What is a Private Cloud?
This article follows on from a previous article on Public Cloud which describes the benefits of the sharing IT resources for small businesses. It is recommended to read that article first.
Sharing of resource by small businesses is nothing new, For example all the businesses sharing office buildings perhaps having individual offices but sharing kitchen, toilets, power supply and often phone systems and Internet provision. Public Cloud is very much like this, the sharing of resources as much as appropriate but having that locked office door to keep individual businesses property secure.
This analogy can also be applied to Private Cloud, where a business could rent an office building but have the entire building to itself, with their own phone and Internet connection and their own receptionist or security guard on the front desk and probably their own maintenance team looking after the plumbing.
So to answer the question “what is Private Cloud” the following definition could be used: “The application of virtualisation and network technologies to provide a flexible and reactive computing environment where the pool of resources are ring fenced to an individual organisation”.
Unlike Public Cloud, Private Cloud doesn’t necessarily have to be hosted, it can exist as an on-premise solution; nor does it need to be big and expensive it could comprise a single physical server running several virtual server guests.
By utilising the same virtualisation technologies employed by Public Cloud businesses can easily and rapidly deploy IT resources to deal with critical functions. This may be bringing online some more web servers to deal with a peak in demand, increasing memory or CPU for existing business systems, or deploying development, test and live servers for a new application project.
Private Cloud is perhaps less frequently used by small businesses, the costs are generally higher than Public Cloud as there are fewer savings made by sharing infrastructure and technical expertise. Private Cloud platforms are usually managed by the organisations internal IT department. However, many small and medium businesses can benefit from the features a Private Cloud environment has to offer. In particular there may be situations where small businesses want the flexibility of Cloud but also need to demonstrate to regulators and governance bodies that they have total and exclusive control over their data and systems.
To summarise the features and benefits a Private Cloud solution would typically:
- Have a ring fenced pool of underlying resources
- Be flexible and easily scalable
- Be dedicated to one organisation
- Be hosted internally or externally
- Have a higher level of security and privacy
- Require management and administration by the organisations IT department or outsourced contractors
- Give administrators total control over resources
- Be more cost and energy efficient than traditional servers
- Be more resilient and reliable than traditional servers
- Be suitable for companies with strict data regulation and governance policies
- Be suitable for companies with mission critical workload
One approach adopted by Your Office Anywhere seeks to provide a Private Cloud system for small businesses without the need for the businesses to have dedicated IT resources looking after it. This is called Private Managed Cloud. It still has the dedicated pool of resources ring fenced for the businesses, typically by renting dedicated physical servers, but many of the day to day systems tasks are performed by the service provider. These will include backups, Antivirus, Windows updates as part of the service with the option of more advanced systems admin functions provided on an ad-hoc charge by the hour basis.
Sometimes business priorities change and the need to increase computing capacity outweighs security considerations. Organisations with Private Cloud can choose to utilise Public Cloud services, “Cloud bursting” into a Hybrid Cloud solution. For small businesses this could be as simple as running your normal businesses within a Private Cloud but utilising a cloud storage provider as a cheap way of storing archive documents. An example is a company that was having intermittent performance problems on a server which it turns out was due to running a huge and complex Excel spreadsheet. By moving the spreadsheet to a Public Cloud service and allocating as much resources as they needed they could negate the performance issues on the server and also complete the spreadsheet processing much quicker. This is a very simple example of Hybrid Cloud.
Hopefully this article on “What is Private Cloud” will have been useful but of course every business is different and it isn’t always appropriate or necessary to shoe horn businesses into one specific approach. Why not give Your Office Anywhere a call and discuss the specific objectives in your business where IT plays a part and we can help you decide whether Cloud can play a part.
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