network offering NSX at extra cost.