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Explore private cloud platform options: Paid and open source

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a private cloud platform. Evaluate the different paid and open source options to figure out which one is best for you.

It's an embarrassment of riches for IT pros considering paid or open source private cloud platform options. Some platforms are unique to specific vendors -- and pose some risk of vendor lock-in. Other vendors offer private cloud as a service, often partitioning a portion of the provider's public cloud infrastructure and dedicating that portion to a customer for their single tenant use as a private cloud.

Finally, there are software frameworks that organizations can use to cobble together their own private cloud within the existing local data center. Your actual choice of private cloud platform will depend on many factors, including your current data center platforms, hybrid cloud goals -- if any -- security and support needs, current IT staff expertise, and cost limitations. Here is just a partial list of existing providers:

Apache CloudStack

An open source private cloud platform, Apache CloudStack offers a comprehensive management system that features usage metering and image deployment. It supports hypervisors including VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and KVM.

CloudStack also handles features like tiered storage, Active Directory integration and some software-defined networking. As with other open source platforms, it takes a knowledgeable IT staff to install and support CloudStack.


Eucalyptus software provides a modular, open source private cloud platform for CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments capable of building AWS-compatible clouds.

Eucalyptus software provides a modular, open source private cloud platform for CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments capable of building Amazon Web Services (AWS)-compatible clouds. Eucalyptus is API-compatible with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service, Identity and Access Management, Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling and CloudWatch services, enabling Eucalyptus to create hybrid clouds between local and AWS resources.

IBM Cloud Private

IBM Cloud Private offers a private cloud platform designed to create, deploy and manage containerized cloud applications and data using a platform installed behind the corporate firewall. IBM Cloud Private uses open source components including containers, Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry, and is intended to integrate with multiple public cloud providers.

Microsoft's private cloud

Microsoft's private cloud platform is part of System Center 2012 R2. It incorporates well-known tools, including System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection and Operations Manager, in one offering.

The ins and outs of adopting a private cloud

Understand why an organization would choose a private cloud over a public cloud, avoid common issues when creating a private cloud and navigate the transition to hybrid cloud.

System Center can support and manage Windows 2012 -- and later -- Hyper-V hosts, along with hypervisors from Citrix and VMware. It focuses on application delivery, automation and monitoring.


The OpenNebula project attempts to offer a turnkey, versatile, feature-rich and vendor-agnostic platform for creating and managing private, public and hybrid clouds atop virtualized data centers. OpenNebula touts a self-service portal, comprehensive UIs, automated service management, a marketplace, performance and capacity management, high availability, and good integration across third-party tools.


OpenStack software builds on existing hypervisors to provision and manage compute, storage and networking resources as a complete open source cloud OS. It supports VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and open source KVM.

Although OpenStack is free, it's complex and requires extensive expertise to deploy and utilize -- often leading to a significant cost for the business. Support is also community-driven, and it depends on knowledgeable staff to support effectively.


Platform9 is a third-party public-private hybrid cloud provider -- hybrid cloud as a service -- based on OpenStack, Kubernetes and Fission that enables organizations to create and manage hybrid clouds using the Platform9 service. However, this is primarily a management platform -- all data and workloads remain on site.

Platform9 supports KVM, VMware vSphere and Docker. Since Platform9 handles managing OpenStack and Kubernetes and the essential hybrid cloud structure, users are relieved of the configuration and upgrade issues involved. Platform9 is an annual subscription-based service.​

VMware vCloud Suite

Finally, VMware vCloud Suite is available in Standard, Advanced and Enterprise editions, each adding products and features. VCloud Suite supports hypervisors including Hyper-V and KVM. The Advanced edition adds vRealize Business for vSphere for cost management and consumption metering, while the Enterprise version includes vCenter Site Recovery Manager for policy-based disaster recovery. VCloud can also integrate with NSX, and supports both VMware Virtual SAN and OpenStack.

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