Digital transformation centers around a hybrid public and private cloud strategy. To make that work, IT organizations must implement proper private cloud infrastructure. As I wrote earlier this week in Public Cloud Giants Turn Their Attention To Private Clouds, the cloud giants are using their rapidly growing revenue to fund private cloud development. How do private cloud offerings by Alibaba, Amazon, Baidu, Google, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Tencent compare?
- Google GOOGL +1.14% and IBM private clouds are based on containers. Containers are forward-looking and have the best multi-cloud support. But they require customers to refactor (redesign and rewrite) legacy applications.
- Huawei and Tencent leverage OpenStack. OpenStack provides a bridge to scale applications in virtual machines (VMs) to generic public cloud VMs. OpenStack is being upgraded to work well with containers, which will preserve investments in operating and running applications on OpenStack.
- Alibaba BABA -0.17%, Baidu BIDU -0.1% and Microsoft MSFT +1.23% each opted to carve out part of its proprietary public cloud as a private cloud deployment. These are elegant—but proprietary single-vendor—private cloud solutions.
- AWS and Oracle solutions are based on VMware VMW +0.75% VMs. To stay competitive, both will need to upgrade to proper self-service, containerized private cloud architecture.
What is Private Cloud?
The US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) published its often-overlooked definition of private cloud in 2011 here. NIST’s definition is still relevant today and is the foundation for our definition. Private cloud infrastructure must provide these essential characteristics of cloud infrastructure:
- Provide a secure single-tenant solution. Private cloud must be private to the organization paying for it.
- Enable IT customer self-service. This is the central tenant of cloud service provisioning.
- Transparently scale application resources using pools of both private and public cloud resources. The same application image must run in both private and public infrastructure. If it can’t, then it may be private, but it isn’t cloud. Bonus points if applications can scale from private cloud to multiple public clouds (multi-cloud).