What Is Private Cloud?
Private cloud is a cloud computing model where resources are owned and maintained for the exclusive use of a single organization. A private cloud combines the scalability and accessibility of cloud computing with the control, security, and customizability of an on-premises data center.
The user organization is typically responsible for all private cloud hardware, software, and operations, whether the infrastructure is hosted on-premises or in a colocation facility.
How Private Cloud Works
A private cloud is a type of IT infrastructure that is configured to share resources over the internet instead of a local area network (LAN) or virtual private network (VPN).
Because it is based in the data center, a private cloud deployment may be a first step in the digital transformation of an organization’s mature, robust infrastructure. Many organizations will begin this transition by reconfiguring their networks to support cloud operations that are hosted in an existing data center.
Benefits of Private Cloud Computing
A private cloud offers an organization the flexibility of cloud operations combined with control over computing, storage, and networking resources that characterizes an on-premises IT infrastructure. The private cloud is fully customizable and can be configured to provide on-demand data availability, reliability, and support for mission-critical workloads.
Private clouds also offer control over security and privacy to improve data governance. This aspect of the private cloud can help to ensure compliance with requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, and other governmental, military, or industrial requirements concerning privacy and security.
Because private clouds are more scalable than a traditional data center, they can respond quickly to changing workload demands. The organization’s IT team can set up a self-service portal and spin up a virtual machine in minutes. They can also enable a single-tenant environment in which software can be customized to meet the organization’s needs.
Private cloud deployment can also be an excellent choice to optimize computing costs. Over the long term, running certain workloads on a private cloud may lead to a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as the cloud can allocate computing power and resources more efficiently.
On the other hand, managing a private cloud on-premises requires higher capital costs, especially if the IT infrastructure is outdated or inadequate. For some organizations, the capital expense or lack of in-house expertise may lead them to choose a managed or hosted private cloud. In those scenarios, the hardware is maintained by a service provider and reserved for the organization’s exclusive use, under terms of a lease or other contractual arrangement.
Private Cloud Architecture
A private cloud can be designed and built within the on-premises data center as a virtualized, managed, or hosted environment, according to the needs of the individual organization and its specific applications.
Virtual Private Cloud
In a virtual private cloud, resources are abstracted from the physical hardware and shared among virtual machines (VMs) or containers. The shared resources, including compute power, storage, memory, and networking capacity, can be managed more efficiently in a virtualized cloud where they are uncoupled from physical hardware.
Virtual private cloud resources can be allocated to the VMs or containers dynamically, avoiding the limitations of a traditional, more static model that assigns specific, partitioned areas to each application or group.
The virtualized or containerized cloud is inherently portable, and it can be migrated easily to a managed or hosted environment or to a public cloud, for greater flexibility.
Hosted Private Cloud
A hosted private cloud typically resides on a server or servers reserved for the organization’s exclusive use, either on-premises or in a remote colocation facility. The organization’s IT team is responsible for managing and maintaining the hardware and the full technology stack, even if the server is located off-site.
Managed Private Cloud
Some service providers offer managed private cloud solutions that offer all the benefits of private cloud with fewer burdens on the organization’s own IT team. The managed private cloud is fully dedicated to a single customer organization, but the service provider hosts and maintains the infrastructure. In some cases, the service provider may also own the hardware itself. A managed private cloud is typically more expensive than a private cloud that is hosted and maintained by the organization itself.
Some organizations may prefer a managed private cloud to help accelerate this aspect of cloud adoption, especially if they lack the in-house expertise required to support such a move.
Private Cloud Use Cases
A private cloud infrastructure is best for hosting cloud services in certain situations. These use cases are most common among government, defense, scientific, and engineering organizations. However, the need for a private cloud can also arise in any business, especially when it is necessary to:
- Protect sensitive information, including intellectual property
- Meet data sovereignty or compliance requirements
- Ensure high availability, as with mission-critical applications
- Support internally developed or legacy applications
In some cases, a virtual private cloud is the best choice to provide an on-demand pool of computing resources that is isolated and designated for approved users. This model offers an extra layer of control for privacy and security.
Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud
A private cloud is a single-tenant environment, where all the computing resources are reserved for the exclusive use of one organization. The public cloud, on the other hand, is a shared environment. Hundreds or thousands of customers may be hosted by an independent cloud service provider (CSP) that owns and maintains the infrastructure.
As with a utility like electricity, a private cloud is owned and operated like a user-owned generator, while the CSP manages the public cloud like the electric company. Customers have their own individual accounts, but access to the public cloud infrastructure is shared according to the terms of each customer’s contract.
Public cloud services are typically offered either on a fixed subscription or a more variable pay-per-use basis. These are operational costs, as the organization does not need to manage or invest in capital equipment to support the cloud infrastructure.
Public cloud services offer a great deal of flexibility because they can scale up or down according to the customer’s changing needs without requiring any additional hardware or personnel.
Private clouds are inherently more controllable, and they can be more secure. However, a private cloud that is built on legacy hardware can incur technical debt that may hinder the pace of the organization’s digital transformation.
Private Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud
A more traditional organization might begin with private cloud deployments and transition some applications and workloads to the public cloud over time. Other, newer organizations and technologies are “born in the cloud” but eventually find that some workloads are better suited to a private cloud environment. Both approaches lead to a hybrid cloud infrastructure that can offer the control and security of a private cloud for some applications and data while providing the flexibility and reduced capital expense of the public cloud for other aspects of the technology stack.
Each organization, and each application, has specific needs and parameters, including cost, privacy, technical specifications, and business goals. Those needs and objectives must shape the choice of cloud deployment models, whether workloads are placed with a public cloud service provider, hosted on the organization’s own private cloud, managed by a third-party provider, or in a combination of those options.
Intel® Solutions for Private Cloud
Intel® technologies power private and public clouds all over the world with highly tuned hardware, including Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors for high performance computing and Intel® Ethernet Network Adapters for reliable, high-bandwidth connectivity. In addition, Intel® Select Solutions provide off-the-shelf solutions from Intel partners for fast and easy deployment.
Many organizations are best served by a hybrid cloud approach. Intel® architecture and our vast ecosystem support combinations of public and private cloud that provide the best performance on Intel® technologies for agile, portable, and scalable solutions.
Private Cloud Developer Resources
While setting up a private cloud requires IT expertise, there are a wide range of cloud developer resources available to help. These include software for virtualization, orchestration, and containers from providers like Microsoft Azure and VMware. Many of these software products have been optimized for Intel® architecture to help improve performance. Intel is also a contributor to a variety of open source enterprise technologies, such as Kubernetes and OpenStack.
In addition, some major CSPs offer private cloud deployment options to help support their customers’ hybrid cloud strategies and integrate with—or transition to—public cloud services. These CSP-provided private cloud services include Microsoft Azure Stack, AWS Outposts, Cisco Hybrid Cloud Platform for Google Cloud, and Google Cloud’s Anthos.
Private Cloud and Digital Transformation
A private cloud can help organizations transition seamlessly to a cloud-based infrastructure that may ultimately lead to deployment of some or all of their workloads in the public cloud. Conversely, organizations that begin with cloud-native infrastructure and applications and workloads may choose to return some or all their workloads to the private cloud. Either path can lead to a hybrid cloud infrastructure that offers the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, the decision to implement a private cloud will depend on what works best for your organization, including the required level of control, security, and cost, in order to achieve its business goals.