Private Cloud

What it is and why it matters

Private cloud is a cloud-computing platform that is created behind a corporate firewall. They are built to give organisations the same benefits and features as public cloud, but with more control over customer data and security.

According to the InformationWeek 2014 private cloud survey, of the 242 respondents that had over fifty employees, the trend of companies moving to private cloud more than doubled from twenty-one percent to forty-seven percent from 2012 to 2014.

Thirty-three percent said they used internal expertise to build private cloud systems while 76% had their employees trained in private cloud technologies.

Benefits of private cloud

If your organisation has been considering moving to the cloud, but you have concerns about sharing resources with a multitude of other customers, private cloud may be a good alternative. With private cloud, you have dedicated use of your resources.

Benefits of private cloud include:

Flexible scalability

Since you own the hardware, you have the ability to add more CPU, storage, and memory whenever you need it to the servers. You can grow the number of servers as you grow your business and the platforms are customisable for greater flexibility.

Security

A private cloud sits behind your dedicated firewall and is typically more secure than public cloud. This gives your organisation full control over who has access to your servers. Like any servers that are connected to the Internet, you will also need to take responsibility for maintaining proper security including on-premise security, firewalls, antivirus, and more. It is possible to move your servers to a secure data centre to eliminate most of the concerns of physical security.

Private cloud can be a pre-built service

"Building a private cloud from scratch, however, can be daunting from technical and cost perspectives," says Tim Burke of Channel Partners. "Hence the rise of pre-built cloud-in-a-box products that seem to remove at least some of the risk and hassle of launching a private cloud."

This helps explain the growing interest with the number of private cloud services. Private cloud services offer many of the same benefits as their public cloud counterparts. The have on-demand provisioning, pay-as-you-go usage, and scalability.

Using a pre-built private cloud can help you reduce the risk of trying to do it yourself. In this case, the service provider takes care of all security, maintenance, and uptime.

Here are some companies that offer private cloud in Australia:

Challenges of private cloud

Private cloud can require expensive up-front costs

Private cloud can require hardware, software, dedicated networking equipment, high-speed fibre connectivity, backup generators, uninterruptible power backup, and lots of power. This can lead to a large capital expense at the beginning of the project.

Setting up proper security

Setting up proper security for private cloud can be a challenge. Since it includes more machines on the internet, it increases your risks. The advantage of having a highly customisable private cloud must also be balanced by the fact that it can be more difficult to set up and maintain. You will need a technical staff that has experience setting up a private cloud. This includes not only the physical setup, but setting up the firewall as well.

Cost predictability

“While ‘pay as you go’ cloud infrastructure has brought an entirely new economic consumption model to IT, many organisations become frustrated when attempting to predict how much they’ll owe at the end of the month. IT budgets are projected a year in advance, yet multi-vitiate billing methodologies make projecting capacity plans into actionable budgets a true struggle,” says Jesse Proudman with Network World.

Keys to successfully implementing private cloud

The following tips will help you set up private cloud for your organisation:

Inventory your existing infrastructure

You should always have a current inventory of your existing infrastructure. This is even more critical when you start to plan a private cloud environment.

At the same time, you will need to evaluate which of the applications you are currently using can be migrated to the cloud. Your IT department can evaluate each application and help you prioritise which ones should go to cloud first.

Use existing IT infrastructure

By investing in software that can provision virtual machines on your existing hardware, you can reduce some of the costs involved.

“You can start provisioning resources onto that platform to begin the physical-to-virtual migration of servers,” says Sean McDermott. “Then start systematically shutting down physical hardware over time. In this way, you make private cloud investments in manageable chunks — $200,000 to $400,000 at a time over two years — so the program is essentially paying for itself. At each step along the way, you’ll be able to see the value of the investments, which is a less risky approach than spending $2 million up front.”

Make sure you have resolved any budget issues

Focus first on your pain points, such as the resources that are available to you and how soon you need to have the project fully implemented. If budget is a concern, consider using a service that will allow you to spread out the expense over time instead of having a huge capital expense up front.

Virtualise and consolidate your servers

“The widespread server virtualisation efforts that have taken place over the past few years have helped many IT shops reduce physical hardware requirements, increase utilisation rates and alleviate power demands,” says Alan Joch with biztechmagazine.com.

Organisations are moving beyond standard server consolidation and using virtualisation to span multiple servers, storage systems, and even networks. By virtualising servers, you can reduce your overall hardware footprint and reduce cost at the same time.

Final thoughts

There are several advantages to using a service when setting up your private cloud. One of the biggest is that it allows you to use their expertise when setting up and maintaining your cloud. This can allow you to get up and running faster with your cloud deployment.

Taking your time and doing the proper research upfront will ensure your private cloud implementation succeeds.

R & G Technologies Private Cloud Solutions

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