Cloud computing is a wide umbrella that encompasses a number of different classes, types and architectures of computer system resources. For commercial use, a feature that regularly distinguishes one type of cloud service from another is whether it is categorised as ‘private’ or ‘public’. While both private and public cloud computing services are delivered for individual businesses, private clouds are those that are exclusively accessible by that business — otherwise known as single tenant environments.
Often these are sought for the benefits that an additional layer of privacy can bring, which we go into greater detail in a separate article. However, there are a few discrete types of cloud platforms that are bracketed by the term ‘private cloud’, the most notable being private cloud hosting, as opposed, for instance, to internal private clouds or on-premise clouds. This can leave IT professionals, executives and others uncertain about which option provides the highest level of productivity and efficiency for their business.
In this article, we will unpack what private cloud hosting is, how it works, and what the distinct types of private cloud can mean for your business operations.
What is a Private Cloud?
In cloud computing, a private cloud is a cloud service that belongs solely to one organisation — otherwise known as a ‘single tenant environment’. All cloud resources, i.e. storage, databases, software applications, processing power and networks that are stored in a data centre which one enterprise or organisation has exclusive access to. This centre may be located physically on-site, facilitated or by a third-party solution vendor.
How do Private Clouds work?
In a single-tenant environment computing resources are the exclusive property of the user organisation (tenant). There are a range of different management and hosting options for this purpose: there could be infrastructure already present in that organisation’s system, or a new infrastructure can be provided by a third party organisation. In some cases, single-tenant infrastructure is permitted through virtualisation software — this is where software is used to extend data hardware for providing resources (storage, networking, servers or software applications etc. though we’ll return to this topic in more detail in a moment.
As we suggested earlier, however, there is no one-size fits all private cloud: a single tenant environment can be enabled through different means: internally, or through a hosted private cloud solution.
Can VMWare be a Private Cloud?
VMWare often comes up alongside queries about what private clouds are and what they aren’t. To confirm, VMWare is a cloud infrastructure provider than can pool servers into a single virtual cloud server — this is known as virtualisation, and it enables resources to be taken from underlying physical hardware and channelled into a limitless pool of digital resources like storage, memory and computer processes. That way, hardware can be used to its full potential and shared across numerous users and applications. The company that first enabled this function was, in fact, VMWare. The software currently supports hosted private clouds and internal private clouds.
What is an Internal Private Cloud?
While all internal clouds are private, not all private clouds are facilitated internally. An internal cloud is similar to what is conventionally known as an ‘on premise’ cloud. This is where a single tenant accesses the cloud platform via privately owned data hardware located on site, so as to provide convenient and exclusive access and faster processes. Internal private clouds are designed with cloud technology that this conventional on-premise solution lacks. They use virtualisation to optimise hardware for maximum impact, creating private clouds that are typically more powerful, scalable and efficient.
What are the benefits of Internal Private Clouds?
By situating its data centre onsite, an organisation is given complete control over customisation over computing resources it may lack compared to a public cloud. This in turn enables it to optimise computing capabilities to generate the highest level of performance and overall reliability — for instance, speeding up page loads for a company website, or the transfer of confidential reports in time-sensitive conditions. Here are some of the most commonly-cited perks that users of internal private clouds report:
Many organisations initially opt for internal private clouds as it only requires them to make a one-off user licence purchase. In some cases, this means the total cost of ownership is comparatively less than using a public cloud or a hybrid system. Unlike a licensing model, the software is an outright investment and will not incur ongoing costs to use the private cloud.
Since internal cloud software is licensed, this can provide greater protection for a company’s resources. All data is retained and maintained by the company, which is especially pertinent for extra-sensitive information. In business with dynamic, regularly evolving industries and requirements, the proprietary nature of private cloud hosting lets organisations like those in governance or financial services exercise direct and complete control over environments that entail a great deal of regulation and compliance.
When a computing system is powered by a private data centre located on-site, the ability to scale and configure the cloud server belongs to the enterprise that owns the data centre. That means that sensitive data should not need to leave the organisation, standard software can be modified and extended depending on the company’s needs without reliance on any external permissions beyond its existing IT department.
In some cases, internal staff will seek advice from experts outside their organisation, but with a view to curating the most appropriate and efficient environment bespoke to their company.
What is Private Cloud Hosting?
As the name suggests, a private cloud hosting retains the advantages of private clouds — exclusive access to software and computing resources, but unlike internal clouds, a hosted or ‘managed’ cloud service attends to the bespoke requirements of an enterprise or organisation. The private cloud is still a single-tenant environment, but it is managed by a third party that can install hardware and offer preliminary maintenance of the cloud software. It is crucial to remember that this is different from multi-tenancy or ‘hybrid’ systems, where a number of organisations share the architecture and services provided by a third-party solution vendor with other enterprises.
What are the key differences between Private Cloud Hosting and Internal Private Clouds?
While managed, internal on-premise environments allow enterprises to host their own infrastructure within a nearby data centre, a hosted private solution puts all hardware and connectivity into the hands of the provider, who can then offer maintenance and resolutions to issues as and when they arise. While a managed or on-site cloud solution can offer more protection, this in turn means the client organisation also shoulders the highest level of responsibility and costs in having to maintain the leverage over the infrastructure that this option gives it.
When companies are required to gather resources to build an on-site infrastructure, they also need to purchase additional hardware if they need more data capacity down the line. With a private cloud hosting solution, this is unnecessary, as the third party provider can handle the expansion of server utilities itself.
The benefits of Private Cloud Hosting
While hosted private cloud solutions facilitate single-tenant environments, they themselves are constituted by multiple servers which distribute and load data, i.e. traffic, across hardware. This reduces difficulties with a website’s capacity or page load speed. A worthy private cloud hosting service will harness the benefits of automation to support a consistent and highly reliable bandwidth, which can be vital when a company depends on an internal number of resources using this connection. This way, an enterprise can quickly execute processes in a streamlined fashion.
While on-premise or internal private clouds bear the advantage of putting all data under one roof and making it fully accessible to the enterprise that owns it, this benefit is also readily available from a hosted cloud solution. HIPAA or PCI compliance authorities often require an organisation to use a private cloud. If using a hosting provider, however, the organisation in question will no longer have the full responsibility of executing these regulations when it comes to controlling and protecting apps and data — for instance, via a high-security firewall.
Enterprises can encounter difficulties relating to scaling cost effectively. Hosted cloud solutions enable greater flexibility compared to the anticipated demands that an internal custom server will have. It also has the advantage of being both cost-effective in terms of additional resources and the time to adapt to new demands.
A private cloud hosting setup uses both dedicated or shared hardware which is then managed by the hosting provider, rather than the user organisation’s IT department. Either a dedicated SAN appliance is used alongside dedicated application and web servers, or the client enterprise uses an un-dedicated virtual server provided by the host vendor. In both scenarios, the host cloud provider can integrate with existing workflows in order to remove obstacles for end-users, in turn helping prevent performance issues and speedy adaptation to future changes. Resources are managed and reorganised for scalability purposes, without requiring much from the client organisation.
Private cloud hosting is used by numerous enterprises and organisations with a range of varied requirements, both at the front-end and back-end of their operations. Both internal private clouds or hosted private cloud solutions entail higher up-front investment in infrastructure and resources along with maintenance costs for new computing services. While hosted environments can remove the ongoing use of labour resources from a client’s IT department, other companies choose hybrid environments where there is a shared environment of resources like data and networking.
Redcentric has the expert skills, tech capabilities and experience to provide a managed private cloud solution that suits our customer’s diverse needs. We can help you develop and implement a private cloud system that we will maintain and manage, providing consistent updates that let you adapt to the changing cloud landscape. That way, your operations can be consistently enhanced to reach their full potential. Contact us today to discover what the right roadmap for your business might look like.