Overview of Private Cloud Architecture

Microsoft Office 360, Cloud Services, Cloud Backup, etc.

In order to understand private cloud and how it differs from other delivery mechanisms for delivering cloud services, it’s helpful to understand what constitutes a “cloud” and how cloud differs from traditional LAN based data centers. The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has put together a number of cloud architects, designers, implementers and service providers agree upon. The NIST definition of cloud computing, which applies to both public cloud and provide cloud environments, requires that a cloud solution enable or provide the following:

  • On-demand self-service – The consumer of the cloud service should be able to obtain cloud services (such as compute, memory, network and storage resources) using a self-service mechanism (such as a web portal) so that acquiring the service does not require human intervention by the Cloud Service Provider (CSP)
  • Broad network access – The cloud solution should be accessible from almost anywhere (when required) and also be accessible from multiple form factors, such as smart phones, tablet PCs, laptops, desktops, and any other form factor existing currently or in the future.
  • Resource pooling – The cloud solution should host a pool of shared resources that are provided to consumers of the cloud service. Resources such as compute, memory, network and disk (storage) are allocated to consumers of the service from a shared pool. Resources are abstracted from their actual location, and consumers are unaware of the location of these resources.
  • Rapid elasticity – The cloud solution should provide for rapidly provisioning and release of resources as demand for the cloud service increases and decreases. This should be done automatically and without the need of human intervention. In addition, the consumer of the cloud service should have the perception that there is an unlimited resource pool so that the service is able to meet services demands for virtually any use case scenario.
  • Metered services – Sometimes referred to as the “pay-as-you-go” model, the cloud solution must make it possible to charge the consumer of the cloud service an amount based on actual use of cloud resources. Resource usage is monitored, reported, and controlled by the CSP and by service policy, which delivers billing transparency to both the CSP and the consumer of the service.

When you consider the requirements set forth by NIST, you can now realize that cloud computing is much more than server virtualization, server consolidation or “online services” and that the key factors of self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and metered services all work together to present a new paradigm for service delivery. When these principles are realized in the data center, they transform the traditional data center into a private cloud.

This document is part of a collection of documents that comprise the Reference Architecture for Private Cloud document set. The Reference Architecture for Private Cloud documentation is a community collaboration project. Please feel free to edit this document to improve its quality. If you would like to be recognized for your work on improving this article, please include your name and any contact information you wish to share at the bottom of this page.