Cloud computing has completely transformed the way business organizations use IT both inside and outside of their organization. In spite of the economic benefits offered by public cloud services, organizations are reluctant to move their infrastructure outside their premises. However, they also want to apply the lessons learned from public clouds to better optimize the resource usage in their infrastructure. Private clouds offer an easy solution to help businesses take advantage of some of the benefits of cloud computing without compromising on security and control. In this whitepaper, we will discuss the business benefits of private clouds and the security requirements needed to mitigate any risks.
What is a Private Cloud?
Simply put, private clouds are cloud infrastructure based on dedicated hardware under the control of the organization offering services on-demand through a self-service portal. Private clouds provide elasticity that was previously unavailable in the traditional computing models, including rapid computer resource provisioning with services billed back to individual business units. The infrastructure services are single-tenant and they can be managed by the organization or a third party either on premise or in third-party datacenters. Private clouds can be deployed either by using one of the packaged cloud platforms like Eucalyptus, OpenStack, etc. or by adding automation, management, and self provisioning capabilities to an already virtualized infrastructure. It does not matter how one deploys a private cloud as long as it results in resources being pooled together into one centralized unit; available on demand to the users to
provision, manage, and monitor using a management interface; and a chargeback mechanism. Unlike public cloud services, private clouds are capital intensive but offer more control and greater security. Trend Micro, a cloud security company, conducted a survey concerning cloud adoption and captured information on the top barriers to cloud implementation. A private cloud has advantages that can address many of the respondents’ concerns.
Even though private clouds lack some of the benefits of cloud economics and are restricted in
scalability compared to public clouds, it offers other benefits suitable for business users.
Gives the key benefit of better resource usage by effective pooling and distribution of resources. This results in a drastic reduction of resource wastage, offering increased infrastructure cost savings. Furnishes a chargeback model that helps individual units better utilize their budgets, especially in today’s economic climate where budgets are limited by deeper cost cuts. Removes the need for re-architecting the existing applications to meet the requirements of public cloud environments, thereby, saving any additional costs.
Provides on-demand availability for all business units without the long wait associated with the traditional IT procurement process. This results in increased agility across all the business units, benefiting the organization in terms of cost, faster time to market, and higher productivity. Supplies better workload management in terms of faster deployment, easy management, higher reliability, and better scaling than the traditional IT infrastructure.
Security, Control and Customization
Offers better security than in public clouds. This is especially critical in meeting some of the compliance needs. Having a private cloud infrastructure takes away concerns about lack of transparency on the service provider side. Delivers more control over the underlying hardware than in the multitenant environment of the public cloud, addressing the concerns expressed by survey respondents about the performance and reliability offered by public cloud service providers. Affords better customization of the infrastructure to meet the organization’s functional needs.
Private Cloud Use Cases
Private clouds are useful in highly regulated industries like financial sector, healthcare, scientific computing, etc. Similarly, businesses wanting to run legacy applications will find private clouds suitable for their needs. However, it should be noted that most of the workloads can be moved to public clouds by ensuring that proper security procedures are implemented. In fact, the availability and business continuity offered by public clouds are comparable to those offered by private clouds.
Private clouds offer organizations a way to better optimize their infrastructure by taking advantage of some cloud-like features while still enjoying the security and control needed for their businesses. Private clouds are especially useful for organizations with strict compliance requirements or a need to protect their high value IP, although encryption and virtual machinelevel security may allow even sensitive data to be moved to a public cloud. However, any organization worried about moving their mission critical workload to public clouds can take advantage of private clouds. A move to the cloud model requires a different set of security considerations and any associated risks can be easily mitigated with best security practices.
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