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Virtualization is Not Private Cloud

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Virtualization is Not Private Cloud

By Steven Hunt, Sr. Product Manager and Strategist, SolarWinds

Even today and more often than I would expect, I hear people profess that private cloud is nothing more than just an efficiently virtualized data center. While virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing, there are several other elements that transform a traditional virtualized data center into a private cloud environment. Based upon the NIST definition, a private cloud must have five essential characteristics:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity
  5. Measured service

These elements are what make cloud environments the evolution beyond traditional virtualized data centers. Without them, an organization will not reach the true efficiency that can be afforded by the implementation of a private cloud environment. Let's explore each of these elements in detail.

On-demand Self-service

One of the key characteristics of a private cloud environment is the ability for end users to request, provision and access a virtual instance without any manual intervention on the back end systems. This typically requires the implementation of a web service that end users can access, along with an orchestration solution to automatically take action throughout the life cycle of the requested resource.

Broad Network Access

The ability to access the resources over the network, through a standard, client-based mechanism (web browser, remote access client, etc.) is a must. This ensures the feasibility of broad adoption and usage across all organizations that should have access to the private cloud environment. Like the self-service capability, broad access is an end user-focused characteristic that increases efficiency in resource consumption.

Resource Pooling

Pooling of resources is a feature that originally evolved out of traditional virtualization solutions. Vendors, such as VMware, have included this capability in traditional virtualized solutions for quite some time. It is an important element and allows the combination and allocation of compute, storage and network resources for dynamic consumption. This dynamic consumption is, of course, at the core of cloud computing.

Rapid Elasticity

With the pooling of resources, and the ability of end users to dynamically request and access those resources, a cloud environment must have the ability to expand and contract the utilization of the available resources. This mechanism typically requires a data and event driven orchestration system that takes into account the usage of the environment.

Measured Service

Last but not least, the consumption and utilization of resources must be monitored and metered. This not only allows for the elastic control, as mentioned above, to function efficiently, but also for providers and consumers to have a level of visibility into the state of the environment. From a consumer, or end user, viewpoint, it is important to have insight into the availability and status of cloud resources to ensure their capability of dynamic usage.


Without the existence of these key elements, a traditional virtualized environment is not, by definition, a private cloud environment. But, once the adoption of each component is in place, the benefits of efficiency and productivity become very apparent. At that point, you will have achieved bringing cloud computing to your data center and organization.


About the Author

Steven has been involved in the IT industry for more than 10 years, focusing on server-based computing, desktop virtualization, end user computing and server virtualization solutions for SMB to enterprise environments. Currently, he is responsible for product strategy for server and application monitoring and virtualization management at SolarWinds.

Published Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:36 AM by David Marshall
The Key Differences Between Cloud Computing and Virtualization : @VMblog - (Author's Link) - July 29, 2019 8:20 AM
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