What Is a Private Cloud? Definition, Types, and Features

Have you ever felt limited by your computer’s storage or processing power?  

Imagine having access to a seemingly endless amount of computing resources, like a virtual supercomputer, whenever you need it. This is the promise of a private cloud.

Cloud management platforms make it easy to use a private cloud by providing centralized management, improving resource utilization, and reducing costs.

Private clouds offer the benefits of cloud computing, like on-demand scalability, flexibility, and self-service, with the added advantage of high security and control over your data.

Private clouds do require some initial investment and ongoing management expertise. However, for organizations that prioritize the ultimate security and control over their data while still seeking the agility and scalability of cloud computing, private clouds offer a compelling solution.

How does the private cloud work?

Private clouds rely on virtualization technology to create a pool of shared resources. Imagine a large warehouse with various computing components (servers, storage). This allows users to run multiple applications and workloads on a single physical server, maximizing efficiency and utilization.

Virtualization allows physical computing resources like servers, storage, and networking to be divided into virtual machines (VMs) and virtual networks. These VMs act like individual computers, allowing users to run applications and store data. This creates a flexible pool of resources that can be easily scaled up or down as needed.

Self-service lets authorized users within the organization access the resources they need on-demand through a user-friendly portal. This means users can request VMs, storage, or network resources without needing to involve the IT department every time.

Private cloud vs. public cloud vs. hybrid cloud

A public cloud enables a third-party service provider to deliver services such as infrastructure, platforms, and software over the Internet for use by the general public. The service providers typically own, operate, and deliver the services using their own data centers.

Customers consume the services on demand and pay only for the bandwidth, storage, and CPU cycles they consume, along with other services such as monitoring, load balancing, and data transfer. Public cloud offers the flexibility to quickly burst, grow, or shrink resource consumption as needed.

Under a private cloud, an organization provisions services for a single end-user organization to consume. The end-user organization may own and operate the private cloud, or it may pay an external service provider to take on these responsibilities.

Organizations often use private clouds for mission-critical workloads with specific performance, availability, or security requirements. Private clouds offer organizations the versatility of cloud computing while preserving control, efficiency, and security.

A hybrid cloud combines elements of private and public cloud. Some workloads run on-premises, while others run in a service provider or public cloud and are portable between them. It aspires to seamless interoperability among clouds so that administrators’ management experience is essentially the same whether the workloads are on-prem or in the public cloud.

Types of private cloud

Private clouds come in various types, each tailored to specific organizational needs and deployment preferences.

  • On-premises private cloud: This is the most traditional type of private cloud, where the cloud infrastructure is deployed on a company’s own hardware and software within its data center. The company is responsible for managing and maintaining the entire infrastructure.
  • Managed private cloud: In this model, the cloud infrastructure is still located on-premises, but it is managed by a third-party cloud provider. This frees up the company’s IT staff to focus on other tasks.
  • Hosted private cloud: With a hosted private cloud, the cloud infrastructure is located off-premises at a cloud provider’s data center. However, the resources are dedicated to a single company, so they are not shared with other customers.
  • Virtual private cloud (VPC): A VPC is a private cloud environment created within a public cloud infrastructure. It provides a level of isolation and security similar to a traditional private cloud but offers the scalability and elasticity of a public cloud.
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Private cloud features

If you’re going to get the return (and the transformation) you are looking for from the private cloud; the following features are all required rather than simply “nice to have”:

  • Simple self-service so that developers and internal users can quickly access their resources on demand.
  • Automation and orchestration via APIs for fast and easy customization of your environment.
  • Intelligent, one-click operations that allow non-disruptive software installs, upgrades, and workload placement.
  • Dynamic scalability so that you can ramp up your resources as rapidly as your business grows.
  • Chargeback and showback for simplified cost governance.
  • Consolidated storage services to eliminate block, file, and object storage silos and to increase resiliency and scalability.
  • Robust data protection (such as snapshots, replication, and cloning), including simple integration with third-party backup services, ensures seamless business continuity.
  • Built-in disaster recovery to reliably meet your RPO and RTO requirements without the overhead of traditional DR.
  • Cutting-edge security that monitors the health of your storage and VMs and automatically heals any issues. It should also include data-at-rest encryption and policy-based microsegmentation.
  • Straightforward public cloud integration to remove any obstacles to your hybrid cloud.

Reasons to migrate to a private cloud

Public cloud serves an array of use cases, which is why companies continue to invest in this approach. However, a recent survey found that many organizations are migrating workloads back from the public cloud to on-premises infrastructure. There are several reasons for this trend.

Cost

Public cloud is great for flexibility, but on-premises can be more cost-effective for predictable workloads. Public cloud charges are based on usage, so it’s ideal for variable workloads that spike or dip. Conversely, predictable workloads like databases, ERP systems, big data, and analytics cost less to run on-premises hardware you already own.

Public cloud billing can be complex, while on-premises offers clearer cost breakdowns. Public cloud bills reflect total usage, making it hard to allocate costs. On-premises, you can factor in hardware, software, facilities, power, and IT staff to get a clearer picture.

Metering and chargeback

A key component of any cloud environment—public or private—is being able to monitor resource consumption and allocate it to business initiatives. While public clouds simply send you an overall bill at the end of the month based on your actual consumption, in a private cloud and through ERP consolidation solutions, you can consolidate upfront paid sunk costs when creating spending reports.

Private cloud lets you see where your money goes – charge departments for their cloud usage. This granular cost visibility can help identify areas for optimization and promote departmental accountability. But remember to factor in data center costs (space, power, IT staff) for a true cost comparison. When building a private cloud, a total cost of ownership (TCO) based costing model is essential to capture all expenses associated with running your own infrastructure.

Service-level agreements 

Organizations contract with their cloud providers to provide certain baseline levels of service around key metrics, such as performance and availability, which are outlined in service level agreements (SLAs). However, the public cloud delivers services over the internet, and the physical distance and network connectivity in the last mile can cause latency issues that are unacceptable for certain mission-critical workloads with strict SLA requirements.

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It’s important to consider availability planning for both private and public cloud options, including the potential for downtime or being unable to access resources. With a private cloud, you have more control and visibility into the infrastructure, and organizations can tailor their resources to meet their exact requirements, including disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Security

Public cloud environments introduce a shared responsibility model, which can be confusing for some organizations. A lack of clarity around this arrangement and a lack of technical domain knowledge lead to misconfiguration, and blind spots can ultimately leave the end user’s data and applications vulnerable to attack.

With a private cloud, you have more control over resources and can enforce security policies more easily. Since you manage the entire infrastructure, you can implement stricter access controls and have greater visibility into potential security threats. Additionally, private cloud environments can be built to meet specific industry compliance standards.

Compliance

Public cloud regulations might dictate where your data lives, which makes it hard to track data location, causing compliance headaches. Data residency requirements can be a challenge with the public cloud, as data may be stored across different geographical regions depending on the provider’s infrastructure.

A private cloud lets you control where your data resides, simplifying compliance. You can ensure your data stays within specific geographic boundaries to meet regulatory requirements. Private cloud environments offer greater transparency into data location, making it easier to comply with data privacy regulations.

Benefits of private cloud for businesses

With the rise of cloud computing, IT is emerging as a strategic partner to the business. Many companies look to the private cloud both to increase IT efficiency and to accelerate innovation.

Greater IT efficiency

A private cloud automates tasks like provisioning, updates, and data protection, freeing IT staff for more strategic work. Self-service options empower developers and users, further streamlining processes. Moving from siloed infrastructure to a single management interface for all workloads saves time, reduces costs, and improves overall visibility.

Speeding access to resources

Developers and application owners simply can’t do their jobs when it takes weeks or longer to get the resources they need to develop, run, and change their applications. With a private cloud, they get self-service access to resources, reducing time to market and accelerating innovation. 

Rationalizing deployment

Another bottleneck with traditional IT is deployment. Users can wait weeks or more for new applications to get the IT resources they require to see the light of day. By standardizing infrastructure services and developing with those services in mind, a private cloud can support more rapid deployment and enable CI/CD.

Increasing automation

Manual tasks and workflows are the sand in the gears – or worse. It’s nearly impossible to scale application delivery without automation. A private cloud should enable automation so that IT teams can deploy, operate, and scale infrastructure and application stacks with less effort while providing IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to empower development and business teams.

Facilitating data access and analysis

Data is an organization’s lifeblood. The right private cloud should make data more accessible and easier to integrate, accelerating analysis and deepening insight. It must also be able to handle the different types of data and storage that the workloads require and the business demands. Having file, block, and object data under the same roof increases efficiencies and facilitates the extraction of insights. 

Supporting both traditional and cloud-native applications

Only startups get a clean slate. Established enterprises often have tens or hundreds of traditional business applications that they must continue to support, even as they make new investments in cloud-native applications. Most enterprises need a private cloud that can flexibly support both models.

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Fail fast and learn

Not all innovation projects are destined to succeed. Failure is a part of innovation. A private cloud makes it easier to resource new development and application projects quickly. Fruitful ideas grow and add resources by scaling out; unsuccessful ideas release their resources and make room for the next effort.

In sum, the private cloud increases IT efficiency thanks to simpler operations and greater uptime. It accelerates innovation by providing developers, testers, and app owners with fast access to resources while clearing the path for new applications to be released. It lowers complexity, which not only reduces IT costs but also decreases the risk of downtime.

Challenges of using private cloud

A successful private cloud deployment is by no means assured. It must be properly designed. Many existing private clouds suffer from one or more of the following challenges:

Rigid architecture

Your private cloud may need to adapt to a variety of application needs, from traditional enterprise applications to cloud-native applications. Inflexible hardware and infrastructure software can make that difficult.

Siloed data services

Enterprise environments typically have a need for a private cloud with block and file storage services, in addition to the object storage common in the public cloud. Meeting those needs may require deploying and managing different hardware for each data service, adding cost and complexity.

Separate storage pools decrease overall capacity utilization and limit flexibility. With data playing such a critical role in digital transformation, the importance of addressing this challenge shouldn’t be overlooked.

Fragile automation

A private cloud with an inflexible architecture and complex data services inevitably makes automation harder. As a result, creating automation is more time-consuming, automation failures are more likely, and troubleshooting and maintenance are more complex. Moreover, automation tools that are fully integrated into the platform add another layer of complexity. 

Inadequate performance and availability

In a private cloud environment, you may have less visibility into each workload’s performance requirements, and workloads can also change more quickly as users start and stop VMs and applications.

As a result, some workloads can become “noisy neighbors,” taking more than their share of resources and negatively impacting the performance of others. Badly architected private clouds can also introduce single points of failure, bottlenecks, and other flaws that undermine availability.

Difficult scaling

In a busy and growing private cloud environment, it can be difficult to predict when you’ll run out of performance, especially I/O performance. With multiple types of storage needed, scaling can be disruptive and expensive. The right architecture should simplify scaling; the right tools should simplify monitoring resource consumption while facilitating capacity planning and scenario testing.

The more of these challenges and deficiencies your private cloud is burdened with, the more complex the environment is to manage and the more expensive it becomes in terms of both CapEx and OpEx.

No more traffic jams on digital highways

This article has discussed the many advantages that organizations can gain from deploying a private cloud powered by a next-generation HCI core. However, even more important than the technology itself is having a deep understanding of your requirements.

Be sure you know exactly what problems you are trying to solve. Technology can’t fix people’s and process problems. Once you have done a thorough analysis, you will be positioned to build the optimal private cloud for your immediate business and technical needs and your journey to a hybrid cloud. 

Learn how to streamline the way you build and manage the underlying infrastructure for a private cloud using hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). 


This article was originally published in 2020. It has been updated with new information.

منبع: https://learn.g2.com/what-is-private-cloud