Private Cloud Hosting: Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

June 26, 2012
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Industry titans like Google and Microsoft have put billions of dollars into cloud computing initiatives over the past five years in an effort to pre-empt inevitable consumer demand in an industry poised for phenomenal growth. Some of that growth has already taken place, so much so that the cloud industry has already diversified its service suite and offers 31 flavors of cloud for the consumers – among them, they can be split into two groups: public and private.

A Line in the Sand

Industry titans like Google and Microsoft have put billions of dollars into cloud computing initiatives over the past five years in an effort to pre-empt inevitable consumer demand in an industry poised for phenomenal growth. Some of that growth has already taken place, so much so that the cloud industry has already diversified its service suite and offers 31 flavors of cloud for the consumers – among them, they can be split into two groups: public and private.

A Line in the Sand

A public cloud has significantly less regulatory hurdles and as such host services that aren’t necessarily tightly integrated into the manifold arms of a large business. You probably use about five cloud services right now — Dropbox, Evernote and Gmail are three notable and widely used cloud-based services. Public clouds are great for bringing services to market quickly, but aren’t secure enough to host highly critical applications. That’s where private clouds come in.

Image Courtesy of Rackspace

Private clouds give their users more control over how the cloud infrastructure is made up and how exactly to handle workloads. For example, a public cloud is under control of a third-party vendor while a private cloud is still run by internal IT. The private cloud is more elastic and scalable and gives clients the ability to control their own data, security (use of the company’s firewall, etc.) and adherence to compliance. The downside to all this is that you need to have personnel on deck to administer the private cloud, but provided you do, you will have a lot more freedom with your cloud than you could with a third-party option.

Clouds Adapt

The other huge benefit to cloud hosting is its scalability. If your website has a massive spike in traffic, you won’t have to worry about the server crashing. A private cloud’s scalable infrastructure allows for what industry types call a “cloud burst” wherein the system adds resources (processing power, data storage, etc.) in real-time, as it’s needed.

So, with all this wonderment, there has to be a drawback somewhere, right? Well, yes. Private cloud hosting is not the cheapest hosting option, and you have to know what you are doing to enact a private cloud. Managing cloud hosting is considerably more involved than just posting to a WordPress blog. The good news is that prices have come down a lot in the last few years. Cloud hosting is now within the tax bracket of many small to medium-sized businesses.

Not only is the basic price low, there also aren’t set up fees or contracts. How sweet is that? The pay as you go pricing means you won’t pay for anything that you do not use. No more frustrations with being stuck with a hosting package where you’re only using 20 percent of what you’re paying for. Why pay for a wedding cake when all you need is a cookie?

As popularity of the cloud has increased, so have third party cloud providers. Some are traditional hosting companies that have expanded to include cloud services, and others focus solely on the deployment of clouds across enterprise business landscapes. You may have even read about one of them right here on this blog. For most of them, both public and private clouds are options, and for the business that has to hold specific application data or specialized code/software, the private cloud is the only way to fly.