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What is a private cloud?

Find out its definition, pros and cons in this quick guide.

Protect cloud information data concept.  Cloud computing security and safety.
Image: YB/Adobe Stock

The private cloud as we know it today first hit the market in 2010 when companies like Microsoft, AWS, and OpenStack developed private clouds that were reasonably functional. This is also when OpenStack created an open source, DIY, and free cloud.

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What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is a single-tenant environment, meaning that only one organization uses and directly controls the infrastructure. It can be hosted and managed in a variety of ways, including using resources and infrastructure that are already on-premises, using a separate infrastructure provided by a third-party organization, or enabled solely using virtualization software. Private cloud is one of the three main cloud deployment models: private, public, and hybrid. There is also multicloud that combines elements of all three.

Advantages of private clouds

Private clouds offer many advantages compared to public cloud solutions. Perhaps most importantly, private clouds offer higher levels of customization and control. This is because private cloud environments are not shared with other organizations such as public clouds. As a result, private cloud users have the ability to configure their applications and systems to meet their specific needs and requirements.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Cloud Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

In addition, private cloud solutions provide better security and regulatory compliance. For organizations handling sensitive data, private clouds can provide an extra layer of protection.

Finally, private clouds are often deployed when public clouds are deemed inappropriate or inadequate. For example, mission-critical workloads that exceed risk tolerance levels may be better suited to private clouds.

Disadvantages of Private Clouds

Private clouds are growing in popularity as businesses look for ways to improve efficiency and control costs. However, private clouds have some drawbacks.

Increased complexity

One of the biggest challenges with private clouds is increased complexity. Private clouds require significant investments in hardware and software, as well as careful planning and management. As a result, they can be significantly more expensive to set up and maintain than public clouds.

Less scalable and flexible

In addition, private clouds can be less scalable and inflexible than public clouds, making them less resilient to peak demand.

High cost

One of the major cost drawbacks of private clouds is the initial investment required for acquisition, deployment, and support. For example, a company will have to purchase expensive hardware and software and hire personnel with the necessary expertise to maintain the system.

In addition, private cloud systems tend to be more complicated than public clouds, which can also drive up support costs, and private clouds often require more maintenance than public clouds, further increasing costs. As a result, private cloud can be a costly option for businesses, especially when compared to the pay-as-you-go public cloud model.

Hosted private clouds can also be expensive

Hosted private cloud subscription costs can sometimes exceed the total cost of ownership. Customers may also face the same problem as public cloud customers with poor configuration, provisioning, and overloaded servers.

These drawbacks have led to a gradual shift to hybrid and multicloud setups. According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 89% of organizations have a multicloud strategy. Of these, 80% said they have embraced a hybrid cloud strategy, 7% have multiple public clouds, and 2% have multiple private cloud configurations.

Types of private clouds

Private clouds differ in hosting and management and offer different capabilities depending on the needs of the organization. There are four main types of private clouds.

On-premises private clouds

On-premises private clouds are owned and managed by the organization, typically using proprietary hardware and software. It offers the highest level of control and customization, but also requires significant resources for installation and maintenance.

Hosted Private Clouds

Hosted private clouds, also known as private cloud hosting, are provided by a third-party vendor where the hardware and software are owned and managed by the provider. This option may be cheaper, but may not provide the same level of customization and control as an on-premises private cloud.

Managed Private Clouds

In managed private clouds, the hardware and software are owned by the organization, but managed by a third-party vendor. This offers a balance between customization and control and cost savings.

Virtual Private Clouds

Virtual private clouds provide organizations with access to public cloud resources while maintaining privacy and control through virtual private network technology.

However, the above only categorizes private cloud in terms of hosting and management. Other classifications take into account the cloud infrastructure used:

  • Software only: This private cloud uses software to manage and deploy virtualized resources, but does not use dedicated hardware and offers a lower initial cost, but may be less scalable due to the lack of dedicated hardware.
  • Software and hardware: This private cloud uses both software and dedicated hardware for management and deployment, offering greater scalability but also higher upfront costs.

Some prominent private cloud vendors

Some major private cloud providers include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and VMware. Each vendor offers a range of private cloud options with varying levels of customization and control.

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