One of my twitting buddies, Jonathan Scott, re-twitted the link to the following article – CIO Strategies: The Private and Public Clouds Mashup. I found it quite interesting. Have a read and make your opinion. The topic of cloud is trending. Companies are trying to position themselves on the cloud map. The terminology proposed in this article confused me a bit, so I decided to put some thoughts and clarifications on top of that.
Cloud and Virtualization
Internet and virtualization are two fundamental technologies that made cloud possible. The ability to accumulate large computational resources, allocate them dynamically and use broadband to access them, created so called cloud paradigm. At the same time, large IT organizations started to use virtualization technologies to improve resource utilization. Hosting data centers and large IT are using practically very similar technologies to make resources available.
Dedicated, Private, Public
At the very fundamental level, a dedicated physical box (server) is what provides you with computational resources. You can share this box by virtualizing these resources. Multiple virtual environments can run on the same physical server box and serve the needs of a specific organization. In this case, this server becomes your “private cloud”. The same physical box can host multiple virtual environments and serve multiple organizations. In this case, it becomes a “public cloud”.
Security is a very popular topic when you discuss cloud options. However, if you think in terms of physical boxes and virtual environment you can clarify the security topic. The combination of firewalls, physical machines and virtual environments can potentially allow you to run identical “cloud” environment from a hosted data center (i.e. Rackspace) and from your corporate IT data center.
CAD/PLM and Cloud
Some of CAD/PLM providers are playing “cloud game” these days. Dassault and Autodesk are definite leaders in this game. PTC is engaging IBM to provide “cloud-y future” in a way of hosted Windchill. Siemens PLM is waiting to see where cloud will be going. Understanding of system architecture supported by CAD/PLM vendors together with dedicated, private and public cloud concepts can give a good idea what PLM companies mean when they talk about “cloud”. Soon you probably will be able to ensure better security conditions when placing your CAD files on the network located servers rather than on you company servers, local hard drives and USB-sticks.
What is my conclusion? I found private vs. public cloud terminology really confusing. In my view, cloud is a big virtualization game. Companies are using multiple technologies to provide the ability to pull resources in a different way. The higher level of virtualization can provide you flexibility in resource and cost. At the same time, you are losing the control of physical resources. The control of dedicated server is the border that differentiates between private and public cloud. You can run a firewall on the virtual environment regardless on where the physical server is actually located. Data centers and hosting providers are playing a game trying to confuse customers with different cloud terms. Just my thoughts…