When Does The Private Cloud Make Sense?

I'm spending most of this week at Microsoft's Tech Ed 2011 conference, dosing up on all sorts of information on Windows, Azure, Windows Phone 7 and other Redmond tech. One of the overriding themes at this year's event is something that pops up more and more these days in work environments: private cloud.

As the name suggests, a private cloud infrastructure uses the same concepts as a conventional cloud environment for business -- network accessibility, centralised management, and charging on a usage basis -- but is only accessible to a single company, rather than being divided amongst multiple clients. That in theory cuts down on some of the cost savings associated with cloud services (since they won't be scaled out to the same degree), though it can still represent a budget reduction on old-fashioned IT if your organisation is sufficiently large.

The upside is that private cloud offers a much higher level of security and sovereignty. For industries like finance where regulators demand that companies know exactly where confidential data is stored, it can be the only practical option. In businesses with highly customised applications, it's also often a more practical way to integrate additional apps.

Anyway, before I go dosing up on even more private cloud stuff, I'm curious to know: how is the private cloud playing out for Lifehacker readers?

Is the private cloud being used in your workplace?

Additional thoughts, as usual, are welcome in the comments.


Comments

    Private Cloud is really just another name for a Data Centre IMHO. If you think about what a public cloud (say GMail) represents in physical terms, it is a building, filled with servers + disks + monitoring + air con etc.

    So 'data centre' and 'private cloud' to me are interchangable terms.

    I work for a big bank and we have a massive data centre in Sydney which all the other states use - you could call this our Private Cloud.

    I think Public Cloud is a more useful concept as most home users don't have the resources/desire to have their own mini data centre running in their house. So that's why I like Gmail on the cloud, but don't see centralised data centres in corporations as anything new.

      boris, there is a difference. Cloud generally refers to a virtualized environment, with the ability to scale load on demand. Just having a bunch of servers in a room is a data centre.

        That is exactly my point these 'virtualised environments' are ALWAYS represented in physical reality by a server farm somewhere in the world, whether it is a Amazon server farm representing an Amazon S3 Cloud, a Google server farm representing a Gmail Cloud or a Westpac server farm representing a Private Cloud.

        How those data centres choose to charge you for scalability / dynamic load adjustment etc is up to them, but you are still merely owning or renting space in a server farm when you break it down.

        Cloud is just a new buzzword for CIO's to throw around to justify their existence ;-)

    'Private Cloud' as a term doesn't make much sense, but the concept does - plenty of companies were self-hosting 'private clouds' before the term existed.

    So far I haven't found a third-party 'private cloud' service that satisfies our client privacy requirements and has pricing that can compete with self-hosting.

    I too will be at Auteched this week. Any other lifehacker readers going? Typing this from my Broadbeach home for the week :)

    The use of 'cloud' these days is about as abundant as the use of 'diet' or 'lite'. And it's use is similarly as deceptive/misused. I can access website.com everywhere so it therefore must be a cloud app. *sigh*

    I can understand why companies are going through private cloud based servers and see Boris' point.

    The issue i can see with private clouds is they are still going to have the same issues as the regular cloud businesses with data manipulation?

    Universities is one area private cloud makes sense. Sensitive research data.

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