On Nov 1, IBM announced availability of a new platform. The new platform is known as “IBM Cloud Private”. According to IBM, Cloud Private allows enterprises to design, develop, deploy and manage on-premises, containerized cloud applications which are behind their firewall. In this blog post, let’s try to understand IBM Cloud Private in detail.

Public & Private Cloud:

Probably, by now you have a pressing question in your mind – What is the difference between Public & Private Cloud? You are not alone – even I had the same question in my mind. Lets try to address this question first.

Public Cloud:

According to Wikipedia, definition of Public Cloud is as follows: A cloud is called a “public cloud” when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use.

Example of Public cloud include IBM’s – IBM Cloud, Amazon’s – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s – Azure and Google’s – Google Cloud Platform. In public cloud scenario, the cloud providers own & operate the infrastructure at their data center and access to the cloud is generally through internet and is available publicly.

Private Cloud:

Quoting from Wikipedia, the definition of Private Cloud is as follows: Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally.

Private cloud leverages the benefits of public cloud, including rapid deployment, scalability, ease of use and elasticity — but can also offer additional capabilities such as greater control, increased performance, predictable cost, tighter security and flexible management options.

Introducing IBM Cloud Private

IBM Cloud Private is an application platform for developing and managing on-premises, containerized applications. It is an integrated environment for managing containers that includes the container orchestrator Kubernetes, a private image repository, a management console, and monitoring frameworks.

IBM Cloud Private – as a platform – is a customer managed container based solution targeted mainly for enterprises. IBM Cloud Private is also available as Community Edition or CE as it is known as which is a limited version offering ideal for test environments at no charge at all.

IBM Cloud Private (ICP) is built with flexibility in mind and can’t integrate easily with your data center. It is designed to be compatible with leading systems manufacturers which include Cisco, Dell EMC, Intel, Lenovo and NetApp, IBM Z and IBM Power Systems.

IBM Cloud Private Use Cases

Looking at an enterprise and the need for a cloud based platform, following use cases come to my mind:

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· Optimizing Applications with Cloud – Modernizing monolithic applications, making them cloud enabled, componentized & manageable

· Open data centers – Building cloud-native applications, integrating data & services from existing applications or new applications or from public data services

· Creating cloud-native applications – Build cloud-native applications with variety of run-times, build them anywhere and move them anywhere, without compromising security & compliance

IBM Cloud Private Architecture

Following picture shows an overview of the capabilities in IBM Cloud Private:

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The core of the platform is Kubernetes based container orchestration. The core infrastructure also provides a private container registry which is like that of Docker hub. Domain Software & Services and Hybrid cloud management services make use of the core platform to function. Mapping the architecture to real world references, here is what ICP looks like:

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IBM Cloud Features

Some features & functions of IBM Cloud Private are as follows:

· Unified Installer – Ansible based installer which is fast & simple to use and allows you to set up Kubernetes based cluster (master, worker & proxy nodes)

· Management Console – Single, Centralized & Secure management console to manage, monitor & troubleshoot applications

· Docker Image Registry – Local Docker Registry service with same feature as that of Docker Hub

· Software & Services Catalog – Centralized location to browse & install packages in your cluster

· Isolated Tenant Networks – Secure subnet for each project inside your cluster

· Robust Monitoring & Logging – Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana based monitoring and logging

Getting Started with IBM Cloud Private

Apart from buying IBM Cloud Private as an enterprise, following ways are available to test drive it:

IBM Cloud Private – Community Edition

Create new cloud-native applications in a non-production environment with this community edition. You can download the community edition by signing up here – https://www.ibm.com/account/reg/us-en/signup?formid=urx-20295. IBM Cloud Private also has a wiki which provides detailed instruction on set up. You can find the wiki here – https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/wikis/home?lang=en#!/wiki/W1559b1be149d_43b0_881e_9783f38faaff.

IBM Cloud Private – Guided Tour

Get immediate experience deploying a sample shopping app on IBM® Cloud Private. Instructions and source code are included. In this 10-minute demo, you deploy a storefront shopping application that displays a catalog of antique computing devices. Customers can browse the catalog and purchase devices on IBM Cloud Private.

In this tutorial, you complete these tasks:

· Access the IBM Cloud Private Dashboard

· Deploy a cloud-native micro services app to IBM Cloud Private

· Validate the deployment

You can access the guided tour here – https://www.ibm.com/cloud/garage/demo/try-private-cloud-install-an-app

IBM Cloud for Free

IBM Cloud Private is indeed an interesting service offering from IBM for enterprises. But wait – they also have another interesting offer. IBM Cloud which is the public cloud offering from IBM is now available for trial for free with no time restrictions. Some features of this free no time restrictions are as follows:

· Lite Plans Free Development – develop with no cost, cap based lite plan services for as long as you like

· Start Projects Right Away – Skip entering credit card and get working in just a few short steps

· Easy Upgrade to Paid Services – Ease into cloud pricing or try something new with in credit available for month upon upgrade.

Sounds too good to resist, then head over to the sign up here – https://console.bluemix.net/registration/?target=%2Fdashboard%2Fapps