"Private cloud" is a term heard a lot these days, but what does it actually mean?
Before trying to pin down this elusive beast, it's useful first to think about what's meant by cloud computing. Defining "cloud" is not easy, but a cloud computing solution will almost certainly offer:
- Elasticity and scalability. This encompasses the idea of computing on demand, and the ability to increase the supply of computing resources as they are needed to deal with spikes in demand for a particular application or service. There's also the idea of turning computing resources into a commodity so more can be added over time, as needed, to ensure systems are almost infinitely scalable.
- Pay as you go computing. This involves paying for the computing resources you use for the amount of time that you use them. In a private cloud, customers are generally be individual departments or business units.
- Service level agreements. In many ways what drives the cloud computing model is the need for set performance levels. Elasticity, scalability and the pay-as-you-go model all follow from the need for an economical way to get set desired service levels at all times, even when demand spikes unpredictably.
- Lower costs. A fundamental attraction of cloud computing is that it can provide an opportunity to reduce costs. Savings come from the use of computing resources based at one or more low-cost locations, which are managed efficiently using automation, and by realizing economies of scale stemming from the use of specialist staff members managing large quantities of computing resources.
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