Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Victoria Livschitz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Open Source, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Apache

Cloud Expo: Article

Virtual Private Cloud Computing vs. Public Cloud Computing

Which one makes the most sense depends on your requirements

Cloud computing has found its way into many organizations as business leaders and IT departments look to capitalize on the many benefits that cloud offers. As your company considers moving all or part of its IT operation to the cloud, a key decision is whether to rely on public cloud, virtual private cloud, or a combination. Finalizing a cloud strategy must start with understanding your objectives and how they best align with the value each offering can provide.

The public cloud can be characterized by IT resources delivered via the Internet using a standardized, self-service, pay-per-use methodology. Public clouds are designed to provide compute resources virtually at will - similar to that of a utility. Public clouds are highly standardized, allow limited customization, and their respective resources can be oversubscribed and massively shared. Workloads requiring inexpensive storage or compute cycles where known response time to the user community is not critical can be a fit with the public cloud.

Virtual private clouds offer scalable compute resources similar to that of public clouds, but in a more controlled environment. Virtual private cloud providers, especially those with managed services around hosted applications, bring insight into the workload and impacts to the infrastructure. Virtual private cloud providers have the flexibility to customize solutions to meet security and performance requirements. They can also identify where customer data is stored, as in a specific data center or country. The setup allows for more customization and delivers a higher-degree of privacy and security.

As you determine which methodology makes the most sense for your business, here are the three major assessment areas to consider and help guide you in your decision.

Availability Comparison
When it comes to accessing more computing resources, both virtual private and public clouds are designed to provide highly elastic compute power and data storage. When you need more resources, you can request and receive them almost immediately. However, there is a tradeoff since public cloud customers are competing for the same pool of resources. This can impact the cloud experience with unexpected bursts in demand or seasonal type activity. Virtual private cloud providers are able to introduce a level of segmentation to protect workload for a predictable user experience, but still provide the resiliency and flexibility the cloud provides for availability.

Like the public cloud, virtual private cloud services rely on virtualized computing resources to provide elasticity and scale. However, each customer is given its own private pool of resources rather than sharing them. Resources can be expanded, but it is done in a more controlled manner.

Virtual private clouds can offer a degree of elasticity, but also a higher degree of stability than public clouds. This is why virtual private clouds are more attractive for production environments, where the ability to scale is important, but uptime is just as critical.

Another key component to availability is access to the compute resources in the cloud. Traditionally access to the public cloud is done via the Internet. Virtual private cloud providers can be more accommodating for those customers that want to leverage the private line wide area networks currently deployed. With the potential to leverage the Internet as an alternate path to the environment with a dynamic reroute across a hardware-based VPN solution should any carrier issues arise.

Security Comparison
Like any utility, public clouds are easily accessible by the masses. Security controls are in place, but with limits as to how much they can control risk. Public clouds thus can be attractive targets for hackers who enjoy the challenge of breaking into public clouds, which they can then use anonymously to attack other sites.

Virtual private clouds offer more security since computing resources are more logically separated. Where virtual private cloud providers are hosting known applications, tighter security at the network layer can be deployed to further reduce the risk of unnecessary traffic. Security zones and firewall rule sets can be deployed to address multi-tenancy concerns of cloud offerings.

As stated above on availability, there is also a higher degree of security with access to the cloud resources and connectivity. Companies accessing the virtual private cloud via virtual private networks or dedicated circuit can beneficial for firms in highly regulated arenas where enterprise data needs to be protected carefully to demonstrate financial and operational stability to regulators and investors.

Control Comparison
By design, public clouds give users direct control over the volume of computing resources provisioned: you simply provision what you need when you need it. But, you cannot control what other customers in the resource pool access, which may affect your environment and minimize performance predictability.

Public clouds also make modifications to the underlying infrastructure more challenging. For example, if a technical change is needed, such as a software patch or hardware swap, that change impacts everyone because customers are not isolated from each other. Also there is no coordination with the application MTRs running on top of the infrastructure and how the updates may impact functionality. In addition, customers must diligently control the level of computing resources they contract for, monitoring the resources they need and use, and then requesting resources to be turned off when no longer needed; providing less control over computing costs.

Conversely, a virtual private cloud gives you more control over the performance of the technology environment. Customers can work jointly with virtual private cloud providers to adhere to change control policies that may already be established. Resource allocation and load balancing can be finely tuned based on each customer's environment, usage patterns, and resource consumption.

The environment is also more resilient as more sophisticated redundancy and failover capabilities can be incorporated. Virtual private clouds can also more easily provide degrees of data backup for various data retention policies. Customized solutions for disaster recovery customers based on recovery point and recovery time objectives can all be taken into the design criteria for a solution.

Utility and Consistency Requirements Dictate the Ultimate Choice
If your business requires basic computing resources where uptime and system control are not mission-critical, public clouds can serve as an inexpensive method for rapid provisioning of IT infrastructure. As is the case with most utility companies, public cloud providers offer a serviceable, raw platform at a low cost.

But if you want scalability benefits with more control, virtual private cloud services are much more likely to meet your requirements. Virtual private clouds essentially provide a more consistent experience because providers are more in tune with how their customers use the infrastructure and can plan accordingly. This allows for application performance SLAs where customers can shift their focus away from managing the infrastructure and concentrate on their business. Customers receive the benefits of scale and can leverage the cost savings that cloud provides without all the management issues.

More Stories By Kjel Hanson

Kjel Hanson is Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services at Velocity Technology Solutions, where for the last 14 years he has focused on the delivery of hosting JD Edwards and Infrastructure Managed Services. He has participated in over 75 customer ERP migrations to hosting. Areas of responsibility have included the design and operational delivery of all data center and cloud technologies including network, server platforms, virtualization, and storage.

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.


@CloudExpo Stories
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...