Using Cloudbursts To Create Elastic Private Clouds

“Private cloud” is an oxymoron. And a private cloud may not possess the fundamental features of cloud computing.  The number of people who share this opinion is growing. See here and here.  However, there is a way to make a private cloud work by converting and exploiting parts of public clouds.

One of my complaints about private cloud is its inability to foresee future computing demand. Thus, you must over provision your resources (both facilities and IT) unnecessarily. There is a solution for this: split the demand into static and dynamic portions. If you have a good idea of your average demand, you can prepare your private cloud to accommodate it (static part). Then you arrange to transport extra demand to a public cloud beyond your private cloud’s capacity. This is called cloudburst.

As far as I know, the discussion stops here without any elaboration on cloudburst. I have two questions on how to do this:

  1. Do you use a public cloud as-is? What about security and SLA worries?
  2. Can you convert some part of a public cloud as if it were part of your private cloud?

As for #1, since most cloudburst discussions do not elaborate very much, it sounds as if the use of a public cloud is as-is. But when you think of why you want to use a private cloud, it is for security, SLA, and other reasons. Using a public cloud as-is for this purpose does not make much sense. So you need to consider #2. In general, a private cloud is considered to be hosted within your own data center (behind your firewall), while a public cloud is supposed to be outside your firewall.

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But what is the definition of a private cloud anyway? If a private cloud is a cloud that you can control completely in terms of security, SLA, and other needs, then it does not have to be within your own data center behind the company firewall. If you can convert parts of a public cloud (such as a rack, rows of racks, or the entire floor) into part of your private cloud (logically extended), you can take care of the extra loads beyond what the original private cloud can accommodate.

Of course, this is not trivial to do. But I think you have a set of technologies to make this happen because, in virtualized environments, IT loads (in terms of virtual machines) can be moved around easily. If security and network limitations (such as latency) are well taken care of, this is not impossible to achieve. Theoretically, you should be able to exploit multiple public clouds by making some part of public cloud dynamically part of your private cloud.

More research is required on this subject. By the way, this does not answer my question for green cloud computing providers. They cannot outsource IT loads to their competitor public clouds.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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