Jan 20, 2012

How to create a private cloud for a small business?

How do I go about creating a private cloud for a small business? What hardware/software requirements are necessary?
Creating a private cloud for small businesses has become really easy nowadays. Take VMware vSphere Essentials Plus or even better, the open source Xenserver 6.5 and Egenera's PAN Cloud Director. Voilá one now has got the perfect SMB cloud setup.
You might want to check out OpenStack. It's free and open source.


"OpenStack OpenStack is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. The project aims to deliver solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich. The technology consists of a series of interrelated projects delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution.

Who's behind OpenStack? Founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, OpenStack has grown to be a global software community of developers collaborating on a standard and massively scalable open source cloud operating system. Our mission is to enable any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware.

Who uses OpenStack? Corporations, service providers, VARS, SMBs, researchers, and global data centers looking to deploy large-scale cloud deployments for private or public clouds leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open source community.

Why open matters: All of the code for OpenStack is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license. Anyone can run it, build on it, or submit changes back to the project. We strongly believe that an open development model is the only way to foster badly-needed cloud standards, remove the fear of proprietary lock-in for cloud customers, and create a large ecosystem that spans cloud providers."

Just be cautious of 'open' software, regardless of who is behind it, as free is not necessarily better when it comes to security of a network. Additionally, this type of software requires experience load and customize, which means you will be paying for it eventually.


This all depends on need, budget, abilities, security policies, and time.


What do you need it for...data storage and backup, document uploads and management, online customer support (appointment setting, etc.), online payments, application use?


If it is simply for data storage, the easiest option may be for you to utilize an existing service, such as Amazon's AWS. May I refer you to: http://aws.amazon.com/products/


If you want to provide applications via cloud, then Google Apps, or Microsoft Office 365 may be an option. PC World has a good article on comparison of: Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps


If you just want, or need to keep it in-house, it is not complicaed. Hardware will consist nothing more than server-based equipment.


Software...though it's a bit technical, you could always go the virtualization route with a software package such as VMWare's EXSI. This would allow you to customize and grow your storage as needed very easily.


I also read a good article on Inc. last year that overviewed a number of tools...do a search for 'Cloud based software'


As a reference, you may also want to read the following article: What is Cloud Computing


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