GoGrid has rolled out a hosted private cloud offering, designed to offer customers the benefits of the public cloud on dedicated hardware.
The company joins other vendors, including Unisys, in offering hosted private clouds, a relatively new label that some observers are skeptical of.
GoGrid's service is similar to the public cloud in that it offers an on-demand, programmable, manageable and scalable service, but with the added security and reliability of dedicated hardware, said John Keagy, CEO of GoGrid.
France Telecom's Orange, which is piloting the service, is one of the first to use it. Orange is private-labeling the service, which it then offers to its customers.
Because hosted private clouds are dedicated, users typically lose some of the benefits of the public cloud, even while gaining security. For instance, because users aren't sharing hardware with other users, they must order and pay for an entire new server or blade in order to scale up, even if they don't require so much additional compute power.
In addition, private clouds are typically priced more expensively than the public cloud.
GoGrid aims to help solve the problem of adding new capacity by integrating the hosted private cloud with its public cloud service. Customers can use the public cloud to quickly add capacity for apps running on the hosted private cloud.
The hosted private clouds don't fit into the traditional idea of cloud computing where users have a shared pool of resources based on commodity hardware, said Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk. But they have some features such as self-service portals and metered pricing like the public clouds, making them more than a traditional hosted data center service.
"A valid question could be, 'Why aren't all clouds like this,'" he wondered, suggesting that most users would like a more secure and reliable cloud service. "At the end of the day, I'd rather see these things called something like 'more secure cloud.'"
GoGrid can add a large-scale implementation of additional hardware for a customer in a day, but users can quickly deploy individual virtual machines automatically themselves, Keagy said. Typically, customers will use the hosted private cloud to run back-end systems, which are unlikely to require quick additions of compute power to accommodate traffic spikes, he said. Users will run Web and application servers, which are more apt to require scaling, on the public cloud.