3 min read

What are the advantages of private cloud and who should use it?

16 February 2021

There is an increasing trend towards the deployment of private cloud – a trend IDC say has been happening since 2018 – but which organisations is it right for, and why? Let’s explore.

[Learn more about the different types of cloud, including a video explaining private cloud]

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Benefits of private cloud over public

A managed cloud service means migrating your IT system to a third-party’s hardware, hosted on either a dedicated (private) or shared (public) platform. There are several reasons why a company might choose private cloud over public:

1. Private cloud is dedicated to you

With an exclusive cloud service just for your organisation, you don’t get the ‘noisy neighbour’ factor, which can restrict services and increase latency. Your private cloud will be designed with plenty of capacity for everyone to access the resources they need, without any shoulder-barging.

2. Security

This doesn’t mean that private cloud is automatically more secure than public – public cloud providers are committed to maintaining very high levels of security – but the difference here is that your data is kept to your own servers. This means that physical security tends to be better, and you can tailor the security protocols precisely to your needs. This is especially advantageous – and even essential – for those organisations that are required to comply with specific privacy regulations, such as those operating in the financial services or healthcare sectors.

3. Customisation

The ability to personalise your cloud is another key reason to choose private over public cloud. Whether you are managing your private cloud in-house or if you have outsourced cloud management to a third party, as the sole occupier you should be able to create a service that exactly meets your organisation’s needs – while still having the access-from-anywhere and elasticity advantages of public cloud services.

Who uses private cloud services?

Thanks to the advantages above, private cloud services are popular with organisations in the financial services and healthcare sectors, but it also has a broader appeal to any business wanting a flexible IT solution, but needing/wanting total control over its security. Generally (but not exclusively) private cloud is used by larger companies with the technical knowhow to manage it. This is partly because it’s not unusual for an organisation to use their own IT infrastructure (i.e. servers, storage arrays, networking infrastructure, etc.) to host the cloud and to manage it via their own IT department. However, this comes with limitations.

There are also private cloud service providers who can supply the infrastructure and/or management as a bespoke service, making private cloud available to much smaller companies. They will also be able to support your compliance goals and act as consultants to help you figure out your ongoing needs as your business develops.

It should be noted that private cloud does typically come with a bigger initial outlay than public cloud – but the total cost of ownership can be much less, since private cloud users tend to maintain tighter control over costs.

For longstanding organisations migrating from a legacy on-premises infrastructure, private cloud can be a much easier migration compared to public cloud thanks to the bespoke nature of the service.

Is my business a good fit for private cloud?

To understand whether your business is a good fit for private cloud, you need to ask yourself a few key questions.

  • Am I especially concerned about security and regulatory compliance?
  • Do I have legacy applications that would be difficult to migrate to the one-size-fits-all public cloud?
  • Is my resource utilization relatively predictable and/or stable? (Private cloud does have elasticity but because you are the sole tenant there is a risk that you will end up paying over the odds for underutilized servers if your usage varies widely.)
  • Would my business benefit from a more bespoke service?

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, private cloud could be a good fit for you.

It is also necessary to consider whether you intend to manage it in-house or if you prefer to outsource some or all of the provision to a third party.  While managing your cloud in-house might seem like the most straight forward option, there are factors to consider:

  • There are considerable costs for power, cooling and connectivity, as well as hardware upgrades and maintenance, and IT support. These costs can be simplified and actually reduced by using the infrastructure of a cloud provider.
  • Do you have the expertise and/or resources to manage this cloud? Moving your system to a private cloud could upgrade your company's IT, but if you don't have the right expertise then your options are limited. And even if you're equipped to build a private cloud, it might be a better use of your team's time to focus them on other business-critical IT projects.

Your options also go beyond a simple private vs public choice – there are alternatives. You could take all your existing IT servers and put them into colocation in a data centre, saving yourself money on those server room running costs and gaining greater performance, resilience and redundancy as a result. Or you could opt for a mix – so-called Hybrid IT – through which you can optimise efficiency and spending, choosing the right architecture for the right application.

If you need help understanding your choices, you can check out this handy infographic comparing colocation vs cloud, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can set up a call with one of our cloud consultants here.

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