Private cloud describes an on-demand cloud deployment model where cloud computing services and infrastructure are hosted privately, within a company’s own intranet or data center, using proprietary resources. The company oversees the management, maintenance, and operation of the private cloud. A company that wishes to use cloud computing services may choose between a private cloud (where cloud services are hosted by the company) and a public cloud (where cloud services are hosted by a provider), or a combination of the two, known as a hybrid cloud.
Cloud computing allows organizations to move to compute power, data storage, and other services off of on-premises servers and onto remote servers that employees or customers can access via the Internet. These cloud computing services may be shared and public, or distinct to the organization that owns it. Private cloud is a cloud deployment model where computing resources are dedicated and proprietary, and a single organization hosts and manages the system internally. Companies may combine a private cloud with a public cloud in a hybrid cloud environment.
With cloud computing, instead of storing resources or data on a physical server in one location, remote servers host cloud-based services and data. Employees can access these services or information on the company network from any location, via the Internet. Companies may choose to host their own private cloud that only their employees can access or use shared space on a public cloud. For the employee, the experience of using a service that is hosted in a private cloud is indistinguishable from using a public cloud, or even a service that is locally hosted.
Private cloud is a cloud computing model that is often necessary to meet specific security needs or compliance requirements. Because the owner maintains complete control over a private cloud, not only can organizations ensure tighter security, they also benefit from better availability and more uptime than a public cloud can offer.
Consequently, an organization might choose to use a private cloud for mission-critical operations or sensitive data storage. Hosting a private cloud does not exclude using a public cloud at the same time—this common configuration where a private and a public cloud co-exist is known as a hybrid cloud environment.
A private cloud offers similar benefits to a public cloud, but with more control. Along with that control comes an additional cost to set up the infrastructure to support the private cloud. A private cloud does offer some other benefits over a public cloud—private clouds provide stronger security than public clouds because computing resources aren’t shared with other companies. However, in addition to the infrastructure costs, a private cloud is more costly to host and manage than a public cloud, and harder to scale. Many organizations find that a hybrid cloud (a combination of public and private clouds) offers a good balance of security and availability versus cost and ease of scalability.
There are different types of private clouds that deliver different cloud services. When companies use a private cloud for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the cloud might host storage, networking, or compute services. Private clouds can also support platform as a service (PaaS) applications, which work just like regular software applications that are hosted on a local computer.
There are also a variety of types of private cloud hosting options, including software-only platforms, combined software and hardware packages, and hosted or managed private clouds, where the private cloud server may live on the customer’s premises or in a vendor’s data center, but is hosted and sometimes managed by a vendor. Some public cloud service providers also offer virtual public clouds, which create small, isolated environments for specific users. Virtual private clouds are different from private clouds because the resources in a virtual private cloud exist in a walled-off area on a public cloud instead of being hosted on-premises.
A hosted private cloud is a private cloud that is hosted by a separate cloud service provider on-premises or in a data center, but the server is not shared with other organizations. The cloud service provider is responsible for configuring the network and maintaining the hardware for the private cloud, as well as keeping the software updated. This option provides the best of both worlds for organizations who require the security and availability of a private cloud but prefer not to invest in an in-house data center.
A managed private cloud is a step up from a hosted private cloud, although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. With a managed private cloud, a cloud service provider not only hosts a private cloud for an organization, but it also manages and monitors the day-to-day operations of the private cloud. The cloud service provider may also deploy and update additional cloud-based services such as storage and identity management or security audits. A managed private cloud server can save a company considerable time and IT resources.
A private cloud offers total system control and increased security through dedicated hardware and physical infrastructure that’s used exclusively by the company that owns it. Because the hardware is dedicated and not used by any other organization, workload performance for cloud services is never affected by another company running resource-intensive workloads on a shared server or by a public cloud service outage.
While it can be expensive to set up the infrastructure to support a private cloud, if an organization already has the hardware and network required for hosting, a private cloud can be much more cost-effective long-term compared to paying monthly fees to use someone else’s servers on the public cloud. If an organization outgrows its existing hardware resources, it can easily add more. If the growth is temporary or seasonal, an organization can move to a hybrid cloud solution, incurring minimal usage fees by using the public cloud only when necessary. In addition, the costs of using a public cloud can be very unpredictable—with a private cloud, costs are the same each month, regardless of the workloads an organization is running.
Because companies have complete control over a private cloud, it is much easier to reallocate resources and tailor the cloud to perform specifically according to requirements that the company defines. IT managers have access to every level of settings in their private cloud environment—they are not limited by policies set by public cloud service providers.
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