@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Rostyslav Demush, Jamie Madison, Jason Bloomberg, Greg Pierce

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Release Management

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Public, Private, Hybrid, and Other Clouds

A guide for regular people written by a tech nerd

When I sat down to write this post, I did some prep reading to see what the bloggers I follow were saying on the topic. But by the third post, I was reminded that we (the tech nerds) are not generally helpful. Tech nerds talk and write in our own language. We write to look smarter than the next guy. We invent words to describe what we’re doing, and if these words catch on in the mainstream, we just invent another one to further confuse the issue.

It’s at this point that the big box manufacturers and software companies adopt the word and modify it for their own nefarious intentions — further confusing an unsuspecting public. At the end of the day, everyone is confused. I guess that’s why I’ve been asked to write this post a few different times. So here it is: a guide to cloud computing written by a tech nerd for normal people.

If you’re reading this blog, you likely have some understanding of what the cloud is. If you need some help there, I highly recommend Wikipedia. Its the best place to go to get a generally unbiased, or at the very least reasonably balanced, description of most tech terms.

When “cloud” came to mean something other than moisture, the vendors who live in the cloud quickly realized that different vendors approached the cloud in different ways, and as a result, began to add additional descriptions to their cloud. Two terms quickly emerged: public cloud and private cloud.

Public cloud, as it has come to be used, refers to the model that most people associate with the cloud. Multi-tenant solutions (infrastructure, services, or software) living in a provider’s data center, leveraging highly available, redundant platforms to deliver services to end-users over the Internet.

Public cloud users benefit not only from having someone else manage the solution, but from the fact that security around these solutions is uncomplicated, and often software- (or virtualization layer) based. This lack of complication makes setup and scale up easy, even elastic. Pop in your credit card information and get instant access to resources. This is the Amazon, Google, Rackspace, and Salesforce.com model.

The first people to take exception to this emerging cloud story were the people who had already been doing this in one form or another for some time — web hosting companies and IT teams running internal data centers. Web hosting companies, after all, had been offering dedicated servers for customer use in their data centers for decades.

They quickly rushed to get in on the action and called their business the private cloud. They claim that this more traditional model can provide redundant architecture (assuming the business is willing to buy the same equipment several times) without the risk. It can be privately secured with hardware firewall services, segmented from other customers at layer 2/3 instead of by software, and can be connected to customer locations privately via VPN or private WAN.

Unfortunately, this type of cloud suffers from a scalability perspective and is more complicated to manage. While the provider might be able to add servers in a few days or even a few hours, there is no way that the solution can be considered highly scalable, let alone elastic.

Each cloud type has its place. Public clouds make sense for web applications, test and development environments, and research, where large amounts of instantly available computing can shorten the time to calculate complex algorithms to minutes. But if you look under the covers, (deep in the fine print), not even Amazon recommends that you use their purely public cloud offering for sensitive data.

Private clouds are safe, stayed, and will generally pass muster for any compliance auditor inspecting the infrastructure. And frankly, there are some types of software that do better in dedicated environments, such as database servers. As a result, some of the largest database manufacturers in the world (i.e., Oracle) still recommend against virtualizing their product.

Enter the hybrid cloud, the alleged answer to the above quandary. This one’s easy. If some content makes sense in the public cloud, and some in the private cloud, why not use both? Hybrid cloud refers to the mixing of the two in any combination that makes sense — public cloud and onsite data centers, public cloud and dedicated hosting, etc.

Some cloud providers offer both to make it easy on their customers. The problem with the hybrid cloud is that it adds a significant amount of complexity to the infrastructure. The public and private services live in different network segments, with different levels of security, and potentially at differently locations.

Consider a web front-end in the public cloud accessing a back-end database containing sensitive information in a private cloud. Networking, security, authentication — it all must be addressed in the middle of the application. Better than one cloud? Potentially. More complicated? Absolutely. Most providers would have you believe that the story ends there.

The term virtual private cloud was coined, from what I can tell, way back in 2008 by Reuven Cohen on his blog. Since then, the term has been recognized on Wikipedia, and has even found its way into comparisons with the public, private, and hybrid clouds.

A virtual private cloud generally uses a multi-tenant, high availability infrastructure (like public cloud) but segments the customers into Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), or even better, into Virtual LAN  (VLANs) through the use of virtual switching. As a result, it provides all of the fail-over and scalability that the public cloud offers, but with the customer isolation and security that business applications need.

This isolation enables the provider to add private hardware-based security services and private connectivity between the cloud and the customer’s local network. Given ever-decreasing bandwidth costs, the virtual private cloud could truly be used to outsource a company’s back-office servers.

So why isn’t everyone talking virtual private cloud? The simple answer — it’s hard to do. Private networking and security takes time. It’s tough to automate, it’s expensive, and it doesn’t scale operationally. But it does meet the demands of regular every-day businesses who want to utilize the cloud, but don’t have the energy to deal with the risks.

With many of my peers, and friends, this will be an unpopular post. I get it. The public cloud purists will say that virtual private is unnecessary — that public cloud security is better than anything that most customers do on their own. And they’ll be right. But whether this level of isolation is actually required or not for most applications is almost inconsequential.

We live in a litigious and regulatory-heavy economy. Most small and midsized businesses cannot risk their critical data to a service that takes no responsibility for its safety. And no auditor or lawyer is going to find them culpable if they’ve taken reasonable business steps to ensure their data.

Private cloud boosters will argue that it’s still a mufti-tenant environment. And to that point, they’d be correct. But if the networking and security is done right, why does it matter? After all, these purely private clouds often make use of MPLS to connect back to their locations and what’s happening at the carrier’s core to separate their traffic from the next customer is no different than VLAN isolation within a cloud.

The debate will rage. And the blood (and egos) of many a tech nerd will be spilled. And no answer will rise to the top. This is not a binary decision. Businesses who must balance real world risk with productivity will find a home right in the middle. Come join me in the virtual private cloud.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Scott Kinka

Scott Kinka is Chief Technology Officer for Evolve IP. He has spent almost his entire career devising new and simpler ways for companies to acquire and integrate technology. While all of the tech talk these days is about the cloud, he was doing this when it was called ASP (application service provider) or on-demand. Before Scott joined Evolve IP as Chief Technology Officer, he served as Vice President of Network Services for Broadview Networks and ATX Communications. He has been involved in application development, hosting, messaging, networking, unified communications, contact centers, and security. His mission (and specialty) is acting as a translator between technology and business needs.

@CloudExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...