NIST Response to Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Definition

As most readers know by now, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) has offered a solid and improving definition here. It includes the related cloud service models (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) and deployment models (Private, Community, Public, Hybrid).

The NIST definition does not yet address virtual private clouds. However, a growing number of companies have now announced virtual private cloud services. So Neovise submitted the following proposed definition of VPC to NIST in hopes that NIST may consider adding VPC to a future version of its cloud computing definition:

Virtual private cloud.

The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization, and is a subset of a larger cloud infrastructure which may be private, community or public. The virtual private cloud is virtually partitioned, rather than completely physically separated, from the larger cloud.

(see earlier blog post for this proposed definition in the context of the overall NIST cloud computing definition)

The NIST team has responded and the short answer is that we will not immediately see VPC included in the cloud computing definition. The two decision factors were that the VPC approach is currently:

1. Too new

2. Too niche

Obviously the “too new” aspect will change as time passes. However, it is likely implied that “too new” also means VPC will need to prove itself and show a bit of staying power for NIST to include it.

Regarding the niche aspect of VPCs, Neovise expects that to change quickly. Customers are demanding the value proposition of the VPC (particularly greater separation from other customers in a shared cloud infrastructure). Cloud service providers are highly competitive and will need to keep up with and try to surpass those who were first to market with VPCs.

The NIST team is not ignoring the VPC. In fact they are continuing to watch this and other developments and may still add VPC to the cloud computing definition in the future.

Until then — and regardless — it will be exciting to watch where the key players in the industry take VPC. Will it be a marketing term with thin value? Will there be major innovations that differentiate cloud service providers? Will VPC be the approach that alleviates some of the security concerns in the public cloud?

Stay tuned!

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