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Cloud Conversations: Public, Private, Hybrid & Community Clouds? | Part 2

Who defines the standards for community clouds?

This is the second of a two part series, read part I here.

Common community cloud conversation questions include among others:

Who defines the standards for community clouds?
The members or participants, or whoever they hire or get to volunteer to do it.

Who pays for the community cloud?
The members or participants do, think about a co-op or other resource sharing consortium with multi-tenant (shared) capabilities to isolate and keep members along with what they are doing separate.

Who are community clouds for, when to use them?
If you cannot justify a private cloud for yourself, or, if you need more resiliency than what can be provided by your site and you know of a peer, partner, member or other with common needs, those could be a fit. Another variation is you are in an industry or agency or district where pooling of resources, yet operating separate has advantages or already being done. These range from medical and healthcare to education along with various small medium businesses (SMBs) that do not want to or cannot use a public facility for various reasons.

cloud image

What technology is needed for building a community cloud?
Similar to deploying a public or private cloud, you will need various hard products including servers, storage, networking, management software tools for provisioning, orchestration, show back or charge back, multi-tenancy, security and authentication, data protection (backup, bc, dr, ha) along with various middleware and applications.

Storage I/O cloud building block image

What are community clouds used for?
Almost anything, granted there are limits and boundaries based tools, technologies, security and access controls among other constraints. Applications can range from big-data to little-data on all if not most points in between. On the other hand, if they are not safe or secure enough for your needs, then use a private cloud or whatever it is that you are currently using.

What about community cloud security, privacy and compliance regulations?
Those are topics and reasons why like-minded or affected groups might be able to leverage a community cloud. By being like-minded or affected groups, labs, schools, business, entities, agencies, districts, or other organizations that are under common mandates for security, compliance, privacy or other regulations can work together, yet keep their interests separate. What tools or techniques for achieving those goals and objectives would be dependent on those who offer services to those entities now?

data centers, information factories and clouds

Where can you get a community cloud?
Look around using Google or your favorite search tool; also watch the comments section to see how long it takes someone to jump in to say how he or she can help. Also talk with solution providers, business partners and VARs. Note that they may not know the term or phrases per say, so here is what to tell them. Tell them that you would like to deploy a private cloud at some place that will then be used in a multi-tenant way to safely and securely support different members of your consortium.

For those who have been around long enough, you can also just tell them that you want to do something like the co-op or consortium time-sharing type systems from past generations and they may know what you are looking for. If although they look at you with a blank deer in the head-light stare eyes glazed over, just tell them it's a new lead-edge, software defined new and revolutionary (add some superlatives if you feel inclined) and then they might get excited. If they still don't know what to do or help you with, have them get in touch with me and I will explain it to them, or, I'll put you in touch with those can help.

data centers, information factories and clouds

Where do you put a community cloud?
You could deploy them in your own facility, other member's locations or both for resiliency. You could also use a safe secure co-lo facility already being used for other purposes.

Do community clouds have organizers?
Perhaps, however they are probably more along the lines of a coordinator, administrator, manager, controller as opposed to a community organizer per say. In other words, do not confuse a community cloud with a cloud community organized, aligned and activated for some particular cause. On the other hand, maybe there is value prop for some cloud activist to be organized and take up the cause for community clouds in your area of interest ;).

data centers, information factories and clouds

Are community clouds more of a concept vs. a product?
If you have figured out that a community or peer cloud is nothing more than a different way of deploying, using and managing a combination of private, public and hybrid and putting a marketing name on them, congratulations, you are now thinking outside of the box, or outside of the usual cloud conversations.

What about public cloud services for selected audiences such as Amazons GovCloud? On one hand, I guess you could call or think of that as a semi-private public cloud, or a semi-public private cloud, or if you like superlatives an uber gallistic hybrid community cloud.

How you go about building, deploying and managing your community, co-op, consortium, and agency, district or peer cloud will be how you leverage various hard and software products. The results of which will be your return on innovation (the new ROI) to address various needs and concerns or also known as valueware. Those results should be able to address or help close gaps and leverage clouds in general as a resource vs. simply as a tool, technology or technique.

Ok, nuff said...

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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