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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

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Virtual private cloud (VPC) - Definition & Overview

In this article
What is a virtual private cloud (VPC)?
Private cloud vs. virtual private cloud - what's the difference?
Why do IT organizations adopt virtual private cloud?
Who are the leading virtual private cloud service providers?
Monitor your virtual private cloud with Sumo Logic
What is a virtual private cloud (VPC)?
Private cloud vs. virtual private cloud - what's the difference?
Why do IT organizations adopt virtual private cloud?
Who are the leading virtual private cloud service providers?
Monitor your virtual private cloud with Sumo Logic

What is a virtual private cloud (VPC)?

A virtual private cloud (VPC) is a unique delivery model for private cloud services that allows an IT organization to provide an isolated section of public cloud infrastructure. A VCP establishes a virtual, isolated network that acts as a private cloud deployment, adopting a single-tenant architecture, and prevents the provisioned servers from being dynamically allocated to other users. Organizations can customize a VPC according to their unique specifications, including selecting IP addresses, creating subnets and configuring network gateways and route tables.

Key takeaways

  • Virtual private clouds allow IT organizations to take advantage of the privacy and control of private cloud deployments while leveraging the cost savings of the public cloud.
  • In a virtual private cloud deployment, the public cloud provider takes on the role of a service provider and the subscribers are the tenants.
  • The first step to establishing a virtual private cloud environment is choosing a reputable and reliable vendor to supply the infrastructure.

Private cloud vs. virtual private cloud - what's the difference?

The difference between most private and virtual cloud deployments is based on tenant and service provider roles and how those roles are allocated.

In a traditional private cloud deployment, the IT organization is the service provider, and the individual business units or departments are the tenants. Cloud infrastructure is built and maintained in an on-premise data center, and different business departments may access computing resources or data storage from the cloud based on their needs. This deployment can allow the business to measure IT resource usage by department and make effective budgeting decisions that reflect each department's need for private cloud services.

In a virtual private cloud deployment, the public cloud provider takes on the service provider role, and the subscribers are the tenants. A business may subscribe to virtual private cloud services and assign an internal IT organization the responsibility of configuring the environment and apportioning its resources to individual business units on an as-needed basis.

Why do IT organizations adopt virtual private cloud?

Virtual private cloud occupies its market niche regarding cloud computing deployment models, but why would an IT organization want a public cloud service provider to supply it with private cloud infrastructure?

The original draw of the cloud computing service model was that it gave IT organizations much cheaper access to the data storage and IT infrastructure resources needed to develop new applications and services. Cloud computing has helped drive down app development costs and technological complexity, helping more organizations build software to power their business operations.

While public cloud resources work well for some organizations, others are concerned about the multi-tenant architecture and how the concept of shared resources could impact data security and compliance. What if data on their servers was mistakenly presented to another subscriber? What if more control over data storage servers was necessary to maintain compliance with industry regulations for data privacy?

These concerns led to the conceptual development of private cloud infrastructure that could be maintained by on-premise IT and offer greater security control than a public cloud. While private cloud deployments allowed enterprise IT to dynamically allocate proprietary infrastructure, adopting organizations missed out on the cost reductions associated with the economies of scale in the public cloud. While private cloud deployments were secure and productive, they were also expensive to establish and maintain.

A virtual private cloud provides IT organizations with security and cost savings. They can provision isolated servers in the public cloud, along with access to the cost savings traditionally enjoyed in the public cloud deployment model.

Who are the leading virtual private cloud service providers?

The first step to establishing your virtual private cloud environment is choosing a reputable and reliable vendor to supply the infrastructure. The world's leading technology companies are among the biggest virtual private cloud marketplace players.

Amazon virtual private cloud

Amazon VPC includes a range of features and multiple connectivity options for users. Amazon VPC is useful for hosting simple websites, multi-tier web applications or scalable apps that connect to back-end data systems. Amazon's virtual private cloud is also useful as a disaster recovery site where an organization can back up its data to ensure business continuity in case of a data center outage.

Google virtual private cloud

Google VPC offers some unique features, helping it stand out against the competition. A single VPC can span multiple regions, enabling IT organizations to use the same virtual servers for projects in different regions. Users can enable private communication within the organization and set up a VPC for no initial charge but will be billed based on resource usage.

IBM virtual private cloud

IBM's virtual private cloud product offers the most important features and customization options associated with VPC deployments. Users can create virtual server instances, manage their subnets and gateways and add data storage to meet their needs. Users get full control over IP ranges, security groups and more.

Monitor your virtual private cloud with Sumo Logic

Sumo Logic's cloud-native analytics platform helps IT organizations monitor the security, operational and business performance of applications in the cloud. Sumo Logic takes advantage of a virtual private cloud feature called VPC flow logging that automatically logs data about network traffic in the VPC.

We've built custom applications for leading cloud vendors such as Google VPC and Amazon VPC, enabling our users to automate the aggregation and analysis of VPC flow logs. Access to real-time network data via VPC flow logs and Sumo Logic helps IT organizations develop actionable insights into the performance of their virtual private cloud deployments.

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