What is Cloud Computing?


Ace here again. This is part of my blog series on Azure and Cloud Computing

This is a short discussion about cloud computing, another aspect of Internet service providers offering to help companies reduce costs by practically eliminating hardware.

Service Providers and Services

In the past few years, many online service providers have gained momentum offering datacenter services to allow customers the ability to host services, applications, and operating systems. These service providers provide 24/7 availability and uptime monitoring, backups, disaster recovery, maintain application updates and provide full support.

As long as an employee has internet access, whether at the office or away, they can access these services and applications.

A Cloud Operating System does what a traditional operating system does – manage applications and hardware, but at the scope and scale of cloud computing, meaning the applications and hardware are operated and managed outside of a company’s network.

The foundations of the Cloud OS are Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure, complemented by the full feature set of Microsoft technology solutions, such as SQL Server, System Center, Exchange Server, and Visual Studio. Together, these technologies provide a consistent platform for infrastructure, applications and data that can span your datacenter, service provider datacenters, and the Microsoft public cloud.

Public Clouds

Shared Public Cloud

A Shared Public Cloud provides the benefit of rapid implementation, massive scalability, and low cost of entry because multiple tenants share and absorb the overall costs reducing individual tenant costs.

It is delivered in a shared physical infrastructure where the architecture, customization, and degree of security are designed and managed by the hosting provider according to market-driven specifications.

Public clouds have weaker security due to their shared nature.

Dedicated Private Clouds

Dedicated Private clouds are similar to a Shared Public Cloud, except they are delivered on a dedicated physical infrastructure dedicated to a single organization.

Security, performance, and sometimes customization are better in the Dedicated Public Cloud than in the Shared Public Cloud. Its architecture and service levels are defined by the provider and the cost may be higher than that of the Shared Public Cloud.

Private Cloud

Dedicated Private clouds may be hosted by the organization itself at a co-location service where the organization owns all hardware and software, and provide their own full maintenance procedures including disaster recovery solutions, with the co-location only providing 24/7 power and internet connectivity guarantees, or they may be hosted by a cloud services provider, which provides all hardware and software and ensures that the cloud services are not shared with any other organization.

Private clouds are more than just large-scale hypervisor installation. They can use the Microsoft System Center 2012 management suite, which makes it possible to provide self-service delivery of services and applications.

Self-hosted Private Cloud

A Self-hosted Private Cloud provides the benefit of architectural and operational control utilizing the existing investment in people and equipment, and provides a dedicated on-premise environment that is internally designed, hosted, and managed.

Hosted Private Cloud

A Hosted Private Cloud is a dedicated environment that is internally designed, externally hosted, and externally managed. It blends the benefits of controlling the service and architectural design with the benefits of datacenter outsourcing.

Private Cloud Appliance

A Private Cloud Appliance is a dedicated environment that is purchased from a vendor and designed by that vendor, and are based on provider & market driven features and architectural control. They can be hosted internally or externally, and can be internally or externally managed. A Private Cloud Appliance benefits consumers by combining advantages of a predefined functional architecture, lower deployment risk with the benefits of internal security and control.

What does Windows 2012 R2 and Cloud OS Mean to Organizations?

It means organization can shift to efficiently manage datacenter resources as a whole, including networking, storage and computing. Organizations will be able to deliver and manage powerful apps that boost employee productivity providing faster access across private, hybrid (mixture of private & public clouds) and public clouds.

With Windows Server 2012 and newer, and System Center, an organization owns its own private cloud, and they can provide users a self-service portal to request their own multitier applications including web servers, database servers, and storage components.

Windows Server 2012 and the components of the System Center 2012 suite can be configured so service requests can be processed automatically, without requiring manual deployment of virtual machines and database server software.

Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track

Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track is a joint effort between Microsoft and its hardware partners to deliver pre-configured solutions that reduce the complexity and risk of implementing a private cloud, and provides and delivers flexibility and choice across a range of hardware vendor options technologies in pre-configured solutions.

For more information on Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, and the implementation deployment guide:

Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Information New and Improved, by Thomas W Shinder, MSFT, 7/27/2012

For a complete list of Reference Architecture for Private Cloud Documents:

Reference Architecture for Private Cloud



Stay tuned for more on Azure and Cloud Computing

Published 10/15/2016

Ace Fekay
MVP, MCT, MCSE 2012, MCITP EA & MCTS Windows 2008/R2, Exchange 2013, 2010 EA & 2007, MCSE & MCSA 2003/2000, MCSA Messaging 2003
Microsoft Certified Trainer
Microsoft MVP – Directory Services

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