Virtual Private Cloud Overview

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

In a world of connected services, you are getting tons of information in and out from various systems. It is hard to store and manage all this information in one place. As a result, companies and big businesses go with Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) services. A VPC is designed in such a way that it is wholly dedicated to a single organization.

What happens is that a company will buy the cloud infrastructure, install the required software, and then hire an IT team in order to manage it. Here, the organisation will own everything from top to bottom, and nothing will be used as a service from a third-party provider. Today, we are going to learn how VPC works and what the unique features of VPC are that make it so beneficial for companies all over the globe. So let’s begin.

How does Virtual Private Cloud Work?

The working of VPC depends on the principle of the abstraction layer, which can be used on top of the physical layer. Now with the help of division in the abstraction layer, you can make many virtual machines that come with dedicated software and computational capability. On the other hand, VPC also creates a virtualized layer on public cloud hardware and thus makes sure it does have some part of processing capabilities, memory, and storage for itself. By making sure how much of a capacity is remaining in the original public cloud infrastructure, you can create equal or unequal multiple VPCs from the same cloud.

Besides this, a user who is trying to take advantage of VPC should be able to deal with robust customization and be ready to take over the total control of their cloud apps. VPC, in a lot of terms, is one of the best solutions because cloud assets are separated from the other cloud users. One thing you need to know here is that VPC user-induced modifications don’t interfere in any way possible with non-VPC users. This makes the content of VPC users totally secure from the non-VPC and other VPC users as well.

All the assets of VPC are stored in a public cloud, but only a user with a specific IP address or user ID and password combination can access its contents. The user is responsible for giving access permission to any other user. On the other hand, if it is required, a user can also provide a particular group of people access to their apps, websites, and other forms of data that is present on the cloud.

Some of the best examples of VPC can be seen in the development and usage of online apps like Canva, Figma, and more. These apps utilize the core concept of VPC to distinguish the different levels of users that are accessing their service. If you are a free user, you are not allowed to use the paid content without the watermark in the first place.

Benefits of VPC

Here are some of the most important benefits of using a VPC for storing files or hosting websites and apps.

1. Lower the Downtime

This is something every app and website owner wants to have the lowest downtime possible. Well, you can’t get 100% uptime all the time. With a VPC environment, you are getting the power of redundancy. It makes sure that your website’s data will still be accessible to the users even when the main VPC is having downtime. The contents of the website are stored in the backup VPC. As a result, whenever the current or primary VPC gets down The whole system will automatically shift to the backup of your website and start using it.

This gives you almost 100% uptime, and your customers will experience a higher level of reliability, which will strengthen your bond of trust with them.

2. Flexibility In Business Growth

VPC is based on cloud infrastructure that includes virtual servers, storage, and networking. This makes it possible for the user to deploy only the specific functionalities that they require. In addition to this, when there is a change in the business and the company wants to add extra storage space in the VPC, that can be done in mere seconds without causing any issues with the earlier storage spaces that have been bought by the VPC client in the first place.

3. Reduce Risk of Data Infiltration

Hackers are lurking on every website, trying to bring it down or to earn ransomware by locking out its contents. With the use of VPC, you are getting the best of the security updates that are able to withstand the latest data penetrations that hackers will perform on your website or application. VPC provides users with security at both the subnet and instance levels. This not only gives the owner of the website peace of mind, but even the users are able to access the contents of a website with ease and have nothing to worry about in terms of security and privacy.

4 Better Performance

Sites hosted in the cloud are always one step ahead in terms of loading times, data security, downtime, and other factors. When we compare them to on-premises website hosting, we can observe that they are both cost and space efficient. VPC enables users to create hybrid cloud settings in which VPC can be used as an extension of their own data centre without the need to install a new server rack onsite.

5. Increased Resources for Innovation

The cost of using VPC is pretty low, and this makes it possible for companies and businesses to save their money so it can be used in other areas of their business. In companies, the same money can be used on research, marketing, hiring new people, and more.

Virtual Private Cloud Architecture

When using a VPC, you can easily install and deploy your cloud resources into a virtual network. These resources present on the cloud are known as logical instances, and they fall into three types of categories; each of them is defined below:

1. Compute

These are virtual server instances, also known as virtual servers, and they are developed to process the data using the virtual CPUs that come with a predetermined amount of computing power, memory, RAM, graphical horsepower, and more.

2. Storage

The customers who are using VPC are given a block of storage as per their plan. These storage blocks can be increased or decreased based on user requirements. In addition to this, it is akin to purchasing additional hard drive space. You need to see how much space you want to get the work done and, based on that, make a decision to buy the VPC service plan.

3. Networking

This is the central logical instance of VPC and the most common use case as well. There are virtual versions of various networking functions that are a part of the virtual private cloud account that you have. This particular account is responsible for enabling and restricting access to the resources for which you have paid. These resources include public gateways that make some areas of your VPC environment available for the public on the internet.

The load balancers deploy the user traffic across multiple VSIs to optimize availability and performance. The direct or dedicated links enable rapid and secure communication between your on-premises enterprise IT environment or your private cloud along with the VPC you are using on the public cloud.

Critical Components of Virtual Private Cloud

Below you will find a list of some of the most common components that you can find in VPC network services.

1. IPv4 & IPv6 Address Block

The classless interdomain routing is used to define the IP address ranges that the VPC is going to use. You are still able to add the primary and secondary CIDR blocks to your VPC. But, it can only happen if the secondary CIDR block comes from the same address range as the preceding block. For more accuracy, it is better to specify your CIDR blocks from the private address range.

2. Internet Gateway

The components of VPC are scaled horizontally. Thus, it is able to provide high availability as well as robust redundancy. VPCs require the help of an internet gateway to communicate with the world wide web. The two most prominent use cases for these gateways are:

translates the network address where the network has an IPv4 address assigned to it.

Setting up the target in the routing table so as to make it internet-routable traffic

These gateways are designed in such a way that they can support both IPv4 and IPv6 while making sure that the internet connectivity won’t be affected due to the limitations of the bandwidth and availability fluctuations. Generally, VPC vendors provide users with internet gateways without asking for additional charges as they consider it essential and need it to be present in all forms of VPC service.

3. Carrier Gateways

This gateway serves two purposes. The first one is to support the inbound traffic from a carrier network at a particular location. The second is helping the outbound traffic to the carrier network as well as to the internet. These gateways are made to support IPv4 traffic and also work with the VPCs that come with the inclusion of subsets in a wavelength zone. These wavelength zones are a type of infrastructure deployment. These zones are then connected to the telecom carriers and the other devices that are a part of the network or the internet.

4. Domain Name System (DNS) Support

DNS is used for finding out the names of websites on the internet, the names of which are associated with the IP address in the first place. The hostname and the domain name are the two parts of the DNS that are used for assigning a unique identity to a computer present on the network or internet. A company using VPC can create their very own DNS server if they need it with the help of new DHCP options, which are provided to them by their VPC client.

5. Prefix List

With a prefix list, you are getting one or more than one classless inter-domain routing that is also known as CIDR blocks. These are the ones responsible for managing routing tables and configuring the security groups. The prefix list can be created based on the frequently used IP addresses. They can also be referenced as a set within the routes and rules of a given security group instead of putting a reference on them individually.

Once the rules of the security group have been made with varying CIDR blocks, but if you have a similar protocol and port, it can be consolidated into a single rule which can use the prefix list. When you need to scale up the VPC services due to an increase in traffic, you can ask for the relevant prefix list to be updated, and it will update all the security groups that are using the prefix list.

The first type of prefix list is managed by the service provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Here you will get the IP address range that is used for the AWS services, and these are not created, shared, modified, or even deleted by the users.

Apart from this, there is a customer-managed prefix-list that has a range of IP addresses that are defined and managed by the users who are asking for the VPC service. These IP addresses can be shared with other third-party VPC service accounts in order to enable referencing.

What are the Drawbacks of Using Virtual Private Cloud?

Even though there are tonnes of benefits that you get to enjoy with VPC, we have to shed light on the drawbacks of using VPC in order for this article to be completely unbiased.

VPC is one of those services that costs more than simple cloud hosting. In some cases, it can be a lot more expensive than operating a private, on-premises cloud solution. That’s why you have to weigh the cost of moving the data from your local systems to the VPC. In addition to this, there is also a private connection cost that is based on an hourly basis. You are free to select the extra features if you want, but keep in mind that all of these will add up on your final invoice.

Big companies might not be able to fully take advantage of VPC as most of the services that VPC will provide to them are already being used in the company. As a result, for startups and for small businesses, VPC is said to be a better option than investing in their own on-premises VPC.

Suppose you are running a highly regulated business with extensive compliance requirements, such as a financial or healthcare organization. Placing your data on the VPC applications becomes much more complex and limited in most cases. That is because VPC even gives you a private space in the cloud to install and keep your data. Still, all the workloads are hosted outside their own data center.

Difference between Public Cloud versus Private Cloud

A public cloud is one that has a shared cloud infrastructure. What this means is that multiple customers have the authority to access the specific infrastructure in order to use the cloud service. It is quite like how every person in a restaurant is going to get their food from a single kitchen. No matter what type of dish they order from the menu. There are tons of public cloud service providers on the internet, such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and more.

On the other hand, a private cloud, however, houses a single tenant or a user. This is the service that is explicitly offered to the one organization that has asked for it. VPC is present in the public cloud. But here, you are not sharing the resources that are given to you by the provider. Here, once the resources are set for your users, they will always remain free for you. As a result, you will have the best performance, uptime, and security for the data stored in the cloud.

Wrapping Up

This is what Virtual Private Clouds are all about; there are many cloud providers on the Internet. So it is best for you to take your time and carefully review what features and benefits each of these service providers offers. When you are moving to the cloud system from the local hosting services, make sure you check out the affordability and the integration of the services with your business products. VPC is a great technology.

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