The Cloud Computing movement is a melting pot of distributed technologies and paradigms that produce new terms at an incredible fast pace. So it is usually difficult for newcomers to figure out how to take advantage of these new technologies or if they fit in their current IT infrastructure at all.
So, let us try to classify the current infrastructure provisioning trends (the IaaS brand of Cloud Computing) using two simple parameters: where do you obtain the resources for your applications (locally or remotely), and how are those resources obtained (physical or virtualized):
- Own site (Local – Physical): This is the classical provisioning scheme that we’ve been using for years, one service one machine; not much to say here.
- Grid (Remote – Physical): the resources are obtained from a remote site for an specific service, eg. batch job processing in scientific Grids, or web applications in a typical hosting scenario. In this case you get fixed configurations with a limited control over the remote resources
- Private Cloud (Local – Virtual): the resources are obtained from your own infrastructure in the form of Virtual Machines. So you can obtained the classical benefits of virtualization (e.g. consolidation, isolation, easy replication of configurations…) but for your infrastructure as a whole and not just for one server.
- The Cloud (Remote – Virtual): the resources are obtained from an external (cloud) provider. Unlike the Grid and thanks to VMs, you have total control of the resources you are “buying”, you can install what you need. Usually the provider in this case is another company, but it could be a partner, in that case it is called a Community Cloud.
Let’s briefly review three resource provisioning examples in use:
Probably, using this quadrant you can better plan the resource provision strategy for your site or understand what they are trying to sell to you!