Private Cloud Storage: Bringing True Cloud Storage In-House
Private clouds allow organizations to bring the benefits of cloud computing in house. A private cloud can transform IT operations, providing capabilities like elasticity, multi-tenancy and self-service provisioning.
The private cloud should do the same for storage—but in reality, private cloud storage is often provisioned using aging storage infrastructure. Traditional storage equipment cannot really achieve cloud scale and match the elasticity and flexibility expected from cloud infrastructure.
In this article you will learn:
- Definition of private cloud and private cloud storage
- Essential capabilities of private cloud storage
- Benefits and challenges of private cloud storage
- True cloud storage on-premises with next-gen distributed storage
What is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is cloud computing infrastructure that is used by one organization, typically by multiple units within the organization, called consumers. The essential aspect of a private cloud is that it is completely isolated from other organizations.
Contrary to common thinking, private clouds are not only deployed on-premises. A private cloud can be owned by one organization and managed by another organization (a service provider) in a different physical location.
According to the National Institute for Standards and Technology, in order to be considered a private cloud, a computing system must:
- Provide on-demand self service to computing resources
- Make resources accessible from any type of device
- Pool resources with multi-tenant resource allocation
- Enable elasticity, with the ability to auto-scale resources up and down
- Rating and metering, with resources billed to consumers or allocated according to quotas
What is Private Cloud Storage?
Private cloud storage is a service model for provisioning storage to users in an organization. Just like a private cloud offers compute resources on-demand (for example, Linux machines), it can also offer storage on-demand, with the same private cloud capabilities: on-demand access, resource pooling, elasticity and metering.
Organizations usually invest in private cloud storage to satisfy compliance or security requirements. Another use case is on-premises applications that require high-latency or high-throughput access to data, making it necessary to place the storage physically near to the storage consumer.
Private Cloud Storage Capabilities
Ideally, private cloud storage should be offered as a service. Like other private cloud resources, it should support:
- Elasticity—users should be able to access storage on-demand and use a self-service system to increase or decrease their storage capacity. Storage should be offered as a service abstracted from the underlying storage systems.
- Multi-tenancy—private cloud storage should be able to support multiple consumers, which may be different departments or business units, with isolation that prevents each consumer from seeing data belonging to others. Each consumer should have guaranteed performance irrespective of load.
- Reporting and billing—the private cloud should be able to report storage consumption by different consumers, and in many cases will also bill the relevant department or business unit for their usage, or at least calculate their share of storage expenses.
While public cloud storage services like Amazon S3 offer unlimited scalability, private cloud storage is inherently limited to the storage equipment maintained internally by the organization. Storage may be operated using traditional equipment like hard disks, SAN or NAS, which may limit the organization’s ability to perform resources pooling and multi-tenancy.
Cloudian Hyperstore is an example of a storage appliance that provides full cloud computing capabilities, by clustering storage nodes and enabling true resource pooling with Software Defined Storage. Hyperstore enables multi-tenancy for multiple consumers within the organization, and allows the organization to scale up storage effortlessly by plugging in additional storage nodes.
Benefits and Challenges of Private Cloud Storage
Private cloud storage needs special justification, because it involves heavy capital expenses and complex maintenance, while equivalent services are available on the public cloud with pay-per-use pricing.
Benefits of private cloud storage
- Ongoing operating costs—for large storage volumes, on-premise storage will almost always be more cost efficient than public cloud storage.
- Customization—in the public cloud, organizations can only consume specific storage services, with inflexible limitations and configuration options. In the private cloud, organizations have complete freedom to select their storage technology and configure it to their specific requirements.
- High performance—in the public cloud, storage equipment is shared by large numbers of users. Storage services may not guarantee performance, or may charge extra for performance or throughput. Typically, dedicated hardware deployed on-premise will perform much better than their cloud-based equivalents.
- Low latency—for on-premises applications, local storage will provide much lower latency than storage deployed in a remote cloud data center.
- Security—arguably, the private cloud provides better security because it is strongly isolated from other organizations. At the same time, public clouds provide extensive security features that may not be available in a private cloud.
Challenges of private cloud storage
- Capital expenses and operating costs—creating a private cloud storage system requires large upfront expenditure, and requires IT resources to maintain over time. Even when renting a private cloud from a service provider, costs will be higher because resources are dedicated to the organization and not shared by others.
- Complexity—IT teams need specialized expertise to deploy and operate private cloud storage.
- Hard to scale—scaling up private cloud storage requires purchasing and deploying additional storage, and is hard to do on-demand.
Achieving True Cloud Storage On-Premises with Next-Gen Distributed Storage
Cloudian HyperStore can help alleviate the complexity and scalability issues of traditional storage equipment in a private cloud scenario.
HyperStore is a low-cost, cloud-scale storage solution you can deploy on-premises to gain all the capabilities of cloud storage services like Amazon S3. It provides a multi-tenant architecture that lets you set up a storage cluster and share it among multiple applications and business units. You can manage Quality of Service and set usage quotas, backups, and security policies separately for each tenant. HyperStore even offers built-in metering and billing capabilities.
Learn how to lower your storage total cost of ownership with our TCO calculator