Cloud computing has at times been described as a vague term, leaving much to the imagination. When someone speaks of putting something in the “cloud”, it could mean almost any type of Internet-based hosting. Rather than a single distinct definition, cloud computing often refers to a set of circumstances that converge, such as a subscription-based payment model, remotely hosted files, applications, or platforms, and managed services offered by the cloud service provider.
For the private cloud, it may become even more difficult to pinpoint a firm definition. What do you actually need to have a private cloud? Do you just need a server and an Internet connection? The following may provide some answers:
1. Data center in a box – If there is any one feature that defines the cloud, it is ease of use. Cloud users expect to be able to use their services without any prior setup or tinkering. Many companies now offer modular data center units that are ready to deploy and use without any setup. This may be the easiest way to get a private cloud going in your backyard.
2. Managed services – Just because you keep your servers at home does not mean you need to manage them yourself. Some private cloud deals include managed services, allowing the provider to remotely manage your servers, even though they are located on your premises.
3. Subscription model – The other big draw of cloud computing is the price. You want to pay as you go rather than making large capital expenditures. Some cloud providers will offer you everything you need to setup a private cloud and then charge you based on a similar subscription model.
The private cloud is neither limited to the above nor required to have any of the above. You could have a private cloud simply by starting a server and installing some open source cloud stack software. The choice is ultimately yours and yours alone. That is the essential point behind the word “private” in private cloud.