Examining the core components of a private cloud

Examining the Core Components of a Private Cloud

– Brought to you by 2X Cloud Computing guest blogger Brien M. Posey –

Private cloud environments tend to be made up of a number of different components. One of the keys to building an effective private cloud environment is to understand what these components are and what they do. This blog post is intended to serve as a beginner’s guide to some of the most commonly used private cloud components.

The first component that you need to be familiar with is the Web Portal. One of the challenges that administrators face when building private cloud environments is that of accepting connections from Internet based clients, but without compromising security in the process. Doing so usually means creating a DMZ environment that can be used as an entry point for Internet based clients.

Typically the DMZ will contain a server that is acting as a Web portal. A Web portal is really nothing more than a Web server that has been configured to accept connections from Internet based clients.

Once a Web client has established a connection to a Web portal, the user’s ID must be authenticated. There are a number of different ways to handle the authentication process, but the chosen authentication method must take into account the fact that the DMZ is a relatively insecure environment.

As such, it would be extremely risky to place a domain controller, RADIUS Server, or Internet Authentication Server directly into the DMZ. Instead, a gateway server typically acts as a secure proxy between the DMZ and the secure on premise network. This gateway server might for example relay authentication credentials to an authentication server.

The backend components can vary widely depending on the vendor whose products are being used and on whether the private cloud is based on the Terminal Services or on virtual desktops.

In the case of a VDI deployment the core components are a connection broker and the hypervisor. The connection broker’s job is to match end user session requests to virtual desktops.

If a user has not previously established a session then the connection broker would typically attach the user to an unused (available) virtual desktop. If the user was previously working within a virtual desktop and became disconnected (or if the user has a dedicated personal virtual desktop) then the connection broker will reconnect the user with the appropriate virtual desktop.

The hypervisor is responsible for actually running the virtual desktops. Virtual desktops exist as a series of virtual machines. Typically a VDI deployment will make use of several host servers, all of which run virtual desktops. Doing so provides a degree of fault tolerance. It also helps to improve scalability since the end user workload is distributed across several host servers.

Another essential component to a VDI deployment is a management console. VDI deployments tend to have a lot of “moving parts”. The management console allows the administrator to manage things such as resource pools and virtual machine templates through a single interface.

While these are some of the major components that tend to be used in a private cloud, it is important to remember that the actual required components vary depending on infrastructure type and on the vendor whose products are being used.

About Brien M. Posey

Brien Posey is a ten time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Prior to becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien served as CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also worked as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.

Since going freelance in 2001, Brien has become a prolific technical author. He has published many thousands of articles and numerous books on a wide variety of topics (primarily focusing on enterprise networking). In addition to his writing, Brien has provided consulting services to clients and speaks at IT events all over the world.

About 2X Software

2X Software is a global leader in virtual desktop and application delivery, remote access and cloud computing solutions. Thousands of enterprises worldwide trust in the reliability and scalability of 2X products. 2X offers a range of solutions to make every company’s shift to cloud computing simple and affordable.

For additional information, visit www.2x.com or contact Charlie Williams by email cw@2x.com, phone +356 2258 3800.

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