A private cloud is a cloud computing model, which is only available for selected users via a private network or the internet. Each private cloud is a single-tenant-server or a cluster of servers, on which a virtualisation software is executed. The virtualisation layer provides virtual machines which – from the user’s perspective – are identical with normal cloud servers. Only an organisation has access to the physical hardware of a private cloud and only this organisation can start virtual servers in their cloud.
Two different services can be provided for users in a private cloud. These services are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). IaaS enables companies to utilise as a service the resources of the IT infrastructure, such as computers, memory and networks. PaaS allows to provide all types of applications in the cloud, from cloud-based apps to complex enterprise applications.
Types of Private Cloud
There are four different types of private clouds which can be operated as
- Internal Cloud
- Managed Cloud
- Hosted Cloud
- Community Cloud
With the internal cloud the company’s entire infrastructure is administered by in-house staff. Whereas with the managed private cloud the infrastructure is also located within the organisation but managed by an external service provider. In the case of the hosted private cloud, a company utilises the hardware provided at the premises of an external provider. The cloud is operated separately from other clouds of the provider and only made available to one user. The community cloud is a cloud computing model whereby several organisations, for example within a group of companies, access a common cloud.
Typical applications for private cloud are the provision of sales information for field staff from the in-house CRM system or product information, data sheets and construction documents – at any time and in any place. Depending on security requirements, access to data can not only be limited to certain persons, but also to registered mobile devices.
Differences between Private Cloud and Public Cloud
Intended exclusively for one company, the private cloud is an infrastructure, which is either hosted in the data centre of a cloud provider or locally at the premises of the organisation itself. In the case of a public cloud the entire infrastructure is always based in the buildings of the service provider. The hardware and infrastructure of the public cloud is always provided and maintained by the service provider. In comparison to the public cloud, private clouds offer for example the advantage of better control over infrastructure and hardware. However, the advantages are generally associated with higher costs. Therefore many companies offer a hybrid cloud solution, whereby only sensitive data is stored in a private cloud and non-critical data in a public cloud, provided for users via the internet.
Advantages & Disadvantages of the Private Cloud
The fact that private clouds, which are also described as internal or enterprise cloud, are only created for an individual organisation results in different advantages and disadvantages. It offers companies many advantages of a public cloud. This includes in particular fast provisioning, high user-friendliness and elasticity. In contrast to the public cloud, companies have full control relating to data protection and data security. Furthermore, the operator is the only user and therefore has advantages regarding performance. Private clouds enable adaptation of infrastructure and administration as per the company’s requirements and are therefore more flexible. The security and control level is highest when using a private network for the cloud infrastructure.
A primary disadvantage is that the initial costs for the set-up of a private cloud are higher due to the required hardware equipment. Infrastructures have to be built. Upgrade, maintenance and administration of the equipment increase operating costs. Through remote access to the private cloud, security and access problems can occur, in particular for mobile users.
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