What is Private Cloud?

When we talk about cloud computing, the general definition is of shared resources. This makes it difficult to conceptualize a cloud that is private. It can seem like an oxymoron. After all, isn’t it the sharing of resources and the scalability that makes a cloud a cloud?

However, private clouds can make a great deal of sense for many organizations, so it’s important to learn about them.

What’s The Difference Between a Virtualized Environment and a Private Cloud?

The first thing to tackle is the difference between a virtual environment (servers, networks, even virtual data centers) and a private cloud. After all, it would seem that they have very much in common. And indeed, the difference is in complexity, not in kind.

A virtual environment doesn’t have automation inherently built in to it. It may have some elements of automation, but it is not fully provisioned the way a private cloud would be. Virtual environments do not, in themselves, provide any self-service access to end-users. This is in stark contrast to the private cloud which is a self-service portal — a user enters through the portal, requests what he needs, and according to the automatic programming receives those resources as needed.

Why Would You Use A Private Cloud?

You could call it “living in your own data center” as opposed to a data center owned by someone else. There are a variety of reasons why this might make sense for an organization. Perhaps they already invested in the structure, or they like to have things behind their own firewall. Companies may be particularly secretive about their data, and utilize a private cloud to control as much is possible any possibility of a data breach.

For some types of data, there are compliance reasons why that information could never be stored in a public cloud. Other applications would suffer too greatly from performance and latency issues if they were not stored locally. Finally, a company may use applications that would not make financial sense to redesign such that they would be visible on a public cloud. Behind a private firewall they may be fine, but not in the public cloud.

Limitations of Private Cloud

Although there are a number of good reasons for a private cloud, everything has its limitations.

Perhaps the largest limitation, is the difficulty of integrating third-party applications utilized by the organization but not stored in the private cloud. User access and permissions become complex and there is frequently pushback within the organization.

Another reason is that while a private cloud may be more secure, it may not be the most cost-effective option, requiring difficult conversations about risk tolerance and mitigation.

So, as you can see, a private cloud is not such a foreign idea and for many organizations it will be a very attractive option for their cloud needs.

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