Community Cloud: Closing the Gap between Public and Private

Community Cloud: Closing the Gap between Public and Private

Karolina Marzantowicz (IBM, Poland) and Łukasz Paciorkowski (IBM, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0759-8.ch003
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Should you turn to a public or private cloud solution? Discussions prizing the first or the second option are endless. Public cloud means flexibility, unlimited scalability, frictionless consumption and less worry for your CIO. On the other hand, private cloud gives you full control over the environment and keeps your data close to you, preferably under your nose—or at least within the borders of your country. Public cloud is relatively cheap, while a private cloud might get pricey. But what if neither of those two options fit your needs? You may not trust public cloud providers, but at the same time you are searching for the way to cut through complexity of the private cloud. The answer to your needs might be a community cloud.
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Background: Why Cloud Discussion Is Important

Cloud dominates IT related discussions. The promise of lower operational costs, flexibility and the access to the innovative capabilities attracts more and more organizations. There is a good reason for it. IT, once a competitive advantage for the firms, is gradually becoming a commodity. Challenging market situation forces organizations of all sizes to search for the cost reduction opportunities. At the same time rapid digitization requires more storage, computation power and new advanced software solutions. Virtually all major IT vendors are shifting their strategy towards cloud technologies. But they are not the only ones. Smaller but much more dynamic challengers are entering global IT market every day. Competition in the cloud market is taking part on multiple levels. Price wars are won be the biggest players – the economy of scale works on their advantage. Smaller players can compete by using new, innovative solutions, platforms and tools. All of the cloud providers are trying to establish their position on the market.

This global trend of cloudification is not purely technology driven hype. Organizations around the world are searching for new business models based on the digitized offerings. Innovation cycles were drastically shortened during last decade. New versions of products and services are deployed every week. For the traditional IT addressing the business demand on time became increasingly difficult. Standard procedure-driven and mostly manual work of IT specialists is not enough for the new generation, internet-based businesses. Many of them turn towards cloud as enabler for growth and innovation.

More traditional organizations and institutions like banks and governments are lagging behind in the cloud adoption journey. The reason for this is that a lot of inhibitors exist for them. Companies from highly regulated industries require specific approach, which often cannot be accommodated by public cloud providers. As the cloud platforms work due to high level of standardization any major deviation from those standards does not make economic sense. As a result organizations like banks or governments are often left alone with the options of a standard outsourcing or private, on-premises cloud.

In this chapter we will look at the specific scenario for the cloud platform – a Community Cloud – which is closing the gap between public/private and on/off-premises scenarios. Before we will discuss the specifics, lets first have a quick look at the cloud ecosystem, its players and different models existing today on the market.

Figure 1.

Public cloud


Public, Private, And The Missing Part

Although cloud does not have one, precise definition, some common characteristics are used to describe it. Most common ones are division between Private and Public one and on-premises versus off-premises.

Private cloud model assumes that the resources used by this platform (compute, network, storage, virtual machines, middleware, application) are dedicated exclusively for one customer or organization. Public (or multitenant) cloud assumes that resources are shared among different customers and organizations. On-premises cloud is the model in which resources are placed within the customer organization (e.g. in the organization owned data center). In off-premises model resources are delivered by the external cloud service provider using provider’s data centers. There many other characteristics which help do describe cloud models but in our discussion we will focus on those 4, described above.

Figure 2 summarizes the general cloud characteristics and the relationship between them.

Figure 2.

General cloud characteristics


Another disputable topic is the border between traditional IT and the cloud. Is virtualization of resources in your datacenter enough to call it a private cloud? Are simple hosting services enough to call it off-premises cloud? No straightforward answer to such questions exists. Nevertheless it is safe to assume that when talking about cloud 3 main characteristics are important:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cloud Service Provider: A company that offers component of cloud computing –to other businesses or individuals. Amazon was the first major cloud provider, with the 2006 offering of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Other cloud providers include Apple, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Google, Microsoft, and

XaaS: The collection of things available “as-a-service” is referred to as XaaS which refer to “anything as a service” or “everything as a service”.

SaaS: Software as a Service is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider. They are made available to customers over a network (the Internet). SaaS lets companies use software tools without having to install, operate and maintain them on premises, freeing customers to concentrate on creating business functions and value. Organizations can potentially start using software more quickly than waiting for the installation of on premises software. The SaaS approach enables them to expand their systems as usage grows without having to make any capital-equipment purchases. SaaS can be a good choice when there’s little or no budget money available for buying software and related hardware. Overall SaaS costs will depend on the amount of usage tools get. SaaS can stand for at least three different “as-a-service” offerings. The original use of the acronym was to refer to Software as a Service (described above). The term has since been used in reference to Storage as a Service and Security as a Service.

Service Provider: Definition based on the Business Dictionary ( ) is 1. General: Organization, business or individual which offers service to others in exchange for payment; 2. Internet: A company that provides customers with an internet connection.

IaaS: The definition of Infrastructure as a Service is simple. You rent infrastructure—servers, storage and networking provided over cloud — on demand, in a pay-as-you-go model. National Institute of Standards and Technology ( NIST, 2011 ) defines IaaS as “The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).”

Workload: In computing, the workload is the amount of processing that the computer has been given to do at a specific time. As cloud computing evolves, so does its capabilities, which means not all workloads are currently appropriate for a cloud-based model. To deploy a workload multiple components need to be wired together: application code, middleware, management agents, preexisting services, virtual machines, data, disks, and networks. Workload availability and performance depends on the correctness of the wiring and on how the components are provisioned and maintained by the cloud management system.

PaaS: Platform as a Service is a platform for delivering operating systems and associated services over the Internet without downloads or installation. Platform as a Service brings the benefits over to the software development world. PaaS can be defined as a computing platform that allows the creation of applications quickly and easily and without the complexity of buying and maintaining the software and infrastructure underneath it. There are a number of different characteristics on what constitutes PaaS but some basic points include ( AU21: The URL has been redirected to Please verify the URL. ): Services to develop, test, deploy, host and maintain applications in the same integrated development environment. All the varying services needed to fulfil the application development process: (1) Web based user interface creation tools help to create, modify, test and deploy different UI scenarios; (2) Multi-tenant architecture where multiple concurrent users utilize the same development application; (3) Built in scalability of deployed software including load balancing and failover; Integration with web services and databases via common standards; (4) Support for development team collaboration – some PaaS solutions include project planning and communication tools; (5) Tools to handle billing and subscription management.

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