Easing the Burden of Building the Private Cloud

    The public cloud is drawing the bulk of enterprise workloads these days, but in terms of application importance, the private cloud is likely to support the heart of data operations for some time to come.

    The challenge most organizations face, however, is establishing private clouds quickly and with as little disruption to ongoing processes as possible. And in most cases this means deploying new, purpose-built infrastructure on modular, hyperconverged architectures while fostering application portability using advanced container solutions.

    For many, this will also lead to open cloud solutions like OpenStack for their on-premises infrastructure. The 451 Group says OpenStack revenues on private clouds will exceed those on public services by 2021, generating more than $6 billion in revenues and representing a 30 percent compound annual gain between now and then. Much of this growth will be driven by China and the APAC region, with even China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology now advocating OpenStack as a private cloud solution. The firm also expects OpenStack to take on more mission-critical roles as deployment models become more commoditized.

    For leading IT platform providers, private clouds represent a way to transition from today’s silo-laden infrastructure to the more nimble architectures driving next-generation mobile and IoT applications. IBM recently unveiled the IBM Cloud Private portfolio that leverages container management solutions like Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry to link legacy applications to both public and private resources. In this way, enterprises should gain an easy on-ramp to advanced microservice-based applications by incorporating new middleware capabilities and advanced API management tools. (Disclosure: I provide content services to IBM.)

    IBM’s move comes on the heels of a number of container-driven private cloud initiatives from other top vendors and platform providers. Microsoft, for instance, recently launched a “nested virtualization” service atop its Dv3 and Ev3 virtual machine offerings. According to TechGenix’ Angela Karl, the intent is to support VMs within VMs in a way that allows smaller organizations to support private cloud-like ecosystems without actually having to build Hyper-V clusters on-premises. Instead, you create a guest hypervisor within a bare-metal Hyper-V host, and then nest a third hypervisor within the guest. This “multimachine” environment is useful for test and training applications and can provide a high degree of isolation across hybrid cloud infrastructure.

    Meanwhile, Cisco has augmented its private cloud solution, a combination of the software-defined Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the hyperconverged HyperFlex platform, by partnering up with Google to support container-based application portability on multiple clouds. Using open source platforms like Kubernetes and Istio, the pair aims to streamline the process of modernizing legacy applications to support new consumption and portability models that extend from initial development to retirement. In this way, the enterprise gains a write-once application environment that pushes a cohesive operating ecosystem across distributed resources.

    Clearly, few organizations are looking at the private cloud as a standalone data environment. With a cloud-based local infrastructure, however, organizations can optimize their resource utilization while driving the kind of flexibility needed to support critical, revenue-generating applications as the world economy becomes increasingly steeped in mobile, digitally driven activity.

    Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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