Cloud computing is a popular computing choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes, providing a way to store data and applications without an on-site infrastructure to maintain. Boasting unparalleled flexibility by offering a way to access files and software from virtually anywhere on any compatible device, cloud computing is a valuable investment for organizations across countless industries.
However, not all cloud computing resources are made equal. Cloud computing services come in numerous forms, including private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid cloud models. Individuals and companies considering implementing a cloud network should understand the differences between these computing models as well as pros and cons before moving forward with one of the many cloud vendors.
What Is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is a form of cloud computing model in which establishment and use are limited to one particular entity. Unlike public clouds in which use is open to anyone willing to create an account and pay for virtual storage or computing space, private clouds cannot be joined by anyone and are generally restricted to the employees or contractors of a particular organization, which may or may not include any associated business units.
Private clouds most frequently exist in one of two forms: either as a cloud-based server constructed by an entity itself or as a private cloud that is operated by a third party. Both of these computing options have pros and cons, but the overarching private infrastructure is the key advantage that makes this form of cloud superior to its other alternatives.
Private cloud infrastructure options share many characteristics with other forms of clouds, including the major benefits of cloud networks in general:
On-demand self-service, providing end users with a better and easier experience
Broad access across laptops both on the premises and away, tablets, and mobile phones
Dedicated computing resources to each business
Elasticity that allows for scaling and growth as necessary
Measured service options that allow companies to accurately and comprehensively analyze efficiencies and areas of potential optimization
What Is a Hosted Private Cloud?
A hosted private cloud is a type of cloud that involves a third-party cloud service provider in the establishment and incorporation of a cloud computing virtualization solution.
While public perception often maintains that private clouds require a substantial commitment to in-house cloud infrastructure and IT resources, hosted clouds alleviate this burden. Instead of constructing a cloud platform, maintaining it, and handling the more cumbersome or problematic aspects of information technology, hosted clouds put all the responsibility of establishment and support into the hands of a third party. In spite of this, hosted private clouds are still individual to a particular entity and offer the same privacy and security advantages that come with self-supported clouds. Often seen as the best of both worlds, this computing option is becoming increasingly popular among those who require the protection and flexible nature of private networks for data storage who do not want to take on the burden of establishing an in-house option.
Private cloud computing does not necessarily mean the same thing as an on premises cloud – an important distinction of which to be aware for those who turned off by the perceived expense in establishing a private network. While a private cloud can be on premises, it does not have to be.
Why Companies Should Move to the Cloud
Cloud computing is a popular topic right now, and for good reason. There are a lot of benefits of transitioning to a cloud hosting or computing platform, including:
- Cost savings: The costs associated with an on-site data center can be steep, from equipment to IT employees. The cloud platform eliminates this, giving companies lower cost resources for superior functionality. Further, most cloud providers offer scaled plans that yield services as needed, creating customizable packages that meet both data storage, functionality, performance, and budgetary requirements.
- Enhanced flexibility for simplified workloads: The cloud is, above all else, flexible. With applications and files stored virtually rather than on local servers, data is accessible across all kinds of devices and operating systems for a simplified, streamlined workloads.
- Scalable solutions: A physical data center has plenty of limitations, but the virtual nature of cloud computing eliminates many of them. With space available essentially on demand, scaling is fast and easy with significant potential for companies on a growth trajectory.
- Easy backups: As data is stored using virtualization technology, backups of server information can be made as needed without a requirement for physical disks or other storage devices.
Types of Clouds: Private Clouds Versus Public and Hybrid Clouds
Private clouds have several distinct differences from public and hybrid cloud options that are important for companies seeking the right computing infrastructure to acknowledge.
Public cloud hosting is, as the name implies, open to the public. Hosted by large providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, the most common public clouds serve large portions of the population, offering support for both business and individuals. Public clouds, however, do not allow for a high level of customization for a company’s data, computing needs, or applications to create an efficient environment. Technology and security are at the discretion of the provider, and when outages or issues happen, there’s little, if anything, cloud users can do with a public cloud service.
A Hybrid cloud can combine the strengths of both private and public clouds, offering both a virtual private cloud environment as well as a public one to be used or divided as needed. This is a popular choice for companies with high seasonality that do not need expanded servers most of the time but may require additional resources or computing capabilities here and there. This provides a private environment for confidential data and a public one to expand into when additional computing needs are required. However, a hybrid cloud can still pose a problem. Visibility is an issue with a hybrid platform, as it’s hard to identify resources across all clouds, as well as potential challenges regarding data integration, application compatibility, and cyber security.
Benefits of Private Cloud
Private clouds offer significant benefits that companies, particularly those in industries that value privacy and protection, should consider, in addition to the standard advantages of cloud computing.
- Better security: For companies transitioning away from a standard computing infrastructure, or even a public cloud service provider, security is often a top priority. This is particularly true in companies with large amount of sensitive data. In a public cloud, there’s very little that can be done from the end user’s perspective to improve security or address potential breaches. Private clouds put the control in a user’s hands or, or the hands of a dedicated third party, making it easier to keep data secure. A vital difference between private and public cloud computing.
- More flexibility: The flexibility of cloud computing is a much-adored benefit in and of itself, but flexibility is substantially better for business with a private cloud network. As there are no compatibility or limitations on applications placed by a private platform, private clouds can essentially be anything you want them to be.
- Guaranteed compatibility: Some public providers put limits on what programs, data, and options are available to users, but that’s not usually true with a private cloud. Even hosted clouds offer more customizable options than public clouds, making it possible for companies to do virtually anything within a cloud environment, regardless of limits that could be imposed elsewhere with other cloud services.
Potential Cons of Private Clouds
Private cloud platforms do have many benefits, but there are some known or perceived downsides that those considering transitioning to a cloud network should keep in mind.
- Price: The higher costs of private clouds are relatively well-know; this reason is often the primary motivation for businesses to stick with public versus private options. However, it’s important to note that this is not always true. While establishing a company owned private cloud can indeed be expensive require additional resources, it doesn’t offer the same opportunities to reduce IT staff, a hosted cloud can often negate this, resulting in similar pricing with more flexibility and customized options. So while it can cost more in some cases, you frequently get a better value compared to other cloud offers or computing services.
- Maintenance requirements: Private on-site servers can indeed take maintenance to a roughly similar degree as standard servers. Yet hosted clouds can eliminate this step as well, providing cloud infrastructure support so that a business does not need to implement a team to take care of these needs.
- Too many virtualization options: For a smaller business or companies with limited storage needs and small amounts of data, a private cloud may simply seem unnecessary. When a large array of software options, for example, isn’t needed, the simplicity of signing up for a public cloud may be an option to consider.
Unlike benefits, which are largely universal among all cloud users, disadvantages are more subjective. What may seem like a consequence to one enterprise business may be an advantage for others, resulting in a situation in which benefits clearly outweigh any downsides.
Is a Public Cloud Cheaper Than a Private Cloud?
Affordability is often emphasized as a critical benefit of a public cloud, as signing up for a public cloud is generally free to start, but this isn’t always true. In many ways, paying for a private cloud actually gives you more bang for your buck, so to speak. For a similar pricing structure, businesses can access a completely individualized cloud solution.
Hosted private clouds have a lot to offer, providing an affordable way access all essential services required to keep your company safe while operating in a space that is completely unique to you and your business needs. Rather than than the a la carte options public cloud providers offer, many private cloud packages are far more comprehensive than other types of cloud, offering a way to create a customized environment in which all bases are covered in the way that works best for you. The right provider can take the entire process of cloud establishment and maintenance over, offering an all-in-one product.
Take, for example, Avatara’s CompleteCloud solution. While base price per user may can appear to be more expensive on the surface, CompleteCloud provides enterprise advantages that aren’t available with other public and private clouds to the SMB space. CompleteCloud covers all server and site hardware costs, internet bills in full, provides 24/7 U.S. based support, security that leads the industry in protection from down time, hackers, and other forms of cyber attacks, and includes any upgrades and add-ons in full as a part of the package. Mobile solutions are more complex as well, offering a more compatible environment that allows for greater opportunity and resources across all devices. Should issues arise, dedicated security can immediately act, ensuring a more prompt response that makes protecting your operations and keeping your data secure far easier than public platforms do.
Many of the kinds of perks available with a private cloud simply aren’t an option with a public cloud as services aren’t customizable for each enterprise. Instead, all users are forced into the same suite of products and services, creating a cookie cutter cloud at roughly the same price point as a hosted private cloud infrastructure.
Are Private Clouds More Secure?
Security is generally the largest and most appreciated benefit of private clouds. For industries that work in areas in which privacy is either very important or required for regulatory compliance purposes, private networks make it possible to achieve all objectives in safeguarding proprietary data.
For public cloud users, security is in the hands of someone else. There is no way to make suggestions about security, enhance protections, or take any action whatsoever. As such, public clouds leave a lot of room for vulnerabilities. When you want to protect your enterprise against the potential for failed patches or server failures, there’s essentially no way to do this. Any choices regarding security – or lack thereof, unfortunately – are at the whim of the provider. Users must simply trust that whoever is providing the support for their cloud services is up to the challenge of protecting user information and providing security that adheres to compliance regulations regarding industry standards and the protection of personal data.
With a private approach to security, help is always on hand. When there are potential attacks targeting a company’s data, a security team, whether on site or provided by third-party cloud management, will be on hand immediately. Users can get status updates, communicate warning signs or service challenges, and talk through any issues in real time, rather than sitting and waiting for a public cloud to regain functionality. Security teams also monitor potential vulnerabilities all day, every day, ensuring that even the tiniest red flags are seen and immediately dealt with.
Disaster recovery is also better in a private cloud environment. As backups don’t have to be done manually using physical disks and other backup devices and can be scheduled at a business’ convenience, it’s possible to ensure all data is as protected as possible against outages with none of the added risks, like natural disasters, that can target a traditional data center.
Industries With Secure Data Needs
For many companies around the world, a strong approach to cyber security isn’t just something nice to have – it’s an indispensable part of ongoing operations. Financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies and contractors in particular keep privacy as a top concern, in part due to industry regulations like HIPAA in healthcare, DFARS in government contracts, or GDPR for companies with operations in the EU.
A public cloud often can’t meet the same sorts of security regulations that private clouds can, leaving data in a potentially compromising state. In some cases, compliance investigators want to be able to pinpoint specifically where data is housed to be sure all proper security measures are in place – something that’s nearly impossible in a public cloud.
Businesses that rely on stringent security and consistent monitoring for potential breaches often experience better results in a private cloud than on their own servers. With access to a managed cloud, auditors and regulators are easily able to evaluate private cloud solutions and security measures to ensure all applicable enterprises are operating by the book.
Are Private Clouds Just IaaS?
For those just learning about cloud computing, there are certain similarities that become readily apparent between a private cloud and infrastructure as a service, or IaaS – a common cloud product. For this reason, some potential users shy away from exploring private clouds, feeling as though these products are simply the framework behind a server and not a fully-fleshed approach to data storage, management, and protection.
IaaS is a legitimate product that has a use for many different kinds of companies, but there is a distinct difference between private clouds and IaaS solutions. First, private clouds are either independently established, in which they function like a traditional on-site data centers but maintained virtually, or as a comprehensive product sold by a cloud provider. Hosted clouds go far beyond just the interface – a good hosted cloud incorporates everything from around-the-clock security to IT management resources. IaaS can be seen as being a part of private cloud services, but it is not synonymous with a private cloud.
Who Should Use Private Cloud Resources?
With all the resources offered by a private cloud platform, who should be taking advantage of these opportunities? In short, almost any business. Particularly if they have security concerns, complexity issues, mobility problems, or are simply experiencing growth.
The vast majority of businesses, regardless of industry, can benefit greatly by the advantages of a private cloud. While some businesses will of course enjoy a positive experience paying for public access, the customer service and customized approach to infrastructure and protection is far superior with a private platform versus a public platform. With competitive pricing options and comprehensive package availability, today’s private clouds offer a better experience for roughly the same price.
Specialized Services in Private Clouds
Many public clouds, like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, have a lot to say about the resources and services they offer. This is encouraging for companies with diverse needs or who may have growth plans on the future – but this selection is generally the only option for functionality for these platforms. Any additional needs that are not expressly outlined may not be available. This isn’t a problem for every business, but it can become a costly issue when companies expand into new areas that are no longer accommodated by a chosen public cloud provider.
A private cloud takes away this burden; with a customizes platform maintained by a leading provider, the sky is the limit. Any vision a company has can be executed and fully accompanied by hardware and software management, managed security, 24/7 support, and guaranteed connectivity.
The Power of Computer-Assisted Design
Computer-assisted design applications are now considered a staple in engineering and design fields, providing a way to design anything from advanced aeronautic solutions to detailed jewelry. However, there are currently very few cloud-based CAD applications, and none robust enough to host sophisticated design needs for engineering, design, and architecture firms. Previously, this has added limitations to cloud computing for these kinds of companies.
Avatara’s cloud services include the most dynamic CAD application solutions on the market, making a transition to the cloud fast, easy, and effective for those who want to take their design ambitions in a virtual direction – something that isn’t generally an option with a public cloud or hybrid cloud, especially without any performance degradation. Access to premium software solutions is a major benefit to consider, particularly for businesses with specific needs that may not fit into the predetermined confines of other cloud computing alternatives.
Who Shouldn’t Use a Private Cloud?
While the resources offered by a private cloud cannot be overstated – and it’s true that a private cloud is the best choice for most companies – it’s important to note that a private network isn’t the best investment for everyone. For example, small startups or local businesses with less than 15 computer users may find the breadth and depth of a private setup too expansive or expensive. When demands are small, a public alternative is often the best choice due to the low pricing for limited use, the instant availability, and the user-friendly features.
However, companies with a more robust operating model, significant software and application needs, complex business continuity needs, or rapidly-growing infrastructure needs will likely be held back by the nature of a public alternative. Weighing the realistic nature of operational demands is a critical part of choosing a cloud platform; downplaying needs simply to try to save a few dollars will likely end up costing more in the long run.
Why a Private Cloud Is Right for You
For companies considering moving into a cloud environment, making an investment can seem like a big commitment. It’s hard to decide the proper path, especially when perceptions of private clouds imply a large and expensive undertaking. However, this doesn’t have to be the case – and with CompleteCloud, the transition from a traditional data center to the cloud can be faster and more affordable than ever. Instead of figuring things out for yourself, cloud computing professionals will help you with implementation, infrastructure, scaling, moving files, and even training for your team to be sure everyone is comfortable with all available resources.
As an all-in-one solution, CompleteCloud can accommodate a vast majority of company needs in one complete package. From state-of-the-art security to innovative infrastructure solutions to accommodate growth and changing objectives, Avatara’s cloud solutions are ideal for large enterprise businesses and small operations alike. From 50 users to 15,000 users, capabilities are stable, functional, and flexible to create a comprehensive and competitively-priced cloud computing solution for guaranteed economies of scale.