Cloud servers have increased in popularity over the years and show no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s the norm for many businesses to enlist the help of a private cloud to house apps and data securely.
Private cloud, a type of cloud server, grants specific access to authorised users so they can access files, utilise software and much more. There are tons of other reasons why many opt for these types of servers, so here we’ll discuss what a private cloud is, how they work, the types of private cloud on the market, their pros and cons, and how a private cloud differs from a public cloud.
What is a private cloud?
A private cloud, as the name suggests, is a form of cloud computing where you can gain access to a variety of services and resources, including but not limited to servers, storage, networks and similar. As they’re private, they’re designed with security in mind but are also highly customisable depending on what the user or business needs it for. A private cloud can be hosted internally within a business, in a data centre somewhere else in the world, or by a third-party hosting provider.
How private cloud works
Dedicated servers differ from cloud servers in the sense of one is housed physically, and the other is virtual. In a private cloud, computing resources like SSD, RAM and CPU are dedicated to a single organisation or user group (not to be confused with a dedicated server). Whoever is in charge of controlling access to the private cloud, usually an IT department, will have the means to grant access to specific users within a business. It’s easy to access a private cloud server by simply using a web browser, though some may opt to use client software for added security.
A private cloud can also be scaled up and down, depending on how much resource is needed by a business. While a hosting provider will typically provide pre-set packages, it’s possible to configure your own private cloud settings to match your business needs.
Curious about dedicated and Bare Metal servers? Check out our Bare Metal vs Cloud servers post to get a well-rounded view of how these types of servers differ.
Types of private cloud
Here are the types of private cloud out there users can choose from:
1. On-premises private cloud
We mentioned above that an internal or corporate cloud is synonymous with a private cloud. It’s also used as an on-premises private cloud. An on-premises private cloud allows a business to manage all the components within the cloud such as hardware, software and networking. They’re typically preferred by businesses who want full control (or full root access) to their private cloud, but they need to be managed by those skilled in IT to effectively manage them.
2. Managed private cloud
A managed cloud is a private cloud built and managed by a third party hosting provider. It’s a great solution for businesses who need external support with integrating their needs, but lack the resources to do it themselves. Managed cloud services are maintained by the hosting provider, but the configuration and management of a company’s data is managed internally by the business. So while there is still an element of control, businesses won’t have to worry about the set up or infrastructure of the private cloud server themselves.
3. Virtual private cloud
A virtual private cloud is a private cloud that sits within a public cloud. This doesn’t mean it’s available to the public – in fact, the cloud hosting provider will isolate a proportion of the public cloud to house your very own virtual private cloud. The reason some businesses prefer this method is due to the scalability of a public cloud setting, while still having the security that comes with a private cloud in order to store sensitive data, host websites and run other tasks.
Why use a private cloud?
There are many reasons some may wish to opt for private cloud servers to store their data. Let’s dive into some of them:
1. They’re secure
Private clouds are highly secure, which is why many companies, particularly large ones or those with critical data, tend to opt for them. While no type of server is 100% secure (there’s always that chance of an attack, however small), a private cloud is isolated to a particular business that only they know about. Plus, access can be configured at the admin level, meaning they can choose who can and can’t access the private cloud.
A private cloud can also be reinforced with firewalls, data encryption and other means to detect internal and external threats. One of these ways is through a VPN, which acts as a data encryption measure to secure connections to the private cloud.
2. Customisation potential
Private clouds are fully customisable as they usually come with full root access, allowing you to implement updates, software and apps for your intended use. This is especially useful if you have complex business needs, require automation for the smooth-running of a business, or need additional security to handle sensitive data.
3. It’s cost-effective in the long run
Setting up a private server may seem costly to begin with, however, they’re worth the investment. This is because you’ll have a set payment as opposed to a public cloud, where an increase in usage can make your payments fluctuate over time. With a private cloud, you can use as much of its resources as you need, without worrying about an increase in cost.
Advantages of private cloud
While some of our reasons to use a private cloud cover a few pros, here’s the low-down of all the advantages to consider.
1. Robust security
Private clouds are used by a business alone, meaning the administrator can grant and revoke permissions whenever they need to. Plus, the resources allocated to a private cloud aren’t shared with other businesses and are kept behind a firewall, so the risk of a security breach is fairly low.
2. Full control
With a private cloud, you have full root access to control resource allocation, infrastructure, network settings, apps and software installation. These are just some of the many control you have over a private cloud, and the advantage here is you can customise the private cloud to every need of the business.
3. They’re scalable
Private clouds can be scaled up or down as required. So if your business is growing and you need more resources, you can scale more components whenever you want.
4. They can prevent data loss
Cloud providers, including private clouds, offer backup and disaster recovery features. Storing data in the cloud rather than locally (or just relying on physical storage) can help prevent data loss in the event of an emergency, such as hardware malfunction, malicious threats, or even a user error made by accident.
5. Save resources and costs
We mentioned long-term cost savings previously, and while this is still a valid point, they can also save IT resources too. This is because a private cloud only needs a set amount of time to be configured to how a business needs it. Then once that’s done, it can be maintained regularly while IT employees focus on other business needs.
Disadvantages of private cloud
A private cloud has many benefits, but that doesn’t mean they’re suitable for absolutely everyone. Here are some disadvantages of a private cloud you may need to be aware of before investing in one.
1. The cost
We hate to contradict ourselves here, but when costs are involved, the initial startup cost for a private cloud is fairly high. This is something businesses will have to factor in, as they’ll eventually reap the awards further down the line. However, this is still something to consider when picking a storage and operational solution.
2. They’ll need specific management
Configuring an unmanaged private cloud will require a specific skill set to ensure data security, software and resource allocation are handled correctly. This can be tough when you do not have dedicated IT personnel to help.
3. They’ll need ongoing maintenance
While a private cloud can free up an IT team to work on other projects, the ongoing maintenance required, particularly in a large business setting, can be a huge job in itself.
Private cloud vs public cloud – which is better?
When it comes to the private cloud vs public cloud discussion, the bottom line is that it entirely depends on your needs.
A private cloud may be more beneficial for businesses that want to ensure no one other than authorised employees can access their resources. However, public clouds are operated by third-party providers, meaning there are very little means of gaining control. This could also be seen as a benefit to some who may not have the technical expertise to manage their own private cloud.
In terms of security, private cloud servers are way more secure, as they sit behind a firewall and have certain conditions that must be met for someone to gain access to it. Comparing this to a public cloud, the latter is often shared by multiple people, which could be in or out of your organisation. Naturally, this raises some security concerns.
From a scalability perspective, public clouds may be favoured if a business’s needs fluctuate quite regularly. Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh up whether this benefit outweighs the unmatched security of a fully optimised private cloud.