21 Sep HCS Asks: What is Private Cloud? 09/21/2017
HCS Asks: What is Private Cloud?
Here at HCS, we do our best to keep you up to speed on the latest trends in cloud computing including multicloud, enterprise cloud, public cloud, and, of course, hybrid cloud. But in this week’s HCS Asks, we’re going back to basics by asking: “what’s private cloud”?
What makes a private cloud private?
One of the more confusing things when defining private cloud is what exactly is meant by private? The term itself can be misleading—sometimes referring to a portion of a company’s existing on-premises data center hosted on its own servers, privately—as the name implies. Virtualized hardware and software run on a proprietary infrastructure in your data center. In contrast to the public cloud, this type of private cloud architecture is protected by a firewall and managed on-premises by your IT team.
In other cases, a private cloud is hosted by a third-party service provider. You derive many of the benefits of the public cloud—such as vendor-provide management, on-demand access to resources, etc. as you would from a public cloud provider, but access to the servers (or the part of the servers where your data resides) is available only to your organization.
What are the pros & cons of private vs public cloud?
Everywhere you look, someone is touting the advantages of public cloud for speed, data access, and security, while someone else is doing the same for private cloud. How can both be true? Well, it depends on your business. There are pros and cons to any type of cloud deployment—that’s why it’s so important to analyze your business needs before migrating to any cloud platform.
Public cloud service providers offer an array of security services and tools to secure customer workloads, but your IT and security teams are responsible for protecting your data and applications. Private cloud provides visibility, control, security, and privacy for workloads that are better off under your direct protection. A private cloud could be right for you if, for example, your organization handles sensitive data such as credit card numbers or healthcare records, because you’ll have to meet stiff privacy compliance regulations such as those mandated by GDRP in Europe or FedRAMP in the US.
Security is probably the number one reason organizations choose private cloud, but data access at a reasonable cost is also important. With the right planning and execution, a private cloud provides many of the same basic benefits of public cloud including self-service, scalability, and greater business agility at lower cost than public cloud. Public cloud providers only charge you for the resources you consume, including bandwidth, storage, and VMs, but if your business already owns network, compute, and storage resources in your data center, they can be less expensive than a service provider’s monthly fees.
Be aware, however, that you’ll need on-premises IT to manage your private cloud, incurring expenses for staffing, management, maintenance, with CapEx similar to a traditional data center, as well as additional private cloud expenses for virtualization, cloud software, and cloud management tools.
When is a private cloud not entirely a private cloud?
Unless you’ve already got the on-premises infrastructure in place and a team of developers to create your own private cloud, it can be daunting—and cost-prohibitive—to build one. Instead, you can take advantage of the growing number of private cloud vendors that offer turnkey software or hosted management solutions for enterprises of all sizes.
Platforms like ZeroStack and other specialized vendors provide managed services that work like the public cloud, but leave your infrastructure on-premises. Hyperscale providers like Oracle and VMware can facilitate their customers’ private cloud deployments while also providing cloud hosting themselves or with public cloud partners like AWS..
The latest private cloud offering is from Microsoft with Azure Stack, a package made up of hardware that customers purchase from a certified vendor and software from Microsoft that mimics the tooling of its Azure public cloud platform.
How do you choose what cloud to deploy?
Traditional data center spending has dropped precipitously as public and private cloud adoption keeps growing. But private cloud adoption alone is also dropping as enterprises embrace a hybrid cloud strategy in which sensitive data such as medical or banking records are protected on a private cloud while enterprise apps (email, customer service, etc.) run in one or several public clouds. There are a myriad of ways to combine private and public cloud in a successful hybrid cloud approach. Your business needs to evaluate which workloads are best on which platform based on cost, security, and performance.
Surveying the Field of Private Cloud Vendors by Trevor Pott, Virtualization Review, July 21, 2017
Private Cloud Use Grows, and Zerostack Wants to Help Spin Them Up, by Zeus Kerravala, Network World, September 11, 2017
What is Private Cloud? by James Maguire, Datamation, August 1, 2017
Cisco, HPE, Dell EMC Fighting for Cloud Infrastructure Dominance by Scott Ferguson, Enterprise Cloud News, September 18, 2017
This Week’s TL;DR
If your company hasn’t gone there yet, a private cloud is probably in your future. You just have to choose from the myriad of options for deployment. You can use private cloud software like OpenStack (utilizing the many services and solutions built on OpenStack) to turn infrastructure you own and control into a private cloud. You can buy a turnkey solution with hardware and software that runs on-premises (e.g. Azure Stack). Or you can host your private cloud at a cloud service provider (sometimes called a virtual private cloud or hosted private cloud.)
If we here at HCS had a magic formula to tell you which one to choose, we’d be raising venture capital! Since that seems unlikely, we leave it to you to make the call based on your specific needs—and budget.