Virtual Private Clouds and How They Compare vs Public

Virtual Private Clouds

A virtual private clouds (referred to as simply private cloud from here on) is a happy marriage between traditional enterprise IT and cloud computing. Unlike public cloud implementations, the hosted services in a private cloud are behind a corporate firewall. The enterprise has more control over its data and applications in this kind of setup.

For the past couple of years, private clouds have emerged as the hottest subcategory under cloud computing, as it expands the power of the cloud to new industries such as finance and healthcare, which have high levels of regulatory compliance requirements.

Virtual Private Cloud

What are the advantages of private clouds?

  • Private clouds offer a higher level of security and regulatory compliance than most public cloud implementations. If you are storing critical data (such as patient health records or the financial transaction data of your customers), you might want to consider private cloud implementations that provide you with more tools to keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands.
  • Since your virtual servers don’t need to share data buses or processor time with the “noisy” servers of other companies, you can get higher levels of performance on a private cloud.
  • You have a higher level of control over your data.
  • You can avoid “vendor locks” – where you are tied to your CSP (cloud service provider) because it is quite hard to migrate elsewhere.
  • Greater scope for customizing the service to suit your enterprise needs.
  • The advantages of a private cloud over enterprise IT include more cost-effective datacenter management and higher levels of scalability.

What’s the catch?

The disadvantages of a private cloud include higher initial investment, less flexibility and higher cost of maintenance compared to a public cloud. In a public cloud implementation you have very little CapEx (capital expenditure) and most of the spending is OpEx (operating expenses). This leads to a low-friction initial adoption. Private clouds are also more complicated to setup and more expensive to maintain than public clouds. Thus, these might not be suitable for smaller enterprises that don’t have a very high data security requirement.

Who offers private cloud installations?

Most of the major cloud vendors offer virtual private clouds alongside their public clouds. Amazon VPC, Rackspace Managed Private Clouds and Microsoft Managed Private Cloud are among the leaders, though this market is not surprisingly more scattered than the public cloud market.

By Balaji Viswanathan

Scott Leatherman

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